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By Alison McConnell

There were neither tired legs nor tired minds at Tynecastle as Hearts eased their way into the quarter-finals of the Viaplay League Cup – they will face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park after Derek McInnes’ side knocked out holders Celtic – as they swatted aside Partick Thistle.

The win means that they can now switch attention to Thursday night’s Europa Conference play-off tie against PAOK , the first leg of which is at Tynecastle with Hearts aware that any advanatge they can take to Greece for the return leg could be pivotal in securing their place in the group stages.

Certainly, this was a performance that was indicative of the confidence and assurance of Hearts with the scoreline a reflection of the chasm in quality between themselves and their Championship visitors.

By the time the interval came around Hearts were two goals to the good with scant evidence that Partick Thistle were capable of mounting a comeback.

Brian Graham’s unfortunate 11th minute own-goal had settled Hearts and although they dominated from there on in, they struggled to create too many genuine openings.

On the cusp of the break debutante Odel Offiah doubled their advanatge when his header cannoned off the underside of the bar with referee John Beaton ruling that the ball had crossed the line.

Lawrence Shankland made it three within a minute of the restart to put the tie firmly to bed. The striker picked up a loose pass and pinished it accordingly as he burst forward before unleashing a low effort past David Mitchell in the Thistle goal.

Inevitably, Hearts controlled the game as Thistle struggled to impose themselves in any way into the tie.

With an eye on Thursday night, Hearts rang the changes with a trio of swaps as Shankland , Alex Cochrane and Calem Nieuwenhof were taken off just before the hour mark to rest up before the first leg of the play-off on Thursday.

Substitute Kyosuke Tagawa added further gloss to the scoreline with his first goal for Hearts – and the fourth of the afternoon as the afternoon grew intolerably long for Thistle.

For Hearts, though, a place in the quarter-finals awaits with the chance of Conference League football on the horizon.


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