The young Jambos defeated Motherwell 2-0 in the final at Tynecastle Park last night, second-half strikes from Lewis Moore and Callumn Morrison sealing the silverware in all-too familiar surroundings.
Both sides elected to blood the youngsters with Morrison, Harry Cochrane and Ryan Edwards some of the more familiar names on the teamsheet. And Northern Irishman Kirk couldn’t have been more proud of his young prodigies.
“They need to enjoy moments like this,” Kirk stressed afterwards. “We’ve got 16-year-old boys in that dressing-room and this is an amazing experience for them. As much as we are trying to develop them as players and improve their game knowledge and technical ability, there’s got to be that winning mentality in their mindset.
“This was a cup final and we treated it like a senior cup all the way through – we need to win every game. We’ve managed to do that so I’m delighted.
“It’s invaluable for these players. This is a moment they can look back on, they’ll have the pictures of it – they’ve achieved it, and it’s especially nice for it to be at Tynecastle.
“But at this point in development, it becomes really important to win because when they step into the first team at a club like Hearts, you need to win. That’s the most important thing. Adding this need to win can only help their development in my opinion.”
Morrison, who is a familiar face around Gorgie having made more than 30 appearances for the first team this season, showed his willingness to drive at the opposition from referee Stephen Brown’s first whistle.
And it was the teenager who had the first effort on goal just after a quarter of an hour when he was picked out by Edwards, taking one touch to control before a fizzing shot on the angle was well saved by the legs of Rohan Ferguson in the Motherwell goal.
Hearts were winning the midfield battle but Well still posed a threat on the counter, Jamie Semple taking up a good position inside the box before getting a shot away that stung the hands of Kelby Mason in the 28th minute.
That prompted Dean Cornelius into having an effort from 25 yards but it was a couple of yards wide of Mason’s right-hand post.
There was plenty of endeavour from both sets of players but too often there was a lack of quality in the final third.
However, Hearts did get their noses in front seven minutes after the restart. Some calamitous defending saw the Motherwell rearguard fail to clear a simple ball and that afforded Moore all the time to set himself before shooting into the far corner from eight yards.
Kirk introduced Dario Zanatta from the bench just before the hour mark and the Canadian made a telling contribution just three minutes later as he got the better of Liam Donnelly down the right side to tee up the onrushing Morrison who dispatched the ball past Ferguson with ease.
Maurice Ross sought a response from his players but it was Hearts that always looked likely to add to their lead, Morrison seeing his shot hit the side netting late on.
It was the outcome the vast majority of the 1,728 in attendance had hoped to see at the end of 90 minutes, a trophy draped in maroon and white ribbons.
Motherwell: Ferguson, Donnelly, Livingston, Devine, Hussain (MacDonald 68), McAlear, Rehman (Watson 63), Cornelius, Johnson (Starrs 79), McKinstry, Semple. Subs: Hemfrey, Bowers, Brown.
Hearts: Mason, Logan, Hickey (Baur 89), Hamilton, Petkov, Irving, Morrison, Cochrane (Smith 76), Currie (Zanatta 59), Edwards, Moore. Subs: Silva, Sandison, Ritchie.
Referee: Stephen Brown.