First Team

Lesson learned for Liam

22nd August 2014

Liam Smith pleased to make Hearts debut, but admits he and team-mates have plenty to work on to make step up to first team football.

U20s captain Liam Smith was pleased to have made his Hearts debut in Wednesday's defeat to Livingston in the Petrofac Training Cup, despite the result.

The talented right-back made his first competitive appearance for the club as part of a very young and inexperienced side that were taught a harsh lesson by a well-drilled Livingston side, coached by former Hearts manager John McGlynn.

Facing the media after the match, Liam tried to look on the bright side of things:

"It's good for us to get our debuts and to get the chance to experience the crowd, as well as the first team boys getting valuable game time so they can push for starting places in the league", he explained. "There's a lot of competition for places this season and everyone's desperate to help out.

"The manager said there's a point to prove for everyone, and it's valuable for us to get involved in the first team. The biggest crowd I'd played in front of was the Youth Cup Final, so this was already a huge step up for me.

Liam admitted the biggest part of stepping up to the first team level was the sheer speed the Scottish game is played at, and conceded that he and his young squad mates would need to work extremely hard on aspects of their game if they wanted to make the step up permanently.

"It's so much quicker, and the environment is so different with the crowd, we just need time to get used to it. We had a spell where we were right on top and we need to score. In hindsight, we should have sat in and killed it after the second goal but we're inexperienced, clearly, and we didn't do that, it's a steep learning curve.

"I need to get used to the speed of the game, the players are better and stronger and we need to get a half-yard sharper and quicker if we want to progress.