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Season 2017-18
Hearts (a)


Friday 14th July 2017, 7.45pm

 Tynecastle Stadium

Conditions: uncertain

Admission: 20 adults



Heart of Midlothian

Newcastle United

1 - 2




Gayle breezes in the opener (Photo: Stephen Dobson)

3 mins Siem De Jong took a short pass from Jamaal Lascelles deep in the Newcastle half and after turning smartly, threaded a perfect through ball to the advancing Dwight Gayle. United's number 9 sprinted away from a quartet of defenders before finishing smoothly past home goalkeeper Jack Hamilton from 12 yards.

That goal was the quickest scored by United in their pre-season opener since Joey Barton netted from close range away at Darlington in July 2011

20 mins Hearts advanced following a throw-in down their left midway in the Newcastle half, Jamie Walker benefiting from a favourable ricochet before Ismal picked up possession and pinged a pass forward to Cole Stockton in the area.

The home striker shielded the ball from Ciaran Clark before laying it into the path of the advancing Walker, who didn't break stride and poked a rising shot home with the outside of his right foot from the diagonal of the six yard box

25 mins Jonjo Shelvey's in-swinging corner from the left that fell perfectly for Dwight Gayle to nod in from point blank range towards the back post, the striker getting ahead of both Mo Diame and Ashley Smith-Brown, while old boy Aaron Hughes missed his initial clearing header. 2-1

Half time: Jambos 1 Magpies 2

Full time: Jambos 1 Magpies 2

We Said

Trackie Mag 
(Photo: Stephen Dobson)


Rafa Benitez spoke to the official website after the game:

"In the first game you are always sure you will do something right and you will especially do something wrong. 

"You need to adjust the team, Then hopefully we can bring some players and add to what we are looking for.

"With the team training everyday they dont have full match fitness so the game was fine. We scored some goals and it was a good test.

"You need to change players and the game stops and starts. The second half is always more difficult but the second half was good and quite entertaining.

"You always have to see if players have improved or if they have changed something or if they have grown. It is an opportunity to see everyone.

"The team was composed. We needed to score goals and we did it. We knew what we had to do for the whole game.

On Florian Lejeune:

"He was winning some headers which we were expecting. On the ball he was good - he is another good addition."

On Dwight Gayle:

"Strikers scoring goals is always the key, it keeps them happy and the others work harder.

"It was really good for him and also for the team, when you score early it gives you more confidence.

On the upcoming Irish training camp:

"When the whole squad is away you have time to stay together.

"You have training sessions in the morning and afternoon but you have time all together and have activities, so we can try to improve the understanding between players and the team spirit.

They Said

Former Newcastle coach Ian Cathro said: 

"It was a good quality, high performance work out. It was a real positive, exactly what we needed. Its good for the players to have that level of competition against a good side.

"Our plan is for us to become a good side too, but were in the middle of work to get us there, so there were some really positive moments to go along with it.

"If anyone was unsure, we now know things are changing and growing (at Tynecastle), and it means we have the strange situation of four away games to start the season.

"We need to be excited by the challenge of getting through those games, so we can fill this place when we get to the end of that run of games.

"Ive been really pleased by the make up of the games weve played. We had to fit it into a shorter period of time, but we picked the correct fixtures and were now more ready for competition.

"(Jamie) Walker is a strong character within himself and hes a real talent who I want to support. He can make real progress. Hes part of my team thats progressing, and growing, and we want his qualities in the side as he remains part of the team."


New boy Florian (Photo: Stephen Dobson)

Magpies @ Jambos - all-time:

1900/01 lost 0-2 FR
1903/04 won 3-2 Appleyard 2, Orr FR
1928/29 drew 3-3 Chalmers 2, Boyd FR
1931/32 won 2-1 Ford 2 FR
1955/56 won 6-4 Keeble 3, Hannah 2, Davies FR*
1956/57 drew 0-0 No scorer FR
1957/58 drew 2-2 Bell, White FR
1965/66 lost 1-2 Moncur FR
1971/72 lost 0-1 No scorer TC
1974/75 drew 2-2 Tudor, Burns FR
1980/81 drew 1-1 Shinton FR
1987/88 won 1-0 Gascoigne FR
1992/93 lost 0-1 No scorer FR
1995/96 won 1-0 Beardsley FR
2017/18 won 2-1 Gayle 2 FR

* played under floodlights at Easter Road - the Tynecastle ones didn't arrive until 1957.

(United also faced an Edinburgh Select side composed of Hearts and Hibs players
here in 1950 - Jackie Milburn scoring in a 1-1 draw. Our Select visits in 1955 and 1959 were at Easter Road).

Toon Tartan trips - last 10:

Hearts won 2-1 Gayle 2
2013/14 Rangers drew 1-1 Sh.Ameobi
2013/14 St Mirren won 2-0 Cisse, Debuchy
2013/14 Motherwell won 4-2 Vuckic, Gouffran, Sissoko, Marveaux
2010/11 Rangers lost 1-2 Lovenkrands
2009/10 Dundee United drew 1-1 Carroll
2004/05 Celtic lost 1-2 Bellamy
1999/00 Celtic lost 0-2
1999/00 Dundee United lost 1-3 Robinson
1999/00 Livingston lost 1-2 Dyer

Got your number:

Notwithstanding the fact that plenty can change between now and August 13th, Newcastle's opening kickabout saw numerical alterations as follows:

Florian Lejeune wore 20 (vacated by Yoan Gouffran)
Vurnon Anita's departure saw Jonjo Shelvey wear 8 (discarding his previous 12)
Mo Diame sported 10 swapping 15 with Siem De Jong (who previously owned it)

Pre-season pitch time (in minutes):

Aarons 45
Armstrong 28
Atsu 45
Clark 45
Colback 28
De Jong 75
Diame 62
Dummett 45
Elliot 63
Gamez 45

Gayle 45
Haidara 62
Hanley 28
Lascelles 45
Lazaar 15
Lejeune 45
Mbemba 62 
Mitrovic 45
Perez 45
Saivet 45
Shelvey 45
Woodman 27

Omitted from the Newcastle squad tonight were Matt Ritchie, Isaac Hayden, DeAndre Yedlin, Daryl Murphy, Emmanuel Riviere. Jamie Sterry, Tim Krul and Karl Darlow.



Aaron Hughes gets to grips with De Jong (Photo: Stephen Dobson)

Newcastle began their pre-season fixture programme in Edinburgh on Friday with victory over their Scottish Premier League hosts at Tynecastle. However that success was achieved against a backdrop of what may justifiably called apprehension as to the upcoming season holds for us.

It's tempting to use this three-sided venue as a metaphor for the task of rebuilding that Rafa Benitez faces, but while Tynecastle is a work in progress and proceeding according to plan, it's less certain whether such a black and white blueprint exists - or now resides in a Shirebrook litter bin.

Frustrations in the transfer market and financial concerns have rapidly eroded the feelgood factor that promotion and over 40,000 season tickets sold had generated just a matter of weeks ago - with speculation as to whether our Spanish architect will even remain on the job spreading.

We've been here before of course, with pre-season games habitually accompanied by malcontents off the field expressing their exasperation at seeing the same old faces. From the comparatively polite "give us some dosh" directed at Gordon McKeag (Yeovil away in 1990) to the rather more direct "spend some f*cking money" or "stand up if you hate Kinnear" in more recent years.  

While there was nothing in the way of negative chanting from the away section tonight, something verging on bewilderment was evident from conversations with fellow travellers - Rafa's declared intent to act early in the current window a particular source of concern (subsequent confirmation that the manager failed to do any post-match press doing nothing to improve matters). 

Sadly, the mood music has echoes of the 2008/09 season that began with Kevin Keegan at the helm before degenerating into open warfare between club and fans. The evidence of 12 months ago proves that there's still time work effectively in this window, but the sheer volume of transfers in both directions means that it's an increasingly forlorn task. 

For what it's worth, goalkeeper changes aren't currently top of our agenda.     

On the field, both sides contributed to what was an entertaining opening 45 minutes before the threatened rainfall - and a flood of substitutions - inevitably reduced this to a fitness exercise. 

Dwight Gayle notched a brace either side of a Jamie Walker strike, while Jambos also missed a spot kick at 1-0 when Esmael Goncalves blasted wildly over. A humdrum second half then almost ended on a high note, with United's only debutant Florian Lejeune heading narrowly wide from a corner.

Clad in their new home kit complete with red numbers (that weren't quite as distinctive as hoped from the back of the stand but better than the previous gold effort), just four of the side that began our title-winning victory over Barnsley were in tonight's starting XI.

Of that quartet, Rob Elliot continued following the continued exclusion of Karl Darlow (who didn't travel as his sale looks inevitable), Chancel Mbemba occupied an unfamiliar right back slot and Christian Atsu played for the first time since signing a permanent deal and having knee surgery.

That left a
trim-looking Jonjo Shelvey, who had evidently benefited from his own early pre-season programme and has graduated to a shirt number in the first XI - trading in 12 for the vacant 8. 

Games of this nature often see forgotten figures return to action and tonight's notable revivalists were Siem De Jong (exiled in Eindhoven last season) and Rolando Aarons, sidelined since breaking his foot against Cheltenham Town in August - a third successive season decimated by injury.

Shelvey / Aarons  (Photos: Stephen Dobson)

Dutchman De Jong meanwhile completed 75 minutes and contributed an astute assist for the opener, but we'll hang back on the "like a new signing" cliche for now if that's OK with you.... 

Sporting shortish dreadlocks meanwhile, Aarons found acres of space down the left. Rattling the goal frame within two minutes of the first whistle, the winger later struck the crossbar with an ambitious effort reminiscent of his pre-season goal against German side Schalke back in 2014.

The visitors went ahead on four minutes when Gayle shot home in front of the Gorgie Stand, Hearts
missing a chance to equalise when Goncalves blazed over from the spot after Massadio Haidara had upended Walker in the box.

Within a minute though Walker had beaten Elliot with a low strike, after Goncalves and Stockton exchanged passes on the edge of the United area. Gayle netted again with a header from Shelvey's corner soon after; a delivery from the same source moments earlier seeing De Jong come close.

Aarons' spectacular dipper came on 32 minutes and Hearts also hit the goal frame when a snapshot from Goncalves cannoned off the base of the post just 90 seconds later. Rafa's side reached the interval ahead thanks to the double intervention of Elliot on 42 minutes, denying Walker at his near post then getting across goal to fist away a Goncalves header from point-blank range.

United made six changes at the interval and a host of subsequent replacements for the home team inevitably disrupted the flow, with little genuine goalmouth action to rouse either set of fans.

Aleksandar Mitrovic contributed one header just over and an inept attempt at a free kick, while a corner that whistled past the post via a home defender's deflection was as close as United came to extending their margin of victory - not that winning any friendly is particularly meaningful.

PS: Rafa chose not to do a post-match press conference tonight, comments emerging via the club website that talked "only about the game" to use one of his phrases. 

It's too early to panic, but we'll admit to a level of concern about the direction in which we currently appear to be heading - and whether the manager has plotted a similar course.

We're sorry to report the sad passing of 
Edinburgh-based Mag John Hunt just days 
before this game - our condolences to Ellie 
and his pals from Diane's & The Golden Rule


Page last updated 20 July, 2017