Raith Rovers undone by Wighton hat trick in Betfred Cup clash with Hearts

Manny Duku celebrates pulling a goal back (Photo by Bill Murray / SNS Group)Manny Duku celebrates pulling a goal back (Photo by Bill Murray / SNS Group)
Manny Duku celebrates pulling a goal back (Photo by Bill Murray / SNS Group)
A Craig Wighton hat trick saw Raith Rovers fall to a 3-1 defeat at Tynecastle in the Betfred Cup.

The game got off to the worst possible start for Rovers who found themselves a goal down after just 90 seconds.

A Hearts free kick was adjudged to have hit Kyle Benedictus on the arm and referee Craig Napier pointed to the spot.

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TV replays shoe that the decision was harsh but there was little in the way of protest from the visitors.

Former Raith striker Wighton made no mistake from the spot.

Despite the early setback Rovers refused to crumble and saw plenty of the ball for the reminder of the half.

Indeed it was the Stark’s Park side who next came closest to netting.

A Kieran MacDonald cross to the far post saw his fellow full back Regan Tumilty stealing in but his close range effort was blocked.

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On 31 minutes Dylan Tait, maybe Rovers best player in the first half, was booked for a high challenge on the Jambos’ Harry Cochrane.

Three minutes later a decent, low effort from Tumilty was held by Hearts’ debutant keeper, Ross Stewart.

However, on 40 minutes the home side scored a second from the spot and once again Benedictus was involved.

Both Lewis Moore and Wighton were felled in the Rovers box, the latter by Benedictus who had slipped. Once again referee Napier pointed to the spot.

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Wighton made no mistake, beating former Hearts keeper Jamie MacDonald by placing the ball to his left for a second time.

Rovers were perhaps unfortunate to be two down at this stage but right on half time it could have been even worse.

Euan Henderson cut in from the Hearts left and his low shot beat MacDonald but Benedictus cleared off the line.

Rovers emerged for the second half and were soon back in the game.

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Tait played a ball through to Duku on the left of the Hearts box and the striker lashed a great left footed strike into the roof of the net to bring Rovers right back into the match.

Thereafter a raft of substitutions from both sides upset the flow of the game and there were few decent chances created from either team.

On 75 minutes a cross from Rovers sub Dan Armstrong was blocked by Kingsley. Rovers appealed loudly for a penalty but their shouts were waved away.

Substitute Lewis Vaughan tries to catch out Hearts keeper Stewart with a rocket of a free kick on 81 minutes from out wide but the stopper managed to push the effort away.

On 86 minutes it was game over.

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With Rovers pushing for an equaliser they were caught on the break and Wighton found himself one on one with Benedictus.

The forward passed the defender’s challenge and finished well to complete his hat trick and make the final score 3-1 to Hearts.