Like a man who gambles everything he’s got on one last roll of the dice at the tables and wins, Brad McKay finally got the moment he craved as his injury time winner secured a record-breaking win for Hearts.
With the game tied at 1-1 in stoppage time, Jamie Walker was dumped in the box by Colin Marshall and presented McKay with an all-or-nothing chance to both win the game, and make his mark.
Having announced his intention to leave Hearts in January, McKay has been trying to get his name on the scoresheet for his boyhood heroes before his departure, and he was finally presented with the chance on Saturday.
The centre-half was coolness personified as he stroked the ball home to earn the victory over Cowdenbeath, and in doing so, helping the Scottish Championship winners set a new points record for the Scottish second tier, set by Hibs in 1999.
Placed in the side due to the suspension of skipper Danny Wilson, Brad made the most of his opportunity to shine on a windy day at Central Park.
“Realistically, this was my last start for Hearts,” said an emotional McKay. “Danny will get his place back in the side next week, as the skipper, so it was my last chance to score for Hearts, really.
“When Morgaro took his penalty [against Cowdenbeath in the 10-0 victory] a few months back, it was only us that hadn’t scored this season in the first team squad, and he was on the park while I wasn’t. I don’t think the boys expected me to take the penalty today, but I did.”
Brad also reserved special praise for Jamie Walker, with the double Player of the Year nominee winning the spot-kick and selflessly giving up the chance to become top goalscorer to allow Brad the chance to get his first goal.
“We’ve got a few lads fighting to be top scorer in the squad, so they’re all scrambling to take penalties and free kicks,” he continued. “Jamie Walker said he’d take a penalty before the game, so I was surprised when he walked over and gave me the ball.
“I really have to thank Walker for that, he pushed everyone out of the way to give me the ball and let me get my moment for Hearts.”
Lastly, with his move to St Johnstone confirmed, McKay revealed he was looking forward to playing first team football more regularly, but at the same time, the Jambo-at-heart broke through as he conceded he couldn’t think of a better way to sign off.
“I’ve known for a while that I was leaving, and although it’s bittersweet, I’m looking forward to playing more next season. At the same time, I’m still focused on Hearts.
“It’s great to know that, despite the fact that I’m leaving, I’ve been part of the team that won the Scottish Championship at the first attempt and broke the Hibs points record too.”