First Team

Billy blitzes off the bench

16th March 2015

Wing King stakes his claim for starting spot with double off subs bench in Sons rout.

Billy King responded to his omission from Saturday’s starting line-up in the best possible manner by coming off the bench and blasting two goals past Dumbarton, taking his tally to 8 for the campaign.

Scottish football’s leading provider of goals also notched his 14th assist of the season, as Danny Wilson headed home his corner to put Hearts two goals to the good.

Robbie Neilson admitted it had been difficult to leave King out of the team after a man-of-the-match performance in the 10-0 victory over Cowdenbeath.

Reflecting on his cameo appearance, the Riccarton graduate was pragmatic in his assessment of the head coach’s tactical decision.

“I wasn’t too disappointed because there are three important games this week,” said King. “Robbie just said it was a bit of squad rotation and I came on, so I played a good part in the game and scored two goals. 

“That’s what I’m about. I come on thinking I want to get goals or assists and I did that today, which is all anyone can ask.”

“I understood because he explained to me there were three games in a week,” explained the winger. “We have two hard games this week, with Raith and then Falkirk. 

“I understood why he was rotating the squad. I’m happy I came on and played 30 minutes. It was an emotional day for the club and it was just nice to get the win.”

Another mark of this season’s relentless campaign has been the overwhelming hunger and desire of the side to keep on scoring goals, even when a game seems to be won.

Early in the season, Robbie Neilson pressed home the potential importance of goal difference in the league campaign. 

As it is, Hearts enjoy a comfortable 17 point lead at the top of the league table - with a game in hand - but that hasn’t dampened their desire to score goals.

Indeed, that desire has seen 22 of their 78 league goals - or 28% - coming in the last 15 minutes of games this season.

“The manager’s been saying we need to keep going right to the final whistle. He wants us to keep scoring, even if there’s just a few minutes left.

“They were tiring a bit as well, which I think helped us and we had fresh legs with the subs,” continued King.  “Me, Soufian and Keatsy came on. We are three players hungry for goals and that’s why we got a couple late on.

“As an attacking player, it’s good to see we’re scoring lots of goals. We’ve won 10-0 and now 4-0 but it’s also important that we’re keeping clean sheets as well. 

“You see teams that score ten goals but concede one or two. We’re not losing goals and that’s a good thing. “

The possibility yet remains for Hearts to reach 100 league goals - and anyone who saw the urgency to get the ball back after the 4th goal on Saturday will recognise that the squad believe they can achieve it.

Additionally. the Scottish second tier record points tally of 89 remains within reach, although the team will understand that there’s still a lot of work to be done to achieve that as well.

Most importantly, however, is the league title, which Hearts will ensure they win with three more victories, or 8 points, in the remainder of the season.

King was concise in his summary of how it feels to be part of a Jambos side that is breaking records week in and week out. 

“I never saw this happening this season, to be honest. I didn’t think we would be as dominant as this. It’s just a joy to be a part of.”