Soufian El Hassnaoui made his first appearance in a Hearts shirt as he took part in the Jambos Under-20s’ 5-2 defeat by their Motherwell counterparts.
The Dutchman, signed in the summer from Sparta, had been sidelined by a groin injury, but he was given a valuable 90-minute run-out at Newtongrange as he bids to regain full match fitness.
The presence of the 24-year-old and fellow senior players Adam Eckersley, Jamie Walker, Scott Robinson and Brad McKay could not stop the Jambos going down to the Steelmen, who capitalised on defensive lapses from the hosts to rack up an emphatic scoreline.
Motherwell began the brighter and took the lead on seven minutes, Dylan Mackin netting from close range as the Hearts rearguard were caught ball-watching. El Hassnaoui had a free-kick saved in reply before the visitors added a second goal, defender David Ferguson latching onto a poor clearance and firing home a 20-yard right.
Walker, who was on the end of a series of fouls, was cautioned for complaining about the treatment he was receiving and then, on 35 minutes, Alistair Roy pulled a goal back, heading home from close range after El Hassnaoui had headed on Robinson’s cross.
Stephen Higgins hit a shot against a post for the visitors shortly before Mackin added a third goal in first-half injury time, heading home from close in following a corner.
The same fate befell Hearts five minutes into the second half when Mackin completed his hat-trick, heading home again from a corner.
El Hassnaoui then had a strong shot saved by Ross Stewart before Motherwell added a fifth goal on 75 minutes when Higgins netted a Chris Cadden delivery.
Hearts had their best spell of the match in the remaining minutes and Jamie Walker scored a free-kick on 78 minutes, but it was too little, too late.
Hearts: Brown; Morrison (Flanagan 46), McKay, Page, Eckersley, Walker, Scott (McKirdy 75), Robinson, Buchanan, Roy (I Smith 60), El Hassnaoui. Unused sub: Williams.