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Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth Chris Bertram auth-> Eddie Smith
3 of 004 Andrius Velicka 16 ;Andrius Velicka 43 ;Roman Bednar 79 ;Andrius Velicka 91 SC A

Stranraer 0 Hearts 4

By Chris Bertram, PA Sport

Andrius Velicka sent holders Hearts cruising into the fourth round of the Tennent's Scottish Cup with a fine hat-trick against Stranraer at Stair Park.

The Lithuanian striker put Valdas Ivanauskas' men ahead on 17 minutes when he collected a Bruno Aguiar pass and calmly lobbed Stranraer goalkeeper Scott Black.

Velicka added a second from close range just before half-time and Roman Bednar made Hearts' passage to the next round safe with a terrific finish 11 minutes from time.

The hat-trick strike for Velicka came in injury time as the Second Division side were beaten emphatically.

Stranraer's best chance came when forward Alex Burns poked wide from just inside the box after 26 minutes.

Hearts travelled to Galloway without Scotland midfielder Paul Hartley, who was suspended after his red card in the final victory over Gretna last May.

In-form Saulius Mikoliunas was also missing from the starting line-up, dropped to the bench following the win over Dunfermline on Tuesday.

That meant a return to the side for former Scotland winger Neil McCann.

Stranraer boss Gerry Britton has considerably fewer resources at his disposal so he was pleased to be able to welcome back striker Michael Moore after suspension.

The Tynecastle outfit's superior skill was quickly evident and they were into their stride within three minutes of kick-off.

The ball was moved wide to Nerijus Barasa on the right of the Hearts midfield and he delivered a fine early cross into the box which Andrew Driver was just inches from receiving.

Hearts took the lead after 17 minutes when Aguiar punted the ball from deep inside his own half and Velicka galloped between two static Stranraer defenders to gather possession and calmly loop the ball over advancing home goalkeeper Black.

The home side were handed a chance to level matters when McCann was caught in possession on the edge of his own box and the ball fell to Burns, but the veteran striker shot wide of Craig Gordon's left-hand post.

The opportunity gave Britton's men encouragement though and Burns was far from downcast, proving a real menace to the Hearts central defenders.

Burns and Moore looked able to carve out openings for their side against the inexperienced Jambos pairing of Christophe Berra and the recalled Christos Karipidis.

Indeed it was from a Moore flick that David Hamilton was able to produce a shot on the turn which Gordon smartly saved to his right just before half-time

But two minutes before the break Velicka added a second when he poked home from close range after a Driver corner was flicked on at the near post.

Britton made his first substitution at half-time, replacing Burns with Michael Mullen, who is on loan from Queen of the South.

The striker was immediately into the action, receiving a long ball from his defence to shoot low from 10 yards out but Gordon smothered in typically efficient style.

Mark Crilly bent a fine free-kick just wide of Gordon's right-hand post but that was to be his last action as he was replaced four minutes later by Kenny Wright.

Mullen had another sniff of a chance just after that switch when a loose ball from Aguiar set him free down then left but a fine tackle from Karipidis snuffed out the threat.

Michal Pospisil was replaced by Bednar midway through the half as Ivanauskas sought to wrap up the match.

Mikoliunas entered the fray in the 71st minute, replacing Robbie Neilson, who was jeered from the pitch by the home fans due to the spell he once enjoyed with Queen of the South.

The move saw Barasa move to right-back and Mikoliunas take up his normal position on the right wing.

Bednar made it 3-0 for the holders when he and Velicka exchanged passes midway inside the Stranraer half before the Czech striker finished emphatically with 11 minutes remaining.

Driver almost added a fourth for Hearts a minute later but the young striker was denied by a brilliant reflex save from Black.

With almost the last kick of the game Velicka completed his hat-trick with a cool finish with his right foot.


Stranraer Black, Snowdon, McAlpine, Aitken (Walker 89),Wilson, Sharp, Hamilton, Crilly (Wright 51), Moore,Burns (Mullen 45), Ramsay.

Subs Not Used: Morrison, Hunter.

Booked: Moore, Snowdon.

Hearts Gordon, Neilson (Mikoliunas 68), Wallace, Karipidis,Berra, Barasa, Aguiar, McCann (Jonsson 81), Driver, Velicka,Pospisil (Bednar 63).

Subs Not Used: Banks, John Armstrong.

Booked: Velicka, McCann.

Goals: Velicka 17, 43, Bednar 79, Velicka 90.

Att: 5,100

Ref: E Smith (Scotland).

Taken from

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