Hearts debrief: Andy Halliday excellence, Chris Sutton's prediction, Hector Nicol

A look back at Hearts and their 3-0 win over Cove Rangers in the Premier Sports Cup.
Andy Halliday impressed in the win over Cove Rangers. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)Andy Halliday impressed in the win over Cove Rangers. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Andy Halliday impressed in the win over Cove Rangers. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Player of the match

There were a number of strong performances but Andy Halliday was the standout. There was an expectation he would be the player to sit and allow others to push forward. That wasn't the case, he was everywhere. His opening goal was an impressive strike but it was his work out of possession, winning the ball back, snapping into tackles, just like he did for the third, which was so encouraging. When he did have the ball he would be smart with it.

Defining moment

While there may well have only been one addition from last season in the squad in Alex Cochrane there is a new look to this Hearts side. The back three has continued from the end of last season but there is already greater fluidity. You seen that with the relationship between Michael Smith and Josh Ginnelly. The latter would stay wide to allow Smith, playing as a wing-back, to move infield. He made a great central dart to get on to a chance but his shot was well blocked by Kyle Gourlay.

Ref watch

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Colin Steven had a relatively easy night at Tynecastle Park. There was no need for the crowd that were back in to get frustrated with the official.

Benefit of hindsight

You have to wonder if Chris Sutton in time, will be reevaluating his prediction of a seventh place finish for Hearts. A victory over a Cove Rangers side behind in their preparation does not suggest success but there was plenty to be encouraged with. The team have plenty of top-flight experience, there is a core group you would expect to be challenging for a place in the upper echelons of the league rather than struggling to make the top six.

Moment you may have missed

In the 85th minute there was a quiet around Tynecastle Park. That was until one supporter in the Roseburn Stand turned into Hector Nicol. His fellow fans joined in the Hearts song and it sounded like far more than 2,000 in attendance. Josh Ginnelly, who had been subbed, looked on in awe and would go on to speak about his long wait to get back on the Tynecastle pitch.

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