Hearts manager Craig Levein admits he gets a sore throat from constantly shouting instructions at David Milinkovic, not because he is celebrating the winger’s scoring exploits.
The French-Serbian took took his tally for the season to five, including three in his last four outings, with the only goal of the game in Saturday’s hard-fought victory over St Johnstone.
However, Levein admits the on loan Genoa player still regularly finds himself out of position on the pitch.
Milinkovic, who opened his account for the campaign with a brace in December’s memorable 4-0 thrashing of Celtic, has become a recognised first team player after having to bide his time to make his mark since moving from Italy last summer.
Levein has been delighted with the wide player’s recent contribution even if Milinkovic still needs to be directed from the touchline.
Levein, whose side host Saints for a second successive weekend in Saturday’s Scottish Cup fifth round tie, said: “David has done very well, at times I’m hoarse shouting at him when he pops up in positions he’s not supposed to be in, particularly set-pieces.
“But you can’t doubt his effort and endeavour, and willingness to run and get in the box to try and score.
“From that point of view he’s been a big success.”
Hearts had goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin to thank for keeping them in the game with a string of fine saves during a first half that was dominated by the Perth side.
Milinkovic scored within a minute of the restart with a close range finish and Levein admits he expects the cup match to be just as physically demanding, especially if the notoriously marshy Tynecastle pitch is affected by rainfall.
Levein added: “St Johnstone put the ball in on top of us constantly through the match and what they do is rely on one of your players making a mistake, and we didn’t do that to their defence. We didn’t put them under near enough pressure and that’s something we’ll need to look at for next week.
“I expect much of the same, St Johnstone will be the same because that’s what they do – Tommy Wright has always got them well organised. From our point of view we can play much better.”
Commenting on the playing surface, Levein added: “The pitch has been criticised and when it’s really wet, it’s really bad it was really poor on Saturday, the players were slipping all over the place.
“In previous games when it hasn’t been wet it actually is not too bad but the water seems to loosen the top of the surface and it did cause a few problems.”