ISMA GONCALVES insists the prospect of a lethal partnership with Kyle Lafferty is music to his ears – even if the big striker’s singing leaves plenty to be desired.
The Portuguese forward has revealed that Lafferty’s initiation fell flat when he mangled Irish folk classic ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’ during Hearts’ pre-season trip to Ireland.
Adding insult to injury, he was upstaged by his international teammate Michael Smith, who brought the house down with his rendition of a Bon Jovi anthem.
However, the arrival of Lafferty has certainly struck a chord with Goncalves as the duo aim to help Hearts hit the high notes this term.
“Kyle had to do an initiation song in front of the team and and sang a song called ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’,” smiled Goncalves. “But he was pretty bad. It was horrible to listen to.
“He is a much better footballer than he is a singer! Michael Smith was the best singer of the new boys, he had a good voice. his was ‘Livin’ On a Prayer’ by Bon Jovi and he made a decent job of that.
“To be honest, I had to sing a song in front of the players when I joined Hearts and I was just as bad as Kyle, but these things are good for team spirit and bonding.
“It helps create relationships in the team and that can only be a good thing for Hearts. If you have a good relationship off it then it helps build a better understanding on it, and my relationship with Kyle has been great so far.
“If you don’t have a relationship off the pitch then it can be difficult on the park as sometimes players may think ‘I don’t want to pass to my teammate because I don’t like him’. These things can happen.
“Kyle is certainly not shy but he is a very funny guy, we both like to have a laugh and a joke, although we are serious about football once we we step on to the park. We treat every game seriously as we both like to get the job done.”
Hearts pushed the boat out to capture Lafferty, making him their top-earner and fending off interest from city rivals Hibernian, a host of clubs south of the border and big-spending Azeri outfit Qarabag.
And Goncalves has already been impressed by the 29-year-old’s impact in training, while he was also afforded a late cameo against St Pat’s Athletic on Wednesday.
“I saw Kyle in training and he looks like a really good player,” continued Gonclaves.
“I think he is going help us and he is going to help me also. He can take the ball and keep calm and bring others into the game.
“We also have Cole Stockton in the squad too so I believe we have some good strikers at the club now.
“I have more support in attack now and I hope we can handle things together and do a good job.”
That progress will be put to the test against Linfield at Windsor Park today as they face the Northern Irish Treble winners, who already have two competitive games under their belts – seeing off La Fiorita in the Champions League – and are gearing up for a clash against Celtic next Friday.
“We played a mix of two different teams in both halves against St Pat’s,” added Goncalves. “We are still working on the team and tactics. A lot of players who have just came into the side and we all need time to learn and implement the managers ideas.
“However, I am sure we will see a better game from us against Linfield.”