Story of Hearts 3-0 Livingston: Fans on edge of seats as high-energy, impressive Jambos have a new favourite

Another new signing took his Tynecastle bow against Livingston this weekend and Cammy Devlin became the latest to be anointed a fans’ favourite, receiving a standing ovation as he delivered the kind of heart-on-your-sleeve, full-throttle football that the Hearts support loves.

Hearts celebrate after their 3-0 win over Livingston.

The fact he was rarely wasteful with the ball and was a major orchestrator of a win that took the Gorgie side above rivals Hibs into second place, and ensured that league leaders Rangers were not allowed to pull away at the top ingratiated him further.

The kind of youthful, high-energy, mobile and competitive player manager Robbie Neilson said he wanted to add to his side, the 23-year-old Australian is the exemplification of the very positive summer recruitment drive.

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A mix of permanent and astute loan agreements now complement the best of the players who delivered the Championship title last term and, given the fact that they are still developing an understanding, they could prove a fearsome force.

In the front third there is zip, verve and the kind of high tempo play that gets football fans on the edge of their seats.

With Beni Baningime and Devlin pulling the strings in the middle of the park, Livingston endured a long 90 minutes.

A team who usually make opponents work harder for points, they were undone by a slicker, quicker and more clinical Hearts side, who pressed forward from the outset and never really took their foot off the gas.

With Craig Halkett anchoring a back three missing John Souttar, who picked up a knock in training and was rested as a precautionary measure, there was no weak link. Alongside him, Taylor Moore looked at ease while Stephen Kingsley was always looking for a forward outlet. On the flanks, Michael Smith and Alex Cochrane were an obvious threat, and the former opened the scoring in the 25th minute with a vicious drive after the former had set him up with the cutback.

The quick passing, link up play and off the ball vigour made the home side too hot to handle on a day when Livingston, on the back of taxing matches against Celtic and Rangers, were shy of their best.

Up front, Liam Boyce was full of industry and he got his reward when he was presented with the opportunity to net from the spot after Baningime was clipped by Ben Williamson in the 32nd minute.

The away defence which was under siege for most of the day as technically-gifted buzzbombs like the superb Ben Woodburn and Barrie McKay, just ran at them and around them at will and all they could do was try to repel them again and again.

In recent weeks, only goal difference has left Hearts trailing Hibs in the league table, so, it was no surprise that they refused to settle for the two-goal advantage.

In the 64th minute, Cochrane served up another positive, as he opened his account for the club, charging in at the back post to drill home after Woodburn had driven to the byeline and scorched an inviting, low pass across goal.

Livingston tried to switch up personnel and tactics to stifle the Hearts onslaught but, given the way the feelgood factor swirled round the ground, they did well to keep it to three.

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