Hearts Under-20s’ recent four-match unbeaten run came to an end with a 1-0 defeat by Motherwell at Ochilview in the latest round of Development League fixtures.
Soufian El Hassnaoui, who played for just under an hour, was the Jambos’ the only outfield over-age player.
The visitors, with four over-age players in the starting line-up, plus others with first-team experience, should have had the match sewn up at half-time after dominating proceedings. A little more composure in the final third would have produced a few goals, and fine saves from Jack Hamilton, plus some stout defending from Hearts, kept the scoreline goalless at half-time.
A more even second half saw Hearts come more into the game as both sides created chances. Hamilton also had two fine saves before the only goal came on the hour mark, Hamilton saving a strong shot from Luke Watt, but unable to stop Ross McLean poking home the rebound from close range.
On 74 minutes, Long denied Hearts an equaliser with a fine save from a close range Russell McLean shot and, three minutes later, Angus Beith fired a free-kick over the crossbar.
Hearts: Hamilton, Morrison, Baur, Howlett-Mundle, Reid, Baxter (Irvine 89), Beith, McKirdy (E Henderson 65), I Smith, El Hassnaoui (McLean 58), Buchanan; Subs; Cargill, L Henderson, Roy, Jones.