DUSSELDORF 0-1 HEARTS
HEARTS 4-1 FK AUSTRIA WIEN
ROBERTSON, REACH, SONGO'O, CARRICK
BARNSLEY 0-3 HEARTS
MCGHEE, CARRICK, REACH
FLEETWOOD 2-1 HEARTS
HEARTS 3-3 RIVER PLATE
KEATINGS (x2), SOW
Hearts have had wrapped up another impressive pre-season under Alexander. Throughout their 5 friendlies they have managed to win 3 and battle to a draw against a top south american side. The team have scored an overall of 12 goals and it backs up Alexander's claims that their attack is good enough. Their first game was a decent win over 2.Bundesliga side Dusseldorf at the ESPRIT Arena. This 1-0 victory was met with positive reactions from their traveling support in Germany as they kicked off their pre-season campaign.
Back at Tynecastle for the first time since the famous game against Rangers, Hearts whopped top
Austrian side Austria Wien 4-1. The visitors actually managed to score in the first minute of the game, but that really didn't last long when 16 hot prospect Kevin Robertson hit home his first goal for the Jambos in the 7th minute. Reach then claimed his second goal in as many matches as he tapped in a brilliantly worked move, and after that the Austrian side fell apart with new signing Songo'o and Dale Carrick both getting on the score sheet.
A travel down to Yorkshire was up next and another 3 goal victory as Hearts cruised past Barnsley. The Reds must hate 14 as they conceded 2 goals in 60 seconds, the first from centre-back Jordan McGhee and the second from Dale Carrick. To finish of the yorkshiremen popped up
Adam Reach just before half-time to grab yet another goal of his pre-season campaign.
At this point the team's morale was flying high as the squad really started to blend together. However, they were brought crashing down to earth as they were shot down by League 1 side Fleetwood. Antoni Sarcevic put 2 past Jake Kean in the first half and James Keatings goal on the 55th minute couldn't spark a comeback as Hearts suffered their first defeat. This will be one that the team would have wanted to forget as soon as possible.
Back at Tynecastle, Hearts managed to put their defeat behind them as they battled to a goal-filled draw with top South American and Copa Libertadores side River Plate. James Keatings and Osman Sow started up-front together for the first time this game and boy did they deliver. Keatings grabbed a brace and Sow also grabbed himself a goal in a match which really drove optimism into the management staff and supporters.
Hearts will be looking to continue their pre-season form into their first league game which is up against Celtic at Tynecastle. Not the easiest of matches to start off with, however Alexander is confident after their League Cup Final victory last season. "Yes, we know it's going to be a tough game," spoke Alexander prior to the big game. "However, you have to remember we've beat them before, and I will want to beat them again. They will want revenge and they will know how we play, but they have a new manager in McClaren and we have strengthened. It will be a different match to the Final I can tell you that."
Players To Watch Out For
Adam impressed so much last season that Hearts begged Middlesbrough to let them keep him on for another season, and Boro accepted. The young winger has felt a connection with the fans ever since his arrival and his performances have helped. With 3 goals being scored from the wing in pre-season and 1 in Holland, you can see why there is a lot of buzz around him at the moment.
Dale never really grabbed his place in the squad last season due to the form of Keatings and Sow, however this season he is clearly out to clutch onto his place. As with Reach, Carrick also scored 4 goals in pre-season and looks to be really putting everything into his games, however he will need to play at his very top to grab a place if Keatings and Sow continue their form from last season.
Kevin has been hyped up by a lot of the youth staff at the club and seems to have an incredibly bright future. The lad managed to grab a goal for the senior team in pre-season as well and may feature in 1 or 2 games this season. His finishing off the ball is outstanding and he really looks to have a superb Poacher into him. He just needs to focus on his game and he will soon break fully into the team.
Yann has been superb at the back since his move. He has blocked out countless opposition attacks and really looks like he will be a rock in the Hearts defence this season. Alexander has often spoke about how much they need to stop leaking silly and sloppy goals and hopefully this no-nonsense centre-back will help out in that department. With McGhee and Songo'o, Hearts look to have an outstanding centre-back partnership. Danny who??