Hearts debrief: Evergreen Michael Smith, Craig Gordon record, heart in the mouth moment
It was a solid return to competitive action for Hearts with Gary Mackay-Steven and Liam Boyce on target in the 2-0 win over Peterhead.
The League Cup group stages have caused the Tynecastle Park club some issues in recent years but it was a professional performance from Robbie Neilson’s men.
The manager will be hoping the comfortable performance will be a mere building block for the rest of the campaign.
Player of the match
Gary Mackay-Steven was a constant threat during his 71 minutes on the pitch. His pace and determination brought the opening goal. But it was Michael Smith who was most impressive throughout. Playing at wing-back, the Northern Irishman was a valuable attacking asset. He held his width on the right and was a constant option for a switch of play. He provided the pass which allowed Liam Boyce to score the second and could have scored himself a couple of times.
There were a couple of heart in the mouth moments in the second half when the score was still 1-0. Craig Gordon had a clearance charged down but prior to that John Souttar couldn’t quite deal with an awkward ball over the top. A header towards his goalkeeper didn’t quite get enough purchase which allowed Russell McLean to use one of his long legs to lift it over the advancing Gordon but it dropped just wide of the post.
Don Robertson was rarely seen which is always a good sign. Waved away a small claim for a penalty early in the first half when Mackay-Steven went down.
Benefit of hindsight
Hearts had the ball in the back of the net before Mackay-Steven opened the scoring with Smith, already offside, clipping a delicate effort over Lenny Wilson in the Peterhead goal. The 32-year-old was presented with a chance in the second half with Wilson off his line but, despite his previous experience in the game, his attempted chip was wayward. An effort more in keeping with a defender in such a situation.
Moment you may have missed
Craig Gordon has went under the radar in keeping eight consecutive clean sheets, equalling Jon McLaughlin's club record as was mentioned on Twitter by both Hearts Stats and Hearts Heritage. Not a bad way to start your captaincy.