The Betfred Cup, and competitive fixtures for Scottish teams, is back this week. NTOF have decided to take a look at three young players that could have an impact on their club’s upcoming campaign. Today we’re looking at the side whose ground the League cup kicks off at, Hearts.
The Jambos will be looking to make amends for an underwhelming end to their league campaign. Whilst their cup competition showing was better than in recent seasons (Betfred Cup semi-final and Scottish Cup final), they’ll hope for higher than a disappointing sixth placed finish.
Teens and young players come through at Tynecastle quite regularly these days. But who do we think face a battle for a first team place this upcoming campaign?
Connor Smith (Central midfield)
Olly Lee looks set to be leaving, Arnaud Djoum has departed for Saudi Arabia. So who will fill the void alongside Peter Haring as first choice in the Hearts midfield? It seems the opportunity is there for Connor Smith if he really wants it.
Having had a taste of first team football at 16, on the final day of the 2017-18 season at Rugby Park against Kilmarnock, more minutes came last term for the 17-year-old.
Callumn Morrison (Winger)
It appeared like last season was 19-year-old Callumn Morrison’s breakthrough in maroon. Two spells on loan at Stirling Albion and a third at Brechin City seem to have aided his development.
And it appears Morrison reaped the rewards from them last season, making 15 starts and scoring once.
But Morrison will know that, despite Craig Levein having not signed any right midfielders as of yet, he’ll face healthy competition from fellow teenager Anthony McDonald.
The 18-year-old has come back from a loan spell of his own and it’s perhaps a two way fight for the position on the right.
Aidan Keena (Striker)
The Jambos will look to erase David Vanecek’s Tynecastle tenure out of their minds as quickly as possible. Conor Washington may be the new number nine but if he doesn’t fire straight away, could 20-year-old Irishman Aidan Keena be given a chance?
Craig Wighton has yet to score in maroon but Keena has, albeit against junior side Auchinleck Talbot in the Scottish Cup last season. But it appears Craig Levein considers him good enough to be around the first team squad.
Hearts don’t create a lot of chances, as reflected in their goal tally last season. So if Keena can grab goals in the lower leagues, he’s perhaps used to limited service. If he gets a chance at Hearts, don’t be surprised to see him take it.