Hearts fend off Red Lichties
Hearts survived an almighty scare against League Two minnows Arbroath as three rapid-fire goals gave the hosts a 4-2 triumph at Tynecastle.
The Edinburgh giants appeared on course to succumb to their first ever defeat at home against the Red Lichties after a goal by David Gold earned a 1-0 lead over the under-par Jambos.
However Hearts, who were ordered out for the second half by head coach Robbie Neilson several minutes before their opponents, hit back with three goals in four minutes. Jordan McGhee levelled the scores after 57 minutes before Osman Sow netted twice to ensure the home team enjoyed safe passage to the League Cup second round.
Arbroath ensured a nervous finale for the home side when Martin Grehan headed home at the back post, but a late Craig Wilson own goal made it 4-2 and put any jitters to bed.
It was the visitors who began the encounter in a lively fashion, with the energetic Sergio Cecilia Alvarez stinging the palms of Jack Hamilton with a low drive from long distance.
Neilson's men had the ball in the net on the half-hour mark, with Gary Oliver converting a super Callum Paterson cross, however assistant referee Alan Mulvanney flagged for offside.
Arbroath stunned Tynecastle just prior to half-time as Gold, a boyhood Hearts fans who was on the books of Hibernian as a youngster, latched onto an Alvarez pass and slid a shot beyond Jack Hamilton.
Hearts attempted to post an immediate response but Paterson saw his towering header crash against the crossbar.
For the second time in the match, Hearts had a goal disallowed, this time just 60 seconds after the break when Swedish forward Sow was flagged offside after slamming home from close range.
Arbroath went agonisingly close to doubling their lead when Lewis Coult found space on the edge of the box but fizzed an effort inches wide of the post. That miss proved costly as a dramatic turnaround transpired.
McGhee restored parity after meeting a fine low cross form his centre-back partner Alim Ozturk, with Hearts finally getting the better of the excellent goalkeeper Allan Fleming. That opened the floodgates.
Sam Nicholson, the best friend of Arbroath goalscorer Gold, then dashed to the byline and provided a wonderful cut-back for Sow, allowing the big forward to tap into the net.
Former Crystal Palace man Sow made it three goals in four minutes from the penalty spot after Nicholson was felled by Wilson.
Grehan climbed from the bench to halve Arbroath's arrears in the closing stages, however Wilson turned into his own net as he attempted to clear a low cross to ensure Hearts added gloss to the scoreline in the final moments.