Hearts under-20s chalked up their biggest Development League win of the season, and also their first back-to-back victories of the campaign as they crushed Inverness 6-1 at Riccarton yesterday.
Coach Jack Ross made changes to the side that beat Hibs 3-2 a week previously, with the likes of Osman Sow, James Keatings, Jordan McGhee and Brad McKay dropping out and making way for goalkeeper Scott Gallacher and midfielder Jason Holt to assume the status of most experienced players in the Hearts team. Recent signing Jake Hutchings made his home debut, while Dale Carrick was back in action following a lengthy spell out with injury.
Hearts were in control for most of the game. Inverness goalkeeper Daniel Hoban had to act smartly early on to claw away Robbie Buchanan’s deflected cross.
Inverness almost took the lead on 20 minutes, but Gallacher spread himself well to block former Hibs youngster Ryan Baptie’s shot from a Jamie Wilson cutback. Less than a minute later Hearts took the lead when Gary Oliver headed home a Carrick cross from close range. And five minutes later Carrick again supplied the cross for Oliver to net his second from close range.
Carrick then got his name on the scoresheet 60 seconds later when he headed home a Liam Smith cross. Oliver was denied his hat-trick just before the break when he had a shot cleared off the line.
The second half was barely a minute old when Ian Smith added a fourth goal with a shot from just inside the box that Hoban should have saved. Buchanan added another on 62 minutes when he pounced after Hoban had clawed a Carrick cross-cum shot off the line.
In a rare surge from the visitors, Liam Polworth had two shots saved and Alisdair Sutherland saw a further effort blocked on the six-yard line.
Calum Ferguson pulled one back for Inverness with an angled lob over Gallacher in the 79th minute. Hearts sealed their win in the last minute when Liam Henderson netted Nathan Flanagan’s corner-kick from around 12 yards out.
Hearts: Gallacher; L Smith, Hutchings, Page, Henderson, Buchanan (Roy 80), Holt, Beith (Flanagan 77), I Smith, Oliver, Carrick (Moore 62). Unused subs: Mason (GK), Baxter, Gordon.