Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has backed Dario Zanatta to get over his agonising Hamilton miss when the Tynecastle outfit travel to Inverness on Saturday.
The Canadian youngster was guilty of squandering a match-winning chance in the weekend’s goal-less draw at Accies when his close range header came back off the bar in the dying stages.
But Neilson has been been hugely impressed with the attacking midfielder’s all-round contribution in his six Premiership substitute appearances so far and reckons the 18-year-old, who joined in the summer from Vancouver Whitecaps, will become a genuine goal threat.
Neilson, who replaced Billy King with Zanatta at New Douglas Park, said: “He probably should have scored when it hit the bar, he probably should have got it down the way.
“But it’s pleasing that he gets there, and it’s only a matter of time before he scores goals for us.
“I think he gives us a bit of physicality. He’s got good athleticism up and down the park and he’ll run in behind.
“He’s a player that’s really progressed this season and he’s a big part of the first-team now. I had no qualms about putting him in.”
Neilson was also impressed by Juanma’s attitude in the final 19 minutes last Saturday after the visitors had to play for the majority of the second half with ten men following Igor Rossi’s red card before the break.
The Spanish marksman has climbed off the bench in Hearts’ last three matches and Neilson admits the 25-year-old had not been working hard enough.
He added: “Juanma came on for the last 20 minutes and gave us more work rate than he has on previous occasions, so he’s starting to buy into the idea that we want people to work hard in those areas and I can see things coming together now.”