Four products of our Academy made their First Team debuts as we completed the task of qualifying for the group stages of this season’s UEFA Europa League.
The job was almost done after our 5-0 first leg win over Hearts at Tynecastle last week in this Battle of Britain play-off tie.
But the return match at the Lane was far more even as the two teams played out a well-contested 0-0 draw in front of the watchful eye of new loan signing Emmanuel Adebayor.
With the tie as good as safe, tonight was an opportunity for Harry Redknapp to give full debuts to Ryan Fredericks, Tom Carroll and Harry Kane in a team that also included fellow youngsters Jake Livermore and Andros Townsend.
But it was a more familiar face who had the game’s first sight at goal. Roman Pavlyuchenko stung the palms of Jamie Macdonald after nine minutes with a well-hit first time strike from the edge of the box.
Hearts, however, came closer to breaking the deadlock on 12 minutes when Gordon Smith turned on Ryan McGowan’s cross and crashed a shot against the underside of Carlo Cudicini’s bar.
We survived that scare, however, and had the better of the first half overall, having the best chance of the 45 minutes from the penalty spot.
Kane, 18, has been so prolific for our Under-18s and Development side since joining the Academy full-time in 2009.
He had already forced a save out of Macdonald from a tight angle when he was upended by the goalkeeper in the box just before the half hour mark.
The Walthamstow-born youngster bravely stepped looking to mark his big night in the perfect fashion, but his spot-kick unfortunately forced a tremendous save out of Macdonald to keep the scores level.
Hearts were an improved side in the second half. Smith and captain Marius Zaliukas sent headers over the bar, while sub Mehdi Taouil forced a low save out of Cudicini and David Templeton had penalty appeals turned down when he went down under Townsend’s challenge.
At the other end, Niko Kranjcar came off the bench to test Macdonald with a fierce effort struck straight at him, and Pavlyuchenko should have done better when Vedran Corluka pulled back to him 10 yards out.
Jake Nicholson came on for his namesake Livermore to make it four debuts in one night, proving the future is bright at White Hart Lane.
But we also took the time to remember the past as the great Dave Mackay, legend of both clubs, was introduced to the fans at half-time to a standing ovation – a real hairs standing on the back of your neck moment.
The draw for the group stages is made tomorrow, and we’re safely in the hat.
Spurs (4-4-2): Cudicini; Corluka, Dawson (Kaboul, 46), Bassong, Townsend; Fredericks (Kranjcar, 61), Huddlestone, Livermore (Nicholson, 77), Carroll; Pavlyuchenko, Kane
Subs not used: Friedel, Assou-Ekotto, Van der Vaart, Defoe
Hearts (4-2-3-1): Macdonald; McGowan, Webster, Zaliukas, Grainger; Robinson (Taouil, 79), Jonsson; Templeton, Skacel (Mrowiec, 73), Novikovas; Smith (Santana, 83)
Subs not used: Kello, Driver, Obua, Stevenson