New signing Faycal Rherras scores as Hearts beat New Saints
Hearts kicked off their Europa League preparations with a 3-2 win over Welsh Champions League hopefuls The New Saints in a closed-doors friendly in St Andrews tonight.
Both sides are based in the Fife town for pre-season and arranged to face each other ahead of their respective European assignments next week.
The Jambos led 2-0 at the break through goals from new boy Faycal Rherras and Juanma but, after changing their entire outfield team for the second half, they were pegged back by the Welsh before Dario Zanatta scored a late winner.
Rherras, playing at left-back, got his Hearts career off to the perfect start with a crisp finish from inside the box in the sixth minute.
The Edinburgh side doubled their advantage five minutes later when Juanma ran on to a low Callum Paterson delivery from the right and clipped home at the near post.
Goalkeeper Jack Hamilton was the only Hearts player to reappear for the second half, with new signing Robbie Muirhead among those introduced to the action.
TNS pulled one back straight after the restart when Scott Quigley’s powerful shot off the underside of the bar was judged to have crossed the line.
The Welsh side levelled midway through the second half when Adrian Cieslewicz netted a penalty after John Souttar was penalised for a foul.
Hamilton had to make an excellent save from Quigley to keep Hearts level before Zanatta won it with a minute left when he latched on to a poor keeper’s clearance and ran in to score from inside the box.
Rherras and Canadian teenager Marcus Godinho were among Hearts’ most eye-catching performers.
The Tynecastle side face Premiership rivals Aberdeen in another friendly in St Andrews tomorrow.
Hearts first half: Hamilton, Paterson, Rherras, Ozturk, Rossi, Nicholson, Buaben, Djoum, Walker, Juanma, Sammon.
Hearts second half: Hamilton; Godinho (Baur), Souttar, McGhee, Oshaniwa; King, Beith (Cowie), Gomis, Zanatta; Muirhead, Todorov.