Sam Nicholson was delighted to see Hearts return to winning ways as he grabbed the dramatic late winner in Wednesday night’s Scottish League Cup encounter with Kilmarnock.
Trailing 2-1 to Killie going into stoppage time, a header from Juanma and an opportunistic strike from Nicholson saw the Jambos make it to the quarter-finals of the competition and grab their first win in four after a tough run of games before Saturday’s clash with Celtic.
After the match, the winger conceded there was a touch of good fortune about the goal but enthused over his joy at scoring in front of an impressive travelling support at Rugby Park.
“It was a bit of a freakish goal,” admitted Nicholson. “When the ball went over my head I was just going to follow it in but luckily it fell to me and luckily I put it away because I normally miss them.
“It was brilliant to score the winner right in front of our fans. It was great to get a win because the last few games hadn’t gone the way we had wanted.
“We showed good spirit because after a couple of defeats it’s hard to get back into winning ways. We’ve lost a couple of goals but we have ended up getting into the next round.
“I suppose it gives us a lift going into Saturday but Celtic are a good side anyway and we know they are going to be up for it.”
After a flying start to the season with seven straight wins in all competitions, the Jambos suffered their first bump in the road with three defeats on the bounce at the hands of Hamilton, Inverness and Aberdeen.
Nicholson confessed that the team had suffered as a result of their own lapses in concentration in recent weeks, revealing that the team had perhaps started to get caught out with things they would have gotten away with last season.
“It was always going to be hard to do what we did last year,” added Nicholson. “We are in a harder league against better teams and we don’t get away with as much as we did last season, like silly little things but we will learn and get over them.
“Last season we were sometimes playing against part-time teams, and they were still hard for us to play against, but there is a difference in quality for sure.
“It was going to be hard for any team to go undefeated no matter who you are – even Celtic and Aberdeen up at the top. We’ve still had a good start despite losing a few games and it’s great to be back to winning ways. We just need to kick on from here."