First Team

Highland heroes

11th February 2016

Robbie Neilson praises his young stars for impressive showing in Dingwall, and believes Dauda will only get better.

Robbie Neilson has hailed his young guns for firing the Jambos to a 3-0 victory over Ross County last night.

Jamie Walker put the maroons in front in the second-half before substitute Abiola Dauda hit a stunning brace to seal all three points, and the head coach couldn’t have been happier, especially after haeding into the game minus key personnel.

Speaking to Hearts TV, he said: “I’m really pleased with the performance. I thought we played well in large periods of it.

“We had quite a few suspensions and injuries and the players who came in, the young guys; McGhee and Souttar at centre half, two teenagers playing against two really experienced players, I thought they played really well.

“Nicholson, Walker, Paterson are guys who came through the academy, then the two who came on – Liam Smith and Dario Zanatta – played well. That’s the really pleasing thing for us. We’ve got a good group of players who are starting to establish themselves as first-team players.”

With the game on a knife-edge, despite Hearts’ one-goal lead, Nigerian striker Dauda bagged an impressive double late on, making sure that three points would be coming back down the A9 to Gorgie.

Robbie was never in any doubt that the on-loan Vitesse Arnhem hitman was capable of producing such sublime finishes.

“The second and third goals from Dauda were top class,” he said. “He’s a very good player, we knew that when we brought him in. You don’t play in the Dutch top division with a team like Vitesse as their main striker if you’re not a top player.

“We knew he had that quality. The only reason we didn’t start him is because he played a full 90 minutes on Sunday and it was his first full 90 for four months. So we felt we’d give him 30 minutes last night and in that 30 minutes he came on and won us the game.

“I’m really pleased and he’ll only get stronger.”