Jamie Walker grabbed a double to boost his hopes of a first-team return as Hearts Under-20s claimed a fine 2-1 league victory over Celtic at New Victoria Park, Newtongrange.
Walker, who played at Inverness last week, was given another 90 minutes as he bids for full fitness following a lengthy spell out with a broken metatarsal.
Last night’s win saw the young Jambos continue their excellent form following last weekend’s 3-0 SFA Youth Cup semi-final success over Kilmarnock.
Celtic were first to show with Liam Henderson firing a shot over the crossbar. In reply, Angus Beith and Aaron Scott had efforts saved.
On 16 minutes, Benny Johnstone screwed a shot wide with only Mark Ridgers to beat, and four minutes later Jordan McGhee headed away an Engram O’Donnell effort almost on his own goal line.
Hearts opened the scoring, when Walker, pictured below, fired home a 16-yard right-foot shot following a cutback from Gary Oliver.
Five minutes later, the young Jambos should have had a penalty, Robbie Buchanan clearly pushed in the box by a defender, but it was not given.
Hearts scored a second goal on 64 minutes, Walker slamming home a powerful right-foot shot from the edge of the 18-yard box following another pass from Oliver.
The visitors made three substitutions, and on 74 minutes, Haladen Fridjonsson had Celtic’s first shot on target.
Walker almost completed a hat-trick but his strong shot cleared the crossbar before Celtic pulled a goal back on 85 minutes, substitute Joseph Thomson heading home a Kieran Tierney left wing cross from close range.
Coach Robbie Neilson said: “Once more, the lads were excellent. All the hard work is paying off and, with Youth Cup Final places up for grabs they are all working their socks off.”
Hearts: Ridgers, L Smith, Gordon, McGhee, Ford, Buchanan, Scott, Beith, Simpson, Walker, Oliver. Unused subs: Sneddon, Craigie, McKirdy.