Hearts 4 – 1 Dundee U

Former Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland put even more misery on his former club as he put Hearts on course for a 4-1 Premiership win at Tynecastle on Sunday.

The Tannadice side were looking to bounce back from their Europa Conference League 7-0 win over AZ Alkmaar on Thursday but got off to the worst possible start when they fell behind in the first minute.

Further goals from Barrie McKay, Jorge Grant and substitute Josh Ginnelly ensured a dismal end to a dismal week for United and saw Hearts travel to Switzerland in good spirits for their Europa League play-off first leg against FC Zurich.

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Robbie Neilson backs his Hearts side to improve further after beating Dundee United 4-1

Tynecastle boss Robbie Neilson made a change to the squad that started the 1-1 draw with city rivals Hibernian last weekend as Cammy Devlin replaced Peter Haring in midfield.

United manager Jack Ross made three changes from Thursday night as Craig Sibbald, Dylan Levitt and Steven Fletcher were replaced by Ross Graham, Glenn Middleton and Mathew Anim Cudjoe.

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Jack Ross discusses what went wrong after ‘desperately poor’ performance saw Dundee United lose 4-1 at Hearts

Hearts got off to the perfect start as they forced their way into the danger zone from the kick-off and Shankland fired home a clinical close-range finish over Devlin’s cross.

The hosts were well ahead in the opening exchanges and they threatened again in the fifth minute when Alan Forrest took possession of the ball in his own half, entered United’s penalty area and saw a shot deflected by Aziz Behich.

Four minutes later, United veteran Charlie Mulgrew – who had been moved from centre-back to a midfield role – was loose with a pass into the Hearts half, allowing McKay to leap forward to see a low-angle shot denied by goalkeeper Mark Birighitti. . The resulting corner caused panic in United’s penalty area, but Hearts were unable to force the ball.

Grant then tried his luck with a free-kick shot wide on the left which was hit by Birighitti.

After weathering the early Hearts storm, United began to work their way into the game and Ryan Edwards saw a firm strike from 30 yards well saved by Craig Gordon on the half-hour mark.

Hearts rode straight into the park and almost doubled their lead, but Birighitti raced from his line to save at Devlin’s feet after McKay slipped the Australian on goal.

The Jambos doubled their lead just three minutes into the second half when McKay curled home a fine finish from 25 yards out.

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Barrie McKay reflects on his impressive start to the season after scoring in Hearts’ 4-1 win over Dundee United

The hosts scored again in the 62nd minute when Grant followed to score his first goal for the club after Birighitti could only parry a Michael Smith shot his way.

United secured a 71st-minute lifeline when substitute Fletcher converted a penalty after Behich was deemed fouled by Gary Mackay-Steven, but Hearts were comfortable afterwards and Ginnelly cleared away to fire home a fine finish with the Game’s last kick.

And after?

Dundee United will host St Mirren in their next Scottish Premiership game on August 20.

Hearts are at home to Celtic the following day. Both games will start at 3 p.m.

Sky Sports

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