First Team

Carry on Keatings

1st February 2015

Striker states his case for starting position with sixth goal in eight appearances.

James Keatings marked his return to the Hearts starting line-up with his tenth goal of the season in Saturday’s comprehensive 4-1 victory over Alloa Athletic.

The Jambos’ top scorer netted his sixth goal in eight appearances after 10 minutes, following on from Miguel Pallardo’s opener. 

The striker insisted it was the perfect response to last week’s first league defeat of the season, as Hearts dealt with a difficult surface on the astroturf of the Indodrill Arena.

“We were never focusing on any run of games, or undefeated record,” said Keatings. “It’s just good for us to bounce back with a win after last week’s defeat.

“People just assumed this was just another game for us, but it was so difficult. The astroturf was an absolute nightmare to play on. The ball bounces all over the place, so to win 4-1 is something we’re really proud of.”

Despite Hearts increasing their lead at the top of the Scottish Championship to sixteen points, the former Celtic man insisted Hearts wouldn’t rest on their laurels, but conceded they knew their destiny was in their own hands now.

“It might be 16 points now, but Rangers have games in hand. We’ll just focus on our own games. There’s only 14 matches left, so we know if we keep winning, we’ll go up as champions.”

Finally, Keatings admitted that he was disappointed to find himself out of the team last week but revealed his determination to force his way into Robbie Neilson’s starting line-up permanently, by doing what he does best: scoring goals.

“I want to play every game, every week. The gaffer didn’t play me last week and I respect that choice, all I can do is make the most of my time on the pitch.

“I came off the bench last week and scored, and I got my chance today and scored again. It’s what the manager wants me to do, it’s why I’m picked, and it’s what I love doing.”