Gordon Smith has got game time - now he’s going for goals

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IT IS easy to assume that Hearts striker Gordon Smith has racked up plenty of game-time at Tynecastle, considering he made his debut in 2009 and has played starring roles in an Edinburgh derby and at Whitre Hart Line against Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League.

Smith, however, had never started more than two matches in succession until last weekend, when he played in attack as the Jambos defeated Dundee United 2-1 last Saturday. That was his third start on the trot in manager John McGlynn’s new 4-4-2 system, and the man who scored his first goal for Hearts against Hibs in January 2010 is revelling in being selected on a more consistent basis.

“I’ve not really had a run of games,” said the 21-year-old. “The most I’ve had is two in a row up until now. This is me starting to get a good run and I’m more confident and getting to grips with the SPL.”

Now that he has firmed up a place in Hearts’ starting XI, Smith’s next target is simple: goals. He has netted some vital strikes in his Tynecastle career – none more so than last year’s winner against Auchinleck Talbot in the Scottish Cup third round which saved the Jambos from an embarrassing draw – but getting goals regularly is imperative for city-born hitman.

“Strikers always want to score goals,” he continued. “I’ve created a goal and had a couple of chances I should have put away, but I’m not going to let my head get down. I know I can score goals so it will come.

“I think me and John [Sutton] can be the answer up front. I think John will say himself that he likes playing with a strike partner as I do. We’ve scored six goals since we’ve been in the team with different scores. We’re creating more chances and I’m enjoying it.”