Lowland League roundup: Connor Smith scores a hat-trick for Hearts B; Edinburgh University start with a shock victory

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Little Jambos went wild against visitors Berwick Rangers at Whitehill Welfare’s Ferguson Park this afternoon with 20-year-old Smith stealing the show in a thrilling 6-0 win.

The promising midfielder, who extended his contract at Tynecastle Park in May, was included in the group that traveled to Spain last month for a week of pre-season training, so manager Robbie Neilson will be watching the player up close.

Smith opened his account for the season on the half-hour mark after sending a superb free-kick past Calum Antell from the edge of the box. Seven minutes after the break, Smith picked up his second from the penalty spot following a foul on Jaden Ferguson which also saw Berwick defender James Pyper given his marching orders.

Connor Smith impressed against Berwick Rangers for Hearts B. Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group.

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New signing Ferguson himself scored with a superb effort into the top corner in the 63rd minute before Bobby McLuckie finished with aplomb just 60 seconds later.

Smith made five and completed his hat trick with a great solo effort and Callum Sandilands capped off a fine afternoon for Steven Naismith’s youngsters with a sixth with five minutes left.

Naismith then said: “I think for a few of the boys in the team there is a bit of an unknown because they are moving away from youth football into competitive football which is the biggest benefit. for us. I thought the first ten minutes showed us a tiny bit of naivety and nervousness that saw us playing really safe and without that freedom that I see in training.

“But we worked the ball and got a good free kick and with Connor’s quality he put it away which gave us some composure. And then we carried on from there – they obviously sent off a man – and as the game went on we moved the ball quickly, created chances and asked them questions. I think everyone who was in the field definitely has passing grades.

Spartans striker Sean Brown celebrates pulling a goal back to make it 2-1 at Open Goal Broomhill at Broadwood Stadium. Photo: Sammy Turner/SNS

Meanwhile, Edinburgh University also kicked off their campaign on a flier with an excellent 3-1 victory at Dalbeattie Star.

After a scoreless first half at Islecroft, the Students picked up the pace in the second half and a goal from Ross McGuire and David Maskrey capped off a fine afternoon for Dorian Ogunro’s men.

However, there was a baptism of fire for newly promoted Tranent Juniors as they lost 3-2 to East Kilbride.

Tom Carter’s save from the visitors’ penalty from Bob McHugh in the 11th minute was the highlight of the first 45 minutes at Foresters Park, but Jamie Docherty’s free kick edged the hosts only for Stephen Bronsky to restore parity . Ronan Hughes gave Kilby the lead and Jonathan Page made it 3-1. Craig Barr reduced backlogs from close range before East Kilbride captain Gary Miller was sent off, but it was too little, too late.

Open Goal’s Broque Watson is challenged by Spartans defender Michael Allan. Photo: Sammy Turner/SNS

The Spartans also lost 2-1 at Open Goal Broomhill, Sean Brown on target for Dougie Samuel’s side.

Public Service Buggies also picked up a morale-boosting win with a 2-1 win over Rangers B last night.

Two efforts from Euan Valentine in the first half in front of a crowd of 350 at Christie Gillies Park were the difference for Gary Jardine’s men.

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