Hearts supporters were afforded a glimpse of the future, on and off the pitch, as their new-look side slipped to defeat against Newcastle United in the shadow of what will become Tynecastle Park’s new main stand.
With seven weeks until its scheduled opening against Aberdeen, the £14 million structure is taking shape, with the impressive glass-panelled facade dominating the surrounding area. From inside the stadium, there is now a real sense of scale, with the massive truss and steel beams dwarfing the previous structure.
Once the initial awe of a truly unique setting had passed, it was time to cast an eye over Ian Cathro’s own rebuilding job. Five of Hearts’ six summer signings were fielded, with Michael Smith, Ashley Smith-Brown, Christophe Berra and Cole Stockton starting. Rafal Grzelak entered the fray from the bench.
It was a largely heartening showing from the hosts, aside from shaky start which saw Dwight Gayle give the visitors the lead with a cool finish.
Hearts, who saw Isma Goncalves miss a penalty-kick and crash a ferocious drive against the post, levelled when Jamie Walker latched onto a neat Stockton lay-off before firing a near-post shot beyond Rob Elliot.
However, £10 million man Gayle struck again when he scrambled home from close-range after Jack Hamilton had flapped at a Jonjo Shelvey corner-kick, ensuring Rafa Benitez emerged victorious.