Aberdeen's Under 18s kicked off their Club Academy Scotland League campaign at a blustery, cold Cormack Park this afternoon going down to a strong Hearts side.
Jack MacIver was first to threaten for Aberdeen, his free-kick from distance safely held by keeper McFarlane. Despite playing against the strong wind, Hearts started to gain the upper hand and after a fine Oluyemi save to deny Darge after a cleverly worked free-kick, the resulting corner was flicked home by the Hearts man to give his side a deserved lead.
Aberdeen were not deterred and grabbed a quick equaliser when a ball in from the left picked out Tom Findlay whose powerful twelve yard shot gave the keeper no chance.
Michael Dangana had a penalty appeal waved away after being tackled in the act of shooting but it was the visitors who were next find the net six minutes before the break as Aidan Denholm's free-kick from the edge of the area found the net.
Dangana once again threatened with a barnstorming run before sheer weight of defensive numbers prevented him getting a shot away.
Half time - Aberdeen Under 18s 1 Hearts Under 18s 2
Mason Hancock replaced Finlay Murray, who had been booked at the end of the first half, slotting in at centre back. After skipper Lyall Booth had been yellow carded, Timi Fatona was forced out of the action through injury, Corey Gerrard coming on.
A swift break from Hearts saw the impressive Schiavone and Pollock combine down the right to set up Kirk who made no mistake from close range to put Hearts 3-1 up. A well worked goal. Findlay was then denied a second goal when his volley bounced off the post after a fine Booth cross.
And to rub salt into the wound, Schiavone got the goal his all-action display deserved lobbing the ball over Oluyemi to complete the scoring.
Although well behind, the young Dons never gave up and dominated possession for the final quarter of the game but were unable to grab a consolation.
After the game Gavin Levey, who was taking the team today, gave us his reaction:
"We all knew that it was going to be a real challenge for us today. We have not even managed to have an 11 v 11 training match. So it was always going to be tough.
"At the same time, the boys know it is not acceptable to come to Cormack Park and lose a game 4-1.
"The individual errors today, the defensive errors and even the attacking errors by not putting the ball in the net with the chances that we had, is always an issue but normally you would use a pre-season game to iron out a lot of those issues.
"The biggest thing was how young we were. We started with four in the back five including our keeper who were all giving up two years to the opposition. So we knew that we were young but that is a credit to the way the club is going at the moment.
"Boys like Calvin Ramsay, Ryan Duncan and Tom Ritchie are training with the first team as we speak, preparing for the trip to Perth and Kevin Hanratty could have been playing but he is out on loan. Our model is to get them out playing. This gave us a chance to blood the 2005 players who were involved today.
"We had a conversation, Scott Anderson, Barry Robson, Robbie Hedderman and myself, and we decided that even although there is a UEFA Youth League place at stake by winning this mini-league, because of the nature of our U18 players in the first team bubble, we would use this as a chance to play some of the really young guys and also find out more about the ones who are able to play 18s. Today we have done that. We have not been shocked by anything we have seen.
"There are obviously though bits that we can work on. Scott and Barry will be back involved on Monday and we will get them back working hard again."