Precocious Hearts kid Harry Cochrane revels in ‘crazy’ debut and vows to keep progressing

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

HEARTS prodigy Harry Cochrane has lifted the lid on the ‘crazy’ experience of making his first senior start at the age of 16 as the midfielder’s burgeoning reputation continues to grow.

Cochrane was named in the line-up for the Jambos’ 2-1 defeat against Dundee on Saturday and, following some understandably nervous early moments, he grew into the game and did not look out of place at Dens Park.

It was just the latest milestone for the diminutive playmaker, who became the first SFA Performance School pupil to start a Premiership match, having been integrated into the senior set-up at Tynecastle by former boss Ian Cathro during pre-season.

Cochrane concedes the entire day was surreal, from seeing his name on the back of a Hearts shirt to his phone being inundated by well-wishers after the encounter.

He said: “I never thought it’d be me playing in the Premiership at all, never mind at 16. It’s amazing but I want this to just be the start.

“It was a crazy day. My phone was going off the nut after the game and I enjoyed the experience.

“I found out I was starting in a meeting after our pre-match lunch and it totally hit me by surprise. I was so nervous and the coaches were saying stuff to me but I couldn’t take it all in as it was a huge moment.

“To see the name on the back of my shirt in the dressing room was a dream come true and the moment I’ve been waiting for since I was a wee boy.”

However, Cochrane taste of first-team football has only made him more determined to progress and continue to battle for a berth in the heart of midfield, with Arnaud Djoum currently sidelined due to a knee injury.

He told scottishfa.co.uk: “I was really nervous and my legs weren’t feeling right before the game. It was such a step up from the under-20s but once I got my first few touches I grew in confidence.

“The older guys were brilliant with me, telling me to keep calm and get on the ball as much as possible. Aaron Hughes and Prince Buaben have both been excellent with me since I started training with the Hearts’ first team.

“I had a couple of good moments but I know I can do more and I’ll be looking to continue working hard in training to get another chance.”

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