First Team

No pain, no gain

29th April 2019

Uche Ikpeazu got his just reward by bagging Hearts’ equalising goal against Hibs yesterday after has revealing he played through the pain barrier at Easter Road.

The towering frontman slid home Steven MacLean’s cutback inside the box with 83 minutes on the clock to get the Jambos back on level terms in the final Edinburgh derby of the season, sparking wild celebrations.

Despite being in the right place at the right time, Uche admits there was a real chance he could’ve been taken off prior to the goal given his knee was in pain and he had been struggling with it leading up to the game.

“I’ve been struggling with my knee — I tweaked it a few weeks ago against Aberdeen.

“I haven’t trained much in the last few weeks and it was hard for me but I tried to put a shift in for the team.

“I thought I would have to come off. I felt I had twisted the knee again.

“But I told the gaffer I was fine to continue. At the end he told me to keep working hard. He knew I’d been struggling.

“I’ve had a sore throat. It’s nothing serious but I hadn’t been in for the last few days.

“We couldn’t lose to Hibs again, it wouldn’t have been great.

“They went and scored and we had to show great character to get back and we could have won it at the end. Performances are the most important thing and we never gave up.

“I love scoring goals. When I came back from my injury I didn’t manage to score in my first six or seven games.

“The Hibs bench weren’t chuffed with my celebration? I don’t care.

“It was adrenaline — sometimes you just do crazy things and it wasn’t directed at anyone.”