First Team

Isma: Team bonding key

13th March 2017

Isma reveals time spent together away from pitch proving crucial on it after thumping Accies win

Isma believes time spent away from the pitch together led to his Hearts team-mates firing on all cylinders against Hamilton Accies on Saturday.

The Jambos brushed aside Accies on a successful afternoon all round at Tynecastle, with goals from Arnaud Djoum, Jamie Walker, Malaury Martin and the Portuguese striker himself capping off a fine day.

Isma revealed that the team had been enjoying bonding sessions out of hours, and it’s helped everyone settle and get to know each other.

“We have been going out for lunch together and at training we stay there from the morning until late afternoon all together,” he said. “It’s important we get to know each other. Most of the players are new players so it’s important.

“It was Ian’s idea for us all to go out. Our families were there also. I think this is important because we get to know each other better. I think it helps. I’m close with everybody, I like to speak and laugh.

“I think it takes a little bit of time for people to come and settle over here. You change life, change country. It can take a while. But I think it’s going well. Like the Greek players, Greece is hot and it’s a different life over here.

“I definitely think if players are happy away from the pitch then they will play better on it.

“I’m enjoying being back in Scotland a lot. I like the atmosphere, the fans, I love it.”

Hearts’ no.77 opened his Tynecastle account with the game’s second goal, firing high into the roof of the net after being teed up from Don Cowie’s indirect free-kick.

While he was happy to get on the scoresheet he insists it could’ve been even more, were it not for the heroics of Accies goalkeeper Gary Woods.

“It was a good moment to score at home,” he said. “I was looking for this and it happened so I’m very happy.

“The Hamilton goalkeeper is very good. If he was not there or it was a different one then the score could’ve been 8-0. But he did an amazing game, he’s a very good ‘keeper.”

“I think we are working hard at training and getting all the information that the coach wants, and I think you saw it on Saturday.”

Hearts travel to Aberdeen this Saturday as the race for Europe intensifies, and Isma hopes the emphatic win over Accies will prove to be a springboard for the men in maroon.

“I hope this will be a turning point but we’re going to play game after game and we will see,” he said. “I hope if we keep winning it will give us consistency.

“It’s going to be a good game, I think. It’s two good teams and I think we’re going to enjoy this game.”