Liam Fox hopes that Saturday’s East of Scotland Shield triumph over Hibs will give his young Hearts stars a taste of what regular Tynecastle action is like.
The Wee Jambos ran out comfortable 3-1 winners over their city rivals to lift the Shield for the first time in ten years, and the U17s coach wants them to savour the moment but keep one eye on the future.
Speaking to Hearts News, Liam said: “That’s part of the message to them that games like this don’t come around very often. We hadn’t won the trophy in a while, and you add in that the game’s at Tynecastle and there’s going to be a big crowd there, then it gives it a wee bit of a taste of what it could be like for them if they keep progressing, keep working hard and keep learning.
“That’s where they want to be playing every week, that’s the standard that they should want to get to, playing at Tynecastle in front of a packed crowd every week. It gave them a wee taste of it and hopefully they recognise that and think ‘do you know what, I’d like to that every week’ and that’s where you need to get to.
“It’s also about us working hard to develop them as players, hopefully some of them get there.”
With the score 0-0 at half-time, the young maroons came flying out of the traps in the second-half with Dale Baxter, Russell McLean and Euan Anderson all netting, and Jamie Gullane pulling one back for the visitors.
Liam was quick to praise the way his side handled the occasion.
“It’s probably the first time that a lot of these kids have actually played at Tynecastle in front of a reasonable crowd,” he said. “That can be quite daunting in itself and I think it took us a wee while to get to grips with that. To give credit to Hibs, they came out and probably started a bit better than us but I was happy with how we managed to see it out.
“Even towards the end of the first half I thought we were starting to come into the game and we came out for the second half and it was a good response. I was delighted that we scored three goals and came away with the victory.
“To get the trophy at the end of it having, not won it for so long, was really good for the kids. I was really pleased and the boys were delighted.”
Despite the game being played at U18s level, many of the club’s U17s players featured, something that delighted Liam.
“Euan Henderson has been doing really well in the U17s squad so it was great that he came on and scored,” he said. “Andy Irving came on and had a wee influence to the game. The full backs were younger boys with Chrissy Hamilton and Aaron Reid playing.
“They both contributed to the game and I thought they were both excellent. Football’s a team game and everybody contributed on Saturday, which was pleasing from my point of view.”
Picture courtesy of Eric McCowat