“I’m delighted for him”: Hearts’ boss delighted with Pollock as Hearts make it three wins out of three
Robbie Neilson reflected on a comfortable victory over Stirling Albion in the Premier Sports Cup. Jamie McIntosh reports.
Goals from Liam Boyce and a first for young star Finlay Pollock saw the three points return to Gorgie and Robbie Neilson, without getting carried away, was content with his side’s showing:
“It was good to get the three points. That takes us to nine which I think sees us qualify, which was obviously the most important thing. Some things to work on, but overall, it’s another three points and another clean sheet.”
Stirling Albion had previously beaten Cove Rangers and Inverness (the latter via penalties) and they did cause Hearts some problems last night – Dylan Bikey’s physicality, coupled with the pace of Dale Carrick and Jack Leitch gave the visitors’ defence plenty to think about on their way to another clean sheet
“Kevin (Rutkiewicz) has built a good team here, they’re well drilled, they’ve had two good results in the group, and you can see why with the way they played tonight,” Neilson said.
Without a doubt, the moment of the match belonged to young Pollock, who bagged his first senior goal for the club after tapping home a cross from the left. Understandably, Neilson was overjoyed for the midfielder:
“I’m delighted for him, that’s his first competitive goal. I thought he did really well when he came on, we considered starting him, but he’s played the last few games and he needs to be fresh when he comes in. We’ve got a bounce game tomorrow, so he’ll play a bit in that and then get him ready for Sunday.
“It’s great for his confidence, he makes some great runs forward, he’s so positive, he’s got great energy and he brings that to the team. I was delighted for him tonight, but he’s still young and a lot of improvement to come.
Hearts do appear to have a gem on their hands in the shape of Pollock, who Neilson explained is versatile in the midfield role he can play:
“He’s a box-to-box guy, he can play in the number eight role, that little bit higher, he’ll get back and forward. He’s settled in well, but it’s just about getting him used to the physicality and getting him game time.”
Hearts have now qualified for the next stage of the Premier Sports Cup but are likely to need a win against Inverness to be seeded in the round of 16 draw. Neilson wants to keep momentum going ahead of next weekend’s opening day showdown with Celtic but wouldn’t rule out making some changes:
“We’ll make some changes, but nothing major, we want to win, it’s important to keep momentum going – that’s three out of three and we want to make it four out of four.”