Hearts striker Gavin Reilly has been backed to go from strength to strength after forcing his way into Robbie Neilson’s plans.
Reilly helped Queen of the South reach the Championship play-offs last season with a 15-goal haul and Doonhamers manager James Fowler is delighted to see the 22-year-old finally get a regular run of games for the Tynecastle outfit.
The diminutive marksman has not looked back since fellow forward Juanma picked up a two-game ban after being sent off in the December 19 draw at St Johnstone.
Reilly has started Hearts’ last five matches and has scored three goals, including a penalty in last weekend’s 6-0 hammering of Motherwell, in his last four games.
Fowler reckons Reilly is now beginning to exhibit the talent that persuaded Neilson to shell out a compensation fee for the forward last summer.
Speaking to Capital City Press, Fowler said: “Gavin knew himself he had to be patient and it has been a bit stop-start for him.
“The team had been doing well and he’s had to bide his time. One thing with Gav is that he will always give you 100 per cent, he is full of energy and is always a goal threat.
“I’m really pleased to see him get game time now.
“He has obviously been working hard behind the scenes and it gives Robbie a good headache to have when he’s coming in.
“He’s probably got another two or three strikers he can choose from but that will do Gav’s confidence the world of good.
“Strikers thrive on goals and getting game time and he’s had both recently and managed to get on the end of a few things.
“He took a penalty last week as well and that shows his confidence being sky high as there’s a lot of players in that Hearts team that would be willing to step up as well.
“It was good he grabbed the ball and stuck it away.”
Fowler reckons Reilly is now also beginning to settle off the pitch, as well as on it.
He added: “It’s one of those things that it takes time to find your feet. He moved away from home as well, it’s all sorts of different challenges that people don’t consider as much.
“He’s a quiet lad as well although he will fit in, that takes time.
“He’s getting there now and I’m sure he’ll have a big part to play between now and the end of the season and beyond.”