Hearts breezed into the quarter-finals of the Viaplay Cup with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Partick Thistle at Tynecastle.

Frankie McAvoy’s men made short work of their cinch Championship opponents, racing into an early lead in the capital and keeping the Jags at arm’s length to canter into the final eight.

Here are five things we learned from an absorbing encounter in Gorgie.

Early goal eases nerves

This was always going to be a match where a lot was going to be asked of Hearts’ creative players. With the Thistle defence lying deep and compact, finding little pockets of space to exploit in the final third was the biggest hurdle for the hosts to overcome.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, the home side’s starting XI had plenty of playmakers within it. Lawrence Shankland spearheaded the attack for Frankie McAvoy’s team, while Alex Lowry, Barrie McKay and Kenneth Vargas – making his first start in maroon – played at the tip of midfield, tasked with unpicking the stubborn resistance that met them. Toby Sibbick and Calem Nieuwenhof, meanwhile, guarded the defence at the base of midfield.

Hearts had a lot of the ball early on, seemingly determined to get the early goal that would leave them in the driving seat, without managing to carve open their opponents. When they took the lead on 13 minutes, it arrived via a corner kick.

Alex Lowry swung in an inviting ball that Kye Rowles rose highest to meet, glancing it goalwards before Thistle captain Brian Graham unintentionally diverted the ball into his own net. That released any hint of pressure on Hearts, and allowed them to start playing the game on their own terms as they patiently probed for their next opening.

Thistle’s build-up stifled

Thistle were defending fairly resolutely early on in the capital but conceding the early goal left the Jags facing an uphill struggle. Kris Doolan’s men spent most of the first half camped on the edge of their own box, repelling wave after wave of attack and rarely breaking forward to threaten the Hearts goal.

As the first half wore on, though, they started to see a bit more of the ball and grew into the game. Advances into the final third remained few and far between but there was now the odd period of possession where they could ask some questions of their opponents.

The Thistle full-backs, Jack McMillan and Harry Milne, are two of the deadliest weapons in the Jags’ arsenal and the pair have a happy habit of making lung-busting runs forward to support attacks and create overloads out wide, but both found themselves stifled at Tynecastle. All of a sudden, Doolan’s side were looking a little blunt up top – and they were unable to find a solution to turn the game in their favour.

With the game approaching half-time, their task became nigh-on impossible. Again, a set-piece was Thistle’s undoing as new signing Odel Offiah connected with Lowry’s delivery, crashing the ball off the underside of the bar and over the line for 2-0.

New signings are all right

Offiah only finalised his season-long loan from Brighton on Friday but the full-back found himself pitched straight into the starting XI at Tynecastle. The big, powerful right-back adapted seamlessly to his new team-mates, carefully choosing his moments to bomb forward on the overlap. A cross into Lowry on 19 minutes was a little too close to David Mitchell and the Thistle goalkeeper greedily hoovered it up, but it was an encouraging sign from the new recruit nonetheless.

Offiah ensured it would be a debut to remember by glancing in his side’s second, and the 20-year-old showed enough to suggest he will have plenty to offer Hearts between now and the end of the season.

Further up the right flank there was another of Hearts’ summer arrivals: Vargas, who was handed his first start for his new team. There were a few little flashes from the Costa Rican forward and the occasional glimpse of quality, too – a vigorous tussle with Thistle centre-half Wasiri Williams where Vargas eventually won the ball drew a rapturous round of applause from the home stands during the second half.

Off-day for Thistle centre-backs

Williams and his defensive partner Aaron Muirhead were always going to be in for a stern examination against Hearts and so it proved. The former was a little shaky from the start, never entirely convincing when on the ball and a few stray passes early on didn’t do much to settle any nerves among the way support.

Muirhead fared a little better before cheaply giving the ball away shortly after the restart, practically inviting Shankland to put his side 3-0 up. He was lax on the ball and subsequently robbed of it by the Hearts skipper 25 yards from goal, and Mitchell had no chance of stopping Shankland’s rifled shot into the bottom corner.

No European hangover for Hearts

Given Hearts’ midweek exertions in the 3-1 win over Rosenborg in the Europa Conference League on Thursday night, supporters could have been forgiven for thinking it could take their team a little while to get going against Thistle. But those nagging concerns were put to bed early on in the contest though Graham’s own goal.

It was another encouraging display from a team that will hope they have a few more European outings this season. They still need to get by PAOK in the play-off round to get group-stage football but the early indicators are that Hearts are adapting well to the additional demands brought about by their involvement in continental competition.

Hearts only lost two matches immediately after playing in Europe last season – against Aberdeen and Celtic – and the current crop look to be getting into the swing of a hectic schedule, too. The first leg against Rosenborg was followed by a goalless draw at home to Kilmarnock, but this was a far more convincing performance from the get-go.

It was a victory that was as routine as they come – one that was underlined by substitute Kyosuke Tagawa’s first goal for the club 20 minutes from the end – and McAvoy will be hoping there will be more to follow.