Three things we learned from Hearts’ Betfred Cup opener

Here are three Hearts-related observations from the Betfred Cup draw with Dundee United.

Friday, 12th July 2019, 10:07 pm
John Souttar and Zdenek Zlamal celebrate Hearts shootout win.
John Souttar and Zdenek Zlamal celebrate Hearts shootout win.

Mixed night for Irving

Andy Irving was a composed figure at the base of Hearts’ midfield for most of the night, playing the game at his own pace and pinging passes about the pitch. Although he doesn’t play with the same urgency and aggression as Peter Haring, the man who usually plays this role, the youngster was an effective performer. What should have been a memorable night for the 19-year-old after he volleyed in his first goal for the club was soured somewhat when he was sent off towards the end after slipping on the wet surface and being forced to use his hand to prevent United getting a clean run on goal.

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Aaron Hickey had a lot to live up to after his Scottish Cup final heroics in his last competitive game less than two months ago, but he made a pretty good job of it as he produced another hugely impressive display. Composed and confident both in and out of possession, the recently-turned 17-year-old was chosen as man of the match by one of the sponsors, to the approval of the Tynecastle crowd.

Is Hearts’ penalty woe over?

A penalty shootout is never likely to be eagerly anticipated by Hearts fans in light of the alarming amount of spot-kicks they have missed in the last few seasons. Although disappointed not to win the game in normal time after a fairly dominant display, the home support will have taken some solace from the fact their team scooped the bonus point by virtue of scoring all five of their penalties, with John Souttar’s, which sealed the victory, particularly emphatic. Similarly, Zdenek Zlamal’s save from Nicky Clark will have done his confidence no harm after his cup final anguish.