Hearts’ new signings gave a good account of themselves on their debuts against Lokeren at Spain’s Campoamor Golf Resort. Czech striker David Vanecek and Irish centre-back Conor Shaughnessy both started the friendly, which Lokeren won 1-0, as they eased themselves into action with their new club.
Vanecek completed his pre-contract move from FK Teplice on Monday and lasted 60 minutes as he is not quite 100 per cent following illness. His physical presence is an obvious trait as he held off Belgian defenders using his imposing frame. He also demonstrated impressive technique and awareness to link play and feed others around him when dropping deeper.
In the first half, the forward’s header from Olly Lee’s cross finished over the crossbar. He also showed fine dribbling ability by beating two men on the edge of Lokeren’s penalty area before falling inside the 18-yard line. He wanted a penalty but was refused by the local Spanish referee.
Vanecek tired in the second half and was replaced on the hour mark. He had done enough to indicate that, once he reaches peak fitness and adjusts to his new team-mates, he will be an extremely useful attacking asset to complement Steven Naismith, Steven MacLean and, when fit, Uche Ikpeazu.
Shaughnessy arrived on loan from Leeds United the same day as Vanecek. His signing was to fill the defensive void left by Jimmy Dunne. He played the full 90 minutes against Lokeren – holding his own against quick and intelligent forwards, winning two excellent first-half headers before getting caught under the ball in another aerial duel.
The 22-year-old looked very composed on the ball and distributed passes out from defence. He operated in the centre of a back three in the first half, flanked by Christophe Berra and Clevid Dikamona. After the break, he partnered Dikamona in the middle of a back four. Early signs are he will help make up for Dunne being recalled by Burnley.