22 Jan Raith earn a replay
Ian Cathro’s new-look Hearts suffered another set-back as Declan McManus struck late on to seal a William Hill Scottish Cup replay for Raith Rovers.
The Jambos started with all four of their January signings but had only Jamie Walker’s 37th-minute strike to show for their efforts at Stark’s Park.
And they were made to pay for a lethargic display when McManus sealed a 1-1 draw with his 89th-minute leveller.
The teams will now have to do it all over again at Tynecastle on Wednesday night.
Cathro – who has shipped out five players this month – handed debuts to Aaron Hughes, Lennard Sowah and Andraz Struna as they joined John Souttar in a re-shaped defence, while French forward Malaury Martin also started up top.
The changes were hardly seamless, though, and the visitors struggled to assert themselves early on.
Hearts did gradually grow to dominate possession but rarely threatened. Martin sent a wild volley over the top before picking out Perry Kitchen with a corner, but the American put his header wide.
But just as the Fifers were starting to feel comfortable, on-loan Rangers youngster Jordan Thompson put his team in trouble.
He gifted the ball straight to Don Cowie who picked out Walker as he raced into the box, with the winger slotting a composed finish home eight minutes before the break.
Rovers keeper Kevin Cuthbert had to tip over a Martin effort moments into the second period as Hearts looked to build on their lucky break.
But having sat in for much of the half, Rovers finally began to show some ambition.
Mark Stewart’s miss after 56 minutes, however, defied belief. Former Jambo Kevin McHattie stuck the ball through Souttar’s legs as he darted into the box before squaring to Stewart at the back post.
The unmarked striker only had to steer past Gorgie stopper Jack Hamilton but instead crashed his effort off the bar.
Gary Locke’s side continued to press but were frustrated as Hamilton came up with two stunning reflex saves to deny Ross Callachan and then Iain Davidson.
Bjorn Johnsen’s snap shot came within an inch of finding the top corner as Hearts tried to respond while all four sides of the ground rose to their feet to acclaim the introduction of former Tynecastle favourite Rudi Skacel 10 minutes from time.
But the Hearts supporters were soon rethinking their cheers as the Czech midfielder helped send the tie to a replay.
He volleyed Bobby Barr’s corner back towards goal where fellow sub McManus’s was well positioned – and onside despite Hearts protests – to level with a deft header.