Hearts secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Spartans in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup fourth round, with debutant Dexter Lembikisa making a significant impact.
The match at Ainslie Park showcased the intensity and urgency brought by the Jamaican right-back, who joined Hearts on loan from Wolves until the end of the season.
Kenneth Vargas provided an early lead for Hearts with his third goal in as many games, but Spartans responded with a stunning equaliser from James Craigen.
As the game seemed headed for a draw, Frankie Kent’s stoppage-time header sealed the win for the cinch Premiership side.
Lembikisa, introduced just before the hour mark, immediately caught the eye with his dynamic style of play.
Hearts manager Steven Naismith praised the new addition, stating, “That urgency and intensity I speak about, he gave us.” Naismith emphasised Lembikisa’s positive influence on the team, having recently joined from Wolves on loan.
“First time he gets the ball, he takes his man on, beats him and puts it in the box. He was also in at the back post a couple of times.
“He’s a good addition for us and that’s why we got him in as early as we could.
“The level he has played at and in the last year, in terms of becoming an international, he’s a good player to have in our squad. And it’s one where you will probably see the best of him as he goes on.”
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