NEW-LOOK Hearts provided John McGlynn with as smooth and uplifting a managerial debut as he could realistically have hoped for.
Scorers: Hearts - Paterson 28; Sutton 44; Templeton 67
In this new era of austerity at Tynecastle, it was perhaps fitting that the first match brought a victory that was more efficient than exhilarating. Then again, despite the resounding scoreline, there was never a chance of this pre-season friendly being as scintillating as the last game of the Paulo Sergio era when Hearts obliterated Hibernian at Hampden Park.
Nonetheless, at the end of a difficult week in which Scottish football was in need of some light relief, there was no shortage of merry-making to be found inside Stark’s Park, as almost 3,000 people turned out to honour long-serving Raith defender and boyhood Hearts fan Laurie Ellis. Perhaps the only fly in the ointment for the suited-and-booted former Rovers manager McGlynn, who was given a rapturous applause from both sets of supporters ahead of kick-off, was that his new team’s impressive display meant Ellis, his old charge, suffered defeat in his testimonial match. In reality, however, as much as the win buoyed McGlynn, this gathering almost seemed as much about nostalgia as it was about the football. The only hint of animosity came from the Raith fans, who, following the lead of their revered director Turnbull Hutton, continually vented their spleen towards the SFA over its handling of the Rangers situation. With several ex-Hearts people in the Raith ranks and vice-versa, there was never going to be much hostility when former Raith and Hearts player Scott Crabbe took the Scottish Cup for a walk around the pitch at half-time.
By that point, the Hearts support were already in high spirits as their team had carved out a 2-0 lead. Only five players from the starting XI in the cup final made McGlynn’s team yesterday.
John Sutton, after being banished to a loan stint in Australia under Sergio, returned to lead the attack in a young Hearts side which, as McGlynn was keen to stress afterwards, was made up entirely of Academy graduates, with the exception of Sutton and Darren Barr. Callum Paterson, Kevin McHattie and Denis Prychynenko were the three least-established members of the starting XI and it was young Paterson, a striker playing at right-back, who sent Hearts on their way with a fine 15-yard strike after 28 minutes.
Sutton, whose shot had been charged down in the lead-up to the opening goal, then scored the second just before the break when he ran on to an excellent pass from Ryan McGowan and slotted expertly beneath David McGurn.
And Hearts completed a trio of fine goals in 67 minutes when substitute David Templeton curled home a delightful effort from around 20 yards. This, in addition to the welcome he received from his old club, ensured that McGlynn was in jovial and relaxed mood afterwards. “We put a lot of young lads into the team and we’ve come away convincing winners,” he beamed. “Once we settled down, we played some really good football.”
Raith Rovers: McGurn, Thomson, Ellis, Hill, Murray, Callachan, G Anderson, Walker, Clarke, Graham, Hamill. Subs: Laidlaw, Donaldson, Malone, Wilson, S Anderson, Wales, Spence, Dargo, Andrews.
Hearts: MacDonald, Paterson, McHattie, Webster, Prychynenko, Novikovas, Robinson, Sutton, R McGowan, Driver. Subs: Ridgers, D McGowan, Taouil, Templeton, D Smith, Walker, Holt, D McGowan.
Referee: C Charleston .