Hearts boss heaps praise on Craig Beattie

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PAULO SERGIO insists there is much more to come from Craig Beattie after Hearts’ new striker enjoyed an impressive home debut and first goal for the club against St Mirren.

Beattie completed his first 90 minutes in more than a year on Saturday, scoring one goal and creating another in the 2-2 William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final draw at Tynecastle. His previous full match was Swansea City’s 1-0 defeat at Scunthorpe United on March 5 last year.

The Hearts manager expects Beattie to improve farther as his fitness levels rise over the coming weeks. “I’m sure he will be better in the future,” said Sergio. “I’m sure he can help us, giving us different solutions than before. He will improve. It’s his first 90 minutes for a long time because he wasn’t playing before he arrived here. He will be a good help for our squad.”

Should Hearts successfully negotiate the quarter-final replay in Paisley on Wednesday week, they will face Celtic in the semi-finals at Hampden Park. Their case is aided somewhat by the fact that St Mirren’s talisman, Paul McGowan, is suspended for the replay after being booked on Saturday for the second time in this season’s Scottish Cup.

Sergio admitted St Mirren deserve another game against Hearts for their impressive performance during Saturday’s first-half. However, he was also irked by the concession of a late equaliser in the form of Marius Zaliukas’ own goal.

“It’s unfair to lose a stupid goal like that in the last five minutes but great credit to our players for changing the game,” he continued. “It was a very good game for the fans. Now we have to be ready to go to St Mirren. Maybe for what they did in the first 30 minutes, they deserve a second match.”