2017-18 Scottish League Cup, SCOTTISH LEAGUE CUP - GROUP STAGE
  • Kyle Lafferty (22', 86' PEN)
  • Christophe Berra (70')
  • Ben Gordon (85')

Heart of Midlothian 3-0 East Fife

Kyle Lafferty bagged a brace as Hearts marked John Souttar's shock return to the starting line-up with a comfortable 3-0 Betfred Cup win over 10-man East Fife.
Lafferty opened the scoring with a towering header after 22 minutes, with the delightful chipped assist for coming from Souttar, turning in a classy display on his return from six months of injury torment.
He has been absent since suffering a devastating Achilles tear against Celtic in January and, despite a cameo in a practice game against Civil Service Strollers in midweek, was not expected to be in contention for a senior return for another fortnight.
However, he was afforded the first 45 minutes and showed little sign of rustiness, albeit East Fife - horribly depleted by injuries - offered scant resistance to the hosts, with Christophe Berra and Lafferty finding the net after the break.
Michael Smith took just five minutes to fire a warning shot across the bows of the Methil men, ghosting in to the box and rattling the post with a ferocious right-footed drive before his compatriot Lafferty headed a gilt-edged chance inches wide.
Lafferty made amends when he deftly directed Souttar's delivery beyond Ryan Goodfellow.
Isma Goncalves and Jamie Walker both forced excellent saves from the distinctly overworked Goodfellow as the hosts dominated the first period.
The Fifers endeavoured to pinch a goal after the break, with Paul Willis forcing Jack Hamilton into two sharp low saves, however the encounter was put to bed when Berra powered home Malaury Martin's corner for his first goal in maroon since January 2008.
And Lafferty added gloss to the scoreline from the penalty spot after Gonclaves had been felled in the box, with Ben Gordon receiving a second yellow card for the offence.