First Team

Sam: Hit the target

5th October 2015

Winger in top form during Kilmarnock draw but admits he needs to score more.

Sam Nicholson admitted he needs to improve his finishing if he wants to help Hearts climb the league table after Saturday’s frustrating draw with Kilmarnock.

The Jambos lie third in the league after 10 matches, but missed the chance to gain ground on leaders Aberdeen after a combination of wasteful finishing and top goalkeeping conspired to keep the scoreline down.

After the game, a rueful Nicholson - perhaps, slightly unfairly, after a fine individual performance - tried to take a large share of the blame in Hearts not taking all three points

"It's all down to taking chances, and I especially include myself in that," said the gifted winger. "I could've scored a couple and, whether you call it luck or not, it's not happened.

"The more chances you create, the more chances you have to score. But, for me on Saturday, it seemed like the more I created, the less chance of it going in.

"You can't let it get your head down and hopefully I can bury a few in the next game.

"When we were 1-0 up I thought we were comfortable but you're never really safe at 1-0. When they scored, you start looking back at the chances you missed and think ‘how did we lose that lead?’ and things like that."

Unfortunately for Sam, he found Kilmarnock goalie Jamie MacDonald in inspired form between the sticks for the away side, and Nicholson admitted failure to score past the 'keeper was something that’s been an issue for years.

"Jamie is an outstanding keeper and is a brilliant shot-stopper. He is always confident when it comes to making big saves," said Nicholson. "One of my shots went straight to him - and he still managed to make it look like a great save. I don't now how he managed that.

"It was like being back in training, he always had a mental block on me," said Sam with a smile, "I don't know if he's trying to carry that on or what, but I'm not too happy about it!"