Hearts laid down an early marker in their pursuit of an immediate return to the top flight with a thumping 6-2 win over Scottish Championship title rivals Dundee at Tynecastle.
Michael Smith and Josh Ginnelly had the hosts 2-0 up, before Charlie Adam’s excellent reply for Dundee.
But goals from Liam Boyce, Andy Halliday and two stunners from Stephen Kingsley ensured a fine win.
Danny Mullen’s goal had made it 4-2 but proved mere consolation for Dundee.
Hearts were in no mood to waste time in this shortened 27-game Championship season, while Dundee initially showed signs of the seven-month absence from league action.
After just three minutes Olly Lee’s simple ball into the box was missed, and Smith turned the static Jordon Forster with ease before rolling home the opener, and Preston loanee Ginnelly’s fine strike from 25 yards was further reward for their early efforts.
Former Liverpool midfielder Adam demonstrated the impact he could have at Dens Park this term by ghosting past three Hearts defenders before rifling in from the edge of the area to provide an immediate response, but it proved an all-too brief moment of quality for the visitors in the first half.
Kinglsey’s free-kick matched Adam’s strike for beauty, as he curled the ball beyond Jack Hamilton to make it 4-1 after Boyce had punished Jordan Marshall’s handball from the spot in a frantic opening 45 minutes.
Celtic loanee Jonathan Afolabi came off the Dundee bench at half-time and tested Craig Gordon, before fellow striker Mullen soon followed and made a similar impact as he dinked over Gordon to cut the lead back to two goals.
But despite a much-improved showing after the break, Dundee were kept at arms length by Hearts, who already look as though they will take some stopping in the second-tier this season.
Kingsley’s arrowed shot into the top corner bolstered a fine opening performance filled with high quality goals, with Halliday finishing another flowing move late on.
- 19IrvingBooked at 67minsSubstituted forHaringat 70′minutes
- 30GinnellySubstituted forHallidayat 74′minutes
- 7WalkerBooked at 90mins
- 10BoyceSubstituted forWightonat 76′minutes
- 5ForsterSubstituted forAfolabiat 45′minutes
- 6DorransBooked at 23mins
- 19RobertsonSubstituted forAndersonat 78′minutes
- 23MarshallBooked at 34mins
- 21SowBooked at 27minsSubstituted forMullenat 52′minutes
Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 6, Dundee 2.
Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 6, Dundee 2.
Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Jordan Roberts (Heart of Midlothian).
Paul McGowan (Dundee) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Max Anderson (Dundee).
Goal! Heart of Midlothian 6, Dundee 2. Andrew Halliday (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jamie Walker.
Foul by Andrew Halliday (Heart of Midlothian).
Jordan McGhee (Dundee) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Andrew Halliday (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Paul McGowan (Dundee).
Goal! Heart of Midlothian 5, Dundee 2. Stephen Kingsley (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Jordan Roberts.
Attempt saved. Paul McGowan (Dundee) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Foul by Michael Smith (Heart of Midlothian).
Graham Dorrans (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Dundee. Max Anderson replaces Finlay Robertson.
Foul by Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian).
Lee Ashcroft (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Finlay Robertson.