Published: 12th April 2022

Oriam was the destination for the travelling Young Terrors as they headed south to take on Heart of Midlothian in a match which also acted as a test event for the upcoming introduction of VAR into Scottish football.
The sides have met twice already in the 2021/22 CAS Under-18s Elite League campaign, United running out comfortable 4-2 victors in the Capital last time whilst the Jambos returned the favour at St Andrews with a 3-1 away win.
U18s Head Coach Ryan Moon made two changes to the team defeated by a physical Kilmarnock side on Friday, 16-year-old midfielder Craig Moore making way for Sean Borland and new signing Adam Carnwath replaced by Rhys Walker on the left wing.
The first chance of the 90 fell the way of the hosts, MacKenzie Kirk striding forward from midfield and sending a defence-splitting ball in between Jacob Comerford and Owen Emslie which was collected by Bobby McLuckie. The winger entered the box and his low strike was saved well by the feet of Jamie McCabe.
It was a sign of things to come though, and Hearts took the lead on eight minutes. A short corner found its way to Kirk and his cross was headed clear by Comerford only as far as McLuckie, and his 16-yard half-volley skidded up off the wet surface past the keeper into the bottom corner.
The Young Terrors slipped further behind six minutes later in unfortunate fashion. United looked to go short from defence, and McCabe’s attempted pass to Lewis O’Donnell near the corner flag ricocheted back off Callum Sandilands and into the net.
Things almost went from bad to worse for Moon’s men as Gordon played through the United backline for McLuckie but the winger couldn’t find one of the numerous maroon shirts queuing up in the middle for a tap-in.

An identical incident to Hearts’ second goal followed, this time at the other end as Rory MacLeod closed down Liam McFarlane but unfortunately the ball cannoned back off the striker and went the wrong side of the post.
Dom Naglik collected a stray back pass from Michael Aitken but found himself crowded out in the Hearts box, before MacLeod stepped forward once again to get his side back into the contest. A stray defensive header dropped to the 16-year-old more than 25 yards from goal, and his left-footed shot beat McFarlane between the sticks.
However, the Edinburgh outfit restored their two-goal lead almost instantly. Kirk found the overlapping Rocco Friel down the right and the full-back’s whipped first-time cross was glanced home by Sandilands making a near-post run.
The Jambos forged another chance on the half-hour mark, as midfielder Harry Gordon made a run beyond the strikers to collect a fierce pass from McLuckie on the turn. He then prodded the ball into Kirk on the left of the area but the 18-year-old’s wild strike missed the target by some margin.

Steven Naismith’s side effectively killed the game with a fourth which came in a slightly fortunate fashion. Callum Flatman scooped the ball over the top for Kirk who chopped inside Emslie sharply and struck for goal. His effort was tipped onto the post acrobatically by McCabe but the rebound fell kindly for Sandilands and he bundled it into the net to round off his hat-trick
Kirk continued to run riot, stretching the defence with dynamic runs and then bringing teammates into proceedings with strong hold-up play and close-control.
Macaulay Tait was the recipient of the next opportunity for his side, sending an unorthodox volley narrowly over the bar after a scramble from a set-piece.
Hearts added a fifth with four minutes until half-time, this time Sandilands the provider as he teed up Gordon on the edge of the area whose right-footed shot deflected off a tangerine shirt and found the corner.
Friel looked to add to his assist as he cut in from the right past a lackadaisical challenge from Sam Lovie and fired goalward, Arron Donald in the right place at the right time to deflect the ball wide for a corner.
It looked like the hosts picked up from where they left off after the interval, as Gordon had the ball in the net just 30 seconds after the restart. Luckily for United though, a lengthy VAR review eventually deemed Sandilands had run across the line of the goalkeeper and the deficit remained at four for the time being.
McCabe produced two fantastic saves soon after saving both a drilled shot from Kirk on the burst into the box after being picked out by Tait from deep and a one-on-one from Sandilands with his feet.
The introduction of Moore early in the second period allowed the Young Terrors to regain control in midfield after being completely overrun in that area before half-time, as he looked to offer his colleagues angles to keep play ticking over nicely and positioned himself in tight pockets of space when looking to receive higher up the pitch. His fellow Scotland U17 teammates MacLeod and O’Donnell also played a major role in this, the three obviously accustomed to playing with each other.
A sustained period of United pressure and possession heavily involving the aforementioned players culminated in MacLeod cutting in from the right and sending a shot just wide of McFarlane’s upright from 25 yards.
Hearts responded, this time Michael Aitkin going close as he wastefully blasted over from just behind the penalty spot following a wide free-kick from McLuckie.
Sandilands had yet another chance to add to his tally on 68 minutes, combining with Friel once more as he met the defender’s cross and sent it skimming inches wide of the far post.
Tenacious pressing from Borland which saw him pickpocket Tait then led to a promising attack for United, Naglik picking up the scraps and feeding MacLeod who in turn played in Stuart Heenan, his right-footed shot easily gathered by the keeper though.
Substitute Ewan Simpson re-injected pace into the Hearts ranks against a tired away side, first dancing through a ruck of tangerine shirts into the box and striking just wide of the target before nodding home number six after Sandilands had dispossessed O’Donnell just ten yards from his own goal.
There was still time for the Tynecastle side to make it seven, an inch-perfect pass through the defence for Harvey Chisholm collected by the advancing James Wilson who unselfishly squared for McLuckie to tap into the unguarded net.
A more encouraging second-half showing from the Young Terrors but not enough to scale the enormous mountain they gave themselves to climb in the first 45.