Hearts 0-2 Sunderland
A first-half Aiden McGeady double glossed off a productive Scottish training camp on Saturday afternoon as Sunderland overcame Heart of Midlothian 2-0 at a sun-soaked Tynecastle Park.
A penalty kick after 14 minutes following a foul on Ross Stewart put the Lads in the driving seat, before the experienced winger added to his tally on 41 minutes with a smart finish set up by Lynden Gooch.
The match began in a steady pre-season fashion and witnessed its first half-chance when McGeady fired off target from outside the area nine minutes in.
It was not to be long before the opener however, as the Republic of Ireland international rolled it through for Stewart, who just reached the ball before his namesake – Hearts goalkeeper also Ross Stewart – to be brought down for a penalty kick.
McGeady duly converted down low to the goalkeeper’s left to open the scoring, calmly acknowledging an animated Hearts crowd.
As Hearts sought a quick response, the assistant’s flag came to the Lads’ rescue as Finlay Pollock hammered the ball into the net from a tight angle but was adjudged to have fouled teenage debutant Callum Doyle in the build-up.
The next opportunity arrived for the home side 29 minutes into proceedings, Liam Boyce firing over at an acute angle from Jamie Walker’s guided pass.
The Black Cats battled back with an Aiden O’Brien chance four minutes later, taking on his man and firing a low left-footed shot which was kept out by the legs of goalkeeper Stewart.
O’Brien worked another close-range shout at goal five minutes from the break, clattering a shot on the turn onto the underside of the crossbar following a period of sustained pressure from set-pieces.
The mastermind behind the momentum was McGeady and he supplied the second with aplomb, finishing low at Stewart’s near post after a beautiful piece of play from the afternoon’s skipper Gooch – beating two men and sliding it through for the winger to strike.
O’Brien then squared for our front man Stewart to be denied well by the Hearts stopper, as the first half drew to a close with the Lads in a commanding position.
The second half began in tentative fashion once more but for a deflected half-volley from Jack Diamond and a header just wide from Hearts substitute Mihai Popescu, before another debutant in Corry Evans entered the fray for a half-hour runout.
Every outfield substitute was utilised by Lee Johnson with Doyle and McGeady among those to leave the field in the final 15 minutes after impressive displays.
Whilst the tempo of the game slowed in the intense heat at Tynecastle, the Lads managed the encounter with nous to see out an encouraging pre-season victory.
SUNDERLAND AFC: Patterson, Winchester (Taylor 76), Doyle (Younger 76), Flanagan, Dyce (Diamond 46), Neil (Evans 61), Embleton, McGeady (Wilding 76), Gooch, O’Brien (Richardson 61), Stewart (Grigg 61).
Subs not used: Burge.