BY ALAN TEMPLE at WINDSOR PARK – @CCP_Sport
HEARTS head coach Ian Cathro insists he has no qualms about pitching Harry Cochrane into action after the 16-year-old tormented Linfield.
The Scotland youth international cut a classy figure in the heart of midfield at Windsor Park, was awarded Jambos man of the match and found the net to cancel out Jamie Mulgrew’s opener.
Cochrane has now featured in all of their pre-season friendlies this term and seems increasingly likely to feature competitively for Hearts, who ran out 4-1 winners with Jamie Walker, Isma Goncalves and Cole Stockton also finding the net.
“Harry is a talented kid, absolutely,” said Cathro. “People have seen us add Christophe Berra, Kyle Lafferty, Rafal Grzelak and player’s like that, but it is important that we also see young players come through and getting the right balance.
“We want to support the young players and give them the opportunities when the time is right.
“We always want to be calm with these things, however I am not scared by the fact a player is 16 years of age. He is a talent and we want to nurture him.
“That goes with players like Jamie Brandon, Rory Currie, Euan Henderson, who have had previous experiences. We want to manage it properly and make sure the club gets the most of the work that happens in the academy.”
With Celtic due to face Linfield in the Champions League next Friday, they were represented in Belfast by chief scout John McGlynn, and the Hoops spy saw the hosts claim the lead after 11 minutes. Mulgrew picked up a loose ball 25 yards from goal and, afforded an ocean of space, unleash a superb low drive beyond Jack Hamilton.
Cochrane restored parity with a speculative shot which took a fortuitous ricochet.
With strains of ‘only one Jamie Walker’ emanating from the 250-strong travelling Hearts support quashing fears that his rejection of a new deal would foster resentment, it was the winger who completed the turnaround prior to the break, heading past Roy Carroll from a Don Cowie corner.
Goncalves utilised his strength to spin away from Joshua Robinson and clip a neat finish beyond Carroll to stretch Hearts’ lead after the break and Cole Stockton added gloss to the scoreline in the dying embers.
“That’s probably the first time we have really started to piece the parts together,” said satisfied Hearts boss Ian Cathro.