Heart of Midlothian 3-1 Annan Athletic
A new era at Tynecastle began with a comfortable victory in the first round of the Petrofac Training Cup over Annan Athletic.
Hearts dominated from the outset, and the home side opened the scoring after just eight minutes through Billy King.
Debutant Osman Sow added a second, then Callum Paterson scored a third before half-time.
The visitors only had a Scott Davidson goal in the final minute to show for their efforts.
The scene was surveyed just before kick-off by a familiar face. Standing at the front of the directors' box, Craig Levein watched the Hearts players warm up, his gaze inquisitive but carrying a stern edge.
As the club's new director of football, it is Levein's influence that will be most significant in the rebuilding process, at least on the pitch.
There is a new regime at the club, with Ann Budge having taken charge during the summer after buying Heart of Midlothian Football Club plc as it came out of administration. There is a new head coach, too, in Robbie Neilson, and eight new players have arrived in the build-up to this season.
Optimism is natural as the campaign begins, but even just being free of the financial troubles that has stalked the club in recent times will feel like a relief from a persistent sense of alarm. Hearts are seeking revival, and Levein will shape how the football operation tries to regather its strength.
He once managed a powerful, grittily ambitious and determined Hearts side. The current team is different in nature, but this was an effective display, in which the new signings blended well with the talent and potential that began to flourish last season even in the grim times of administration.
Alim Ozturk looked strong and composed at centre-back, while striker Sow was tall and rangy, his long stride allowing him to surge beyond defenders, and his partnership up front with Dale Carrick looked promising.
Morgaro Gomis, Prince Buaben and Neil Alexander are well known to the Scottish game, but the young talent at the club was in no mood to be overshadowed.
Carrick's movement and interplay was shrewd, Sam Nicholson was creative on the ball, and King was a constant threat to Annan with his ability to carry the ball forward with devilment and quickness in his feet.
He was also emphatic, and after bustling past two defenders on his way into the area, he opened the scoring after eight minutes with a shot across Alex Mitchell, the Annan goalkeeper.
The home side were in command and it took only 10 minutes to add a second. Carrick won a header, sending the ball into Sow's path. He strode into the penalty area before clipping the ball beyond Mitchell's reach.
King's influence could not be restricted, and his set-pieces often caused consternation in the Annan defence. One corner was headed firmly into the net by Paterson, to cement the home side's lead.
Ill-luck was still able to assert itself, though, and Paterson was stretchered off at half-time with an injury to his left knee, after he damaged it in a challenge.
Jordan McGhee replaced him at full-back during the interval, but Hearts maintained their control. Carrick saw his shot cleared off the line by Iain Chisholm, but a reduction in tempo kept Hearts reliant on half-chances.
Kevin McHattie still drew a smart save from Mitchell with a shot from distance, but Davidson managed to pull one goal back for the visitors in the 90th minute, curling his effort beyond Alexander from the edge of the box.
- 2PatersonSubstituted forMcGheeat 45'minutes
- 17BuabenSubstituted forHoltat 64'minutes
- 20SowSubstituted forOliverat 75'minutes
- 2WatsonBooked at 51mins
- 8FlynnSubstituted forLoganat 56'minutes
- 11CarcarySubstituted forSloanat 68'minutes
- 9ToddSubstituted forDavidsonat 84'minutesBooked at 86mins
- Calum Murray
- Shots on Target