BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Hearts star Morgaro Gomis believes the current crop of Tynecastle youngsters are as good as the golden generation he played alongside at Dundee United.
The Senegal international enjoyed a successful first stint at Tannadice between 2007 and 2011, playing almost 200 times for the club and helping them to win the Scottish Cup in 2010.
Gomis aided the progress of a host of gifted youngsters, with future Scotland internationals Johnny Russell, David Goodwillie, Paul Dixon and Stuart Armstrong all emerging under the watchful eye of Craig Levein and, latterly, Peter Houston.
And the 30-year-old can see similarities at Hearts, where Callum Paterson, Jamie Walker, Sam Nicholson and Billy King have risen to prominence in recent seasons.
Ahead of today’s return to Tannadice, Gomis lauded: “I think there are similarities [with Dundee United] and, if our boys keep working hard and improving, they can get a big move.
“They need to keep their feet on the ground and work hard and let their football do the talking. If they do that then hopefully they can get a chance in England.
“I am one of the oldest in the team and I am enjoying my role. I don’t feel old, though! It is good to see the young players come through and try to make a name for themselves just like I tried to do when I was young – and hopefully I can help in any way.
“I will say to the players that they need to work hard – not only in training, but in everything they do outside of football. You need to look after yourself away from the pitch and be patient.
“You can’t always be thinking ‘when will I get a move’. Let the football do the talking and, if you are good enough, the big move and the rewards will come.”
Gomis left United for Birmingham City in 2011 and, after two years plying his trade south of the border, returned to Tayside for a second spell at United.
Given his fondness for the Tannadice outfit, and having played alongside several of their current squad, he admits he is stunned to see them toiling at the wrong end of the Premiership.
He continued: “I am surprised to see where they are. I was there two years ago and lots of players I played with are still there. It is a young squad but they are good quality players.
“But that is just football. Anything can happen and, if you don’t win matches, you will be in trouble. I never expected them to be near the bottom, but they are not winning games and that is what happens.”