HEARTS’ second pre-season jaunt to Fife proved just as encouraging as the first after manager Gary Locke watched five different goalscorers rack up a comfortable win over Raith Rovers.
Scorers: McHattie (6), B King (41), Walker (50), Stevenson (64), Oliver (85)
The Tynecastle outfit’s paucity of striking options is well documented, but Locke was able to take satisfaction from seeing Kevin McHattie, Billy King, Jamie Walker, Ryan Stevenson and Gary Oliver share the offensive duties last night, with a goal apiece.
The last time Hearts, who beat Dunfermline on Saturday, visited Stark’s Park, they had just plundered the Kirkcaldy club for manager John McGlynn.
Twelve months on, they emerged with a morale-boosting pre-season victory over their First Division counterparts.
Raith announced the signing of Paul Watson before kick-off and the former Livingston centre-half was handed an immediate debut.
Hearts went ahead after six minutes following a short-corner by McHattie that caused panic in the hosts’ defence.
Dylan McGowan turned on to a loose ball inside the penalty area and his left-footed drive fell kindly at the feet of the unmarked McHattie at the back post.
With goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw out of position, the full-back placed a first-time effort high into the net.
Hearts doubled their advantage four minutes before the break when King broke clear inside the box and hit a low effort that squirmed passed Laidlaw.
A three-goal cushion was created after 50 minutes when Raith debutant Watson misjudged a long ball, allowing Walker to race clear.
The former Raith Rovers loanee kept his composure as he tucked a low shot beyond Laidlaw from close range.
The Gorgie side notched a fourth goal in the 64th minute with Walker, playing in behind striker Stevenson, again causing problems with his pace.
Walker’s stinging shot from 25 yards was only beaten away by Laidlaw and King put pressure on the rebound before Stevenson stabbed in an effort from inside the six-yard box.
Only seconds after coming on, substitute Oliver headed in a fifth after meeting trialist Gary Naysmith’s cross.
Raith: Laidlaw, Thomson, Watson (Ellis, 69), Hill, Booth, Anderson, Moon (Trialist, 76), Fox, Cardle (Callachan, 54), Elliot, Spence (Smith, 65).
Hearts: MacDonald, Hamill, McKay, McGowan, McHattie (Naysmith, 74), Robinson (A King, 84), Tapping, Smith (Nicholson, 77), Walker (Oliver, 84), B King, Stevenson.
Referee: A Muir.