Jambos edge it.
After a minutes silence for former Hearts player Marius Zaliukas and all the fallen heroes, Hearts kicked-off just after 3:00pm.
There was no scoring at the interval with few clear chances either way, although Boyce might have done better early on. Kai Kennedy looked most likely to unlock the home defence; Peter Haring booked after being nutmegged by the winger. Steven Naismith opened the scoring just after the interval and Nemesis Boyce added a second with twenty minutes left. Aaron Doran scored a late goal for the visitors with a superb header five minutes from time. Inverness pushed hard for a leveller but Hearts held on for the three points.
Cristophe Berra made the bench for the Jam Tarts who had Steven Naismith and Peter Haring starting with Liam Boyce leading the attack. Aaron Doran, James Vincent and Shane Sutherland were fit enough to warm our bench as youngsters Daniel Mackay, Cameron Harper and Roddy MacGregor kept their place in the side after some bright performances.
The sides were changed a bit from the recent League Cup encounter with Hearts bringing in the big guns for this Championship game.
Inverness started brightly and Nikolay Todorov had the first chance in five minutes but Craig Gordon saved comfortably.
Liam Boyce should probably have opened the scoring twelve minutes in but headed wide. That was moments after he just failed to get on the end of Kingsley cross.
Wallace Duffy and Brad Mckay both made crucial blocks as Hearts threatened to break through but the visitors defence stood firm at the break.
Half Time 0-0
The second half had barely started when Steven Naismith swept a ball from Kingsley on the left side behind Mark Ridgers to break the deadlock.
Inverness responded well and when Kai Kennedy broke forward his shot was deflected behind for a corner. A spell of further persistence followed but Duffy had an effort blocked as we looked to get back on level terms.
With twenty-two minutes remaining Liam Boyce doubled Hearts advantage when he flicked a cross from Ollie Lee into the net after some neat work down the right side. Aidy White almost made it three but his shot smacks the woodwork and Boyce had an effort deflected wide.
The visitors plugged away and we got our just reward when substitute Aaron Doran head flicked a super Duffy cross into the opposite corner with Craig Gordon stranded guarding his near post. The ball bouncing in despite a despairing dive from the long keeper.
We proceeded to make life uncomfortable for the Gorgie side but despite some flurries around the Jambos box the final ball always fell short of the intended target. When it did get through a couple of wild slashes at the ball went high and wide and time ran out for us.
Despite the result, it was a decent performance from the young Inverness team and good to see Shane Sutherland and Aaron Doran getting on the park. Sean Welsh took some heavy challenges and Kai Kennedy looked lively.
This was against a strong Hearts side whilst we were still without four or five regulars such as Miles Story, Kevin McHattie and Lewis Toshney with Doran, Sutherland, Devine Vincent and Keatings still building up towards full strength.
The next two games are league cup ties and that will give us some more time to prepare for the rigours of Championship football while bedding in our new players and welcoming more back from injury. All is not lost yet!
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