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.

By Matthew Elder
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)
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, 21:30

  • 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

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.

Halliday tackels Hendry, the pair tangled as the play moved on, and the Raith midfielder plants a stamp  on the Hearts man to earn a straight red card from referee Euan Anderson.

Boyce breaks the offside trap as he latches onto a Halliday through ball but his low drive is held by MacDonald. A square ball to Mackay-Steven would almost certainly have resulted in a tap-in for the winger.

Dominant. Powerful. Relentless. 

Hearts fans will be asking how they managed to find themselves 3-0 down to Raith on Saturday given how utterly dominant they have been in this first half. The home side haven’t been able to live with Robbie Neilson’s men, who look fired up to prove a point. It took a while to break the deadlock but it was only a matter of time. Now playing against 10 men following Hendry’s red card, Hearts should really push on and score more in the second half.

Hearts get the second half underway.

Boyce cushions a ball into the path of Walker at the edge of the Raith box and his shot is heading in until MacDonald dives full stretch to touch it wide. Hearts picking up where they left off. 

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