Reserves

Kirk praises Whelan influence

21st August 2019

Andy Kirk had mixed emotions following his side's 3-1 win over St Mirren that kicked off the Reserve League.

The wee Jambos started their season with a dominant win - although it wasn't plain sailing for them as Andy Webster's side took the lead after only eight minutes.

And despite going 2-1 ahead through an Anthony McDonald goal, Hearts' gaffer Andy Kirk wasn't pleased with his sides reaction to taking the lead.

"It was difficult at times to try and break St Mirren down. They sat quite deep in the game, they were very organised and worked really hard to try and close the lines off.

"I was disappointed to concede the goal which gave St Mirren something to hold on to and another work ethic for us to try and break down.

"It took a wee bit of time coming, but I felt if we could get the first goal, the second we could push for. The disappointing thing for me was the performance after we got the second goal.

"It just seemed to drop and we stopped doing the things that got us joy, so that's what we spoke about after the game."

The game also saw Glenn Whelan make his first non-competitive appearance in a maroon shirt, playing the full 90 minutes where he dominated the midfield.

"He's experienced, he's played at the top level, he knows what its all about with and without the ball. You could hear him communicating to the younger boys today and it's vital."

"It's a learning experience for them. They can hear him doing it so there's no reason why they can't take some of his experience and start adding it to thier game.

"He kept things simple for us today, he produced a couple of really good passes but he's just a calming influence on the players. He'll be a big player I'm sure for the first team."

 

Alex Petkov also starred, as he took the captain's armband in place of the suspended Chris Hamilton.

"Alex has been progressing since last season. He's shown a real difference in his character, the way he's going about his daily work. It's no surprise that he's doing as well as he's doing, he won Player of the Year last year.

"He's kicking on again, he's on loan to Clyde, which will give him the experience of playing against men every week in the competitive edge.

"We've got high hopes for Alex. He's a big boy, he's still got a lot of developing to do. You forget as well, he's only moved back to centre-back for a season now. He played centre midfield up until then. He's still adapting to the position but he's done extremely well."