Raith Rovers 0 Hearts 4 RECAP: Gnanduillet debut double as Jambos dominate 10-man Rovers

Hearts travel to Stark’s Park for the second of two back-to-back meetings with Raith Rovers.

Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 5:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 9:43 pm
Hearts full-back Stephen Kingsley and Raith Rovers midfielder Brad Spencer in action during Saturday's meeting at Tynecastle. The sides go head-to-head again at Stark's Park this evening. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Robbie Neilson’s men are looking to bounce back from a 3-2 defeat to the Kirkcaldy side at Tynecastle on Saturday, having fell three goals behind after 52 minutes before attempting a late comeback which ultimately fell short.

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Hearts, currently six points clear at the top of the Scottish Championship, are expected to name new singing Armand Gnanduillet in the squad after the former Blackpool striker arrived on an 18-month contract on Monday.

We will have all the latest from Stark’s Park throughout the evening as it happens, including updates, analysis and reaction.

FT: Raith Rovers 0 Hearts 4

Last updated: Tuesday, 26 January, 2021, 20:26

  • Kick-off 7.45pm, Stark’s Park
  • 4th v 1st in Scottish Championship
  • Raith 9pts behind with two games in hand
  • Neilson makes three changes

Hello and welcome to live coverage of Heart of Midlothian’s Championship clash with Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park.

It is the second of two back-to-back meetings between the sides following the 3-2 defeat to the Kirkcaldy men at Tynecastle on Saturday.

Robbie Neilson’s men will be looking to bounce back with three points this evening to consolidate their position at the top of the league ahead of the visit of second-placed Dunfermline on Saturday.

Hearts could have new signing Armand Gnanduillet in the squad this evening.  Here’s what Jambos fans can expect from the big Frenchman …

What Hearts fans can expect from new signing Armand Gnanduillet - the striker who thrives on crosses

The signing of Armand Gnanduillet came out of nowhere for Hearts fans.

Three changes for Hearts from the side that started the 3-2 defeat to Raith on Saturday. The big news is that new signing Armand Gnanduillet is named on the bench. 

Two changes for Raith from Saturday’s victory at Tynecastle. 

Raith: J MacDonald; Tumilty, Benedictus, Musonda, K.MacDonald; Armstrong, Hendry, Spencer, Vaughan, Kennedy; Duku. Subs: Thomson, Davidson, Mendy, Coulson, Arnott, Tait, Ross.

Fan react to starting XI

Some mixed views among Hearts fans to tonight’s starting 11 …

'This is our strongest team', 'Walker better do something', - Hearts fans react to starting 11 to face Raith Rovers

Hearts have made three changes to the side that started the 3-2 defeat to Raith Rovers on Saturday in this evening’s repeat Scottish Championship fixture in Kirkcaldy.

The game is only underway for 60 seconds when Spencer crashes into a meaty tackle on Halliday but escapes without a booking. The Hearts midfielder is left rubbing his shin and takes his time to get back to his feet.

5: Hearts on the front foot

Neilson’s men have started at a far better tempo than on Saturday at Tynecastle. They’ve pinned Raith back in the early stages. A surging run from Kinsgley took him past three Raith players but the move fizzled out. 

Irvine sends a great delivery into the Raith box from the left. It’s headed clear to the edge of the area where Halliday’s ambitious attempt at a first-time volley slices out for a throw-in.

Terrific play from Popescu as he twists past two players and strides out of defence before clipping a glorious ball over the top of the Raith defence for Walker to race through on goal but keeper MacDonald - as he did so often on Saturday - foils the Hearts forward, stopping his low effort with his legs. Excellent save.

The winger Hearts fan were desperate to see in the starting line-up has lasted only 16 minutes. After some treatment for what looks like a back injury, a decision is made that he can’t continue and Euan Henderson comes off the bench.

A glaring opportunity for Walker as he nips in behind an unsuspecting Benedictus, rounds MacDonald, but then fires into the side-net from the angle. He tried to put it into the gaping goal with the outside of his right boot, when a left-foot finish was the more obvious choice. 

19: Hearts close again

Hearts should be leading this match. Another good chance as Mackay-Steven pounces on a slack pass out of the Raith defence to square the ball for Boyce but MacDonald makes a brave, point-blank save, taking a knock in the process. The former Tynecastle favourite has been a thorn in his Hearts’ side over these two fixtures.

Raith win a corner in their first real attack of note as Kennedy races down the left and his cross is blocked by Smith. From the corner, Hearts break at pace through Mackay-Steven who slips in Henderson but, after side-stepping the last defender, the substitute blazes over the bar. Hearts are going to rue these missed chances if they don’t start taking them.

The goal Hearts have been threatening since the start finally arrives and it’s a superb move as Boyce plays a 1-2 with Smith to cut through the Raith defence like a hot knife through butter before firing high past MacDonald. 

The substitute puts Hearts 2-0 up as Irvine’s corner kick is flicked on by Boyce at the near post and Henderson heads home from close range. The scoreline is no less than Hearts deserve.

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