A LOW key performance in a pre-season friendly saw Hearts go down 2-0 in what was former Stranraer manager Stephen Aitken’s first home game in charge of Dumbarton.
The Sons, captained by former Tynecastle defender Darren Barr, started brightly and were looking for a penalty after only 90 seconds when a darting run by Willie Gibson was ended by Robbie Buchanan but referee Alan Muir was not interested.
Gibson brought out a fine save from Jack Hamilton three minutes later when the shot-stopper pushed his fierce drive from 20 yards past.
The hosts were rewarded for their bright start on eight minutes and the goal had a ‘Made in Stranraer’ feel to it as Gibson curled in a corner and his fellow summer recruit from Stair Park, Grant Gallagher, rose to glance home a header.
Hearts hit back and Gavin Reilly looked to have opened his account for Hearts when the former Queen of the South striker accepted a long Billy King pass and sent a low shot past Mark Brown only for the ball to off a post.
Robbie Neilson’s side should have gone in at the interval level but teenage striker Russell McLean sent a shot high over from six yards with the goal gaping.
McLean almost made amends two minutes into the restart when he rose highest to meet a King corner but Brown was able to beat away his effort with the goalkeeper doing like-wise with a Reilly effort two minutes later.
Dumbarton doubled their lead on 55 minutes from another set-piece when Gibson picked out Gregor Buchanan and his header towards goal was nodded in by Kevin Cawley.
Neilson responded to going two behind by replacing nine of his outfield players, with only Liam Henderson from the starting XI remaining on the pitch.
Sam Nicholson came close to giving Hearts a route back into the game with 17 minutes left with a well hit drive from 20 yards that looked to have the beating of Brown until the former Hibs goalkeeper stretched out a hand to save.
Dumbarton: Brown, Taggart (Trialist 61), Docherty (Waters 61), Barr, Buchanan, Routeledge, Cawley, Gallagher (Miller 61), Fleming (Smith 46), Kirkpatrick (Trialist 61), Gibson (McCallum 75). Sub not used: Ewings.
Hearts: Hamilton, Buchanan (Paterson 60), Smith (Anderson 60), Jones (Augustyn 60), Howlett-Mundle (McGhee 60), Pallardo (McKirdy 60), King (Oliver 60), Henderson, Reilly (Delgado), McLean (El-Hassnaoui), Walker (Oliver 60). Sub not used: Alexander.
Referee: Alan Muir.