Hearts kicked off their pre-season tonight in the Umbro Cup against Northern Ireland outfit Glentoran. Captained by goalkeeper Steve Banks in the absence of Christophe Berra, the visitors dominated the first half and took the lead with only five minutes on the clock, when Saulius Mikoliunas chipped Glentoran goalkeeper Morris from around 20 yards.
Hearts continued to apply pressure and created plenty of chances with Glen firing just wide and Mikoliunas going close on a couple of other occasions. Glentoran also went close when Zaliukas was caught in possession but Glentoran’s Gary Hamilton shot over the bar.
During the first half Glentoran made three substitutions, with this being their last warm up match before they take on Latvian side SK Liepajas Metalurgs in the preliminary stage of the UEFA Cup. While Hearts were forced to make a change when Andy Driver left the field injured after wining a free kick around the forty minute mark and was replaced by Kestutis Ivaskevicius.
Hearts began a less eventful first half by replacing Banks in goal with Basso and Karipidis with Sives. Not long after Hearts had a good chance to increase their lead. Good work on the left from Ivaskevicius and Wallace saw the Scotland under-21 internationalist shoot just wide of Morris’ goal.
Elliot then replaced Glen as the lone striker in a half that saw both teams make many changes in personnel.
Poor defending from Hearts gave Scullion the opportunity for the equaliser but Basso saved well. However, it wasn’t to long until Glentoran found themselves back on level terms. The Northern Ireland side won a free kick around 25 yards away from goal and Ryan Berry’s low shot was enough to beat Basso.
Glentoran could have won the game in the closing stages but Carson could only shoot over the bar.
The game ended one each after ninety minutes which meant that the tie had to be decided on penalties which Glentoran won 6-5. Elliot, Jonsson, Ivaskevicius, Doherty and Wallace all scored their penalties for Hearts, with Zaliukas, Screpis and Sives missing.
Glentoran: Morris; Nixon, Hill, Ward, Taylor, Neill, Boyce, Fordyce, Fitzgerald, Hamilton, Halliday; Subs: Taylor, Simpson, Scullion, Carson, Berry, McGovern, Bowers, McMenamin, Burrows, Ferguson.
Hearts: Banks (Basso 46); Thomson, Zaliukas, Karipidis (Sives 46), Wallace; Palazuelos (Screpis 50), Jonsson; Mikoliunas (Doherty 72), Stewart (Kelly 86), Driver (Ivaskevicius 40); Glen (Elliot 54). Subs not used:.
Referee: Hugh Carville