Neil Alexander emerges as Hearts’ voice of reason amid Juwon Oshaniwa title talk


BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press

Neil Alexander has told Juwon Oshaniwa that his title talk is premature, insisting: ‘We haven’t even played Celtic yet!’

The confident 24-year-old has wasted no time in hitting the headlines following his arrival on these shores, with the man who marked Lionel Messi at last summer’s World Cup embarking on his latest seemingly impossible challenge with relish.

Hearts sign Nigerian international, Juwon Oshaniwa IN PIC................. (c) Wullie Marr/DEADLINE NEWS For pic details, contact Wullie Marr........... 07989359845
Juwon Oshaniwa has hit the headlines at Hearts (c) Wullie Marr/DEADLINE NEWS

After Hearts’ fine 3-0 win over Partick Thistle last week made it five league wins on the bounce, the 24-year-old declared there was no reason Robbie Neilson’s side could not beat Celtic to the championship.

And while Alexander loves Oshaniwa’s enthusiasm, he was quick to pour cold water on the idea of claiming a first top-flight title since 1960.

He laughed: “I must say I love Juwon’s enthusiasm but, well, just calm down.

“He’s come here, we’re winning, the fans are enjoying it and everyone is really hyped up. It’s understandable.

“But there are times you need to pull him aside and say: ‘Look, there is still a long way to go.

“Juwon has not played in Scottish football before, and we’ve not played Celtic, Dundee United, Aberdeen or Inverness yet,” continued the 37-year-old, who is combining his playing duties with a coaching role this term. 

A few of the boys have mentioned that in the dressing room and the manager has said it as well.

We all know what Scottish football is like, we know what’s ahead of us. It’s going to be a tough, long winter, the pitches won’t be great and neither will the weather.

“So we’ll see how we go after that. He can get carried away at the end of the season as much as he wants if we finish strongly and we have done well!”