David Healy tips Kyle Lafferty to start quickly at Hearts

Kyle Lafferty embraces his former Northern Ireland team-mate David Healy
Kyle Lafferty embraces his former Northern Ireland team-mate David Healy
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Linfield boss David Healy doesn’t think Kyle Lafferty will take too long to settle and start scoring goals for Hearts.

Lafferty made his first start for the Jambos against his former international team-mate’s Belfast side at Windsor Park on Saturday, helping Hearts to a 4-1 win.

Healy with Hearts defender Aaron Hughes

Healy with Hearts defender Aaron Hughes

Healy, with 36 goals, is the only man to score more for Northern Ireland than Lafferty, so is as well placed as anyone to assess the number nine’s potential impact at Tynecastle.

“Kyle’s a great footballer,” said the 37-year-old. “He’s somebody who I admire greatly. He came in to the national team when I was scoring a few goals and didn’t take too long to settle – 
he’s that type of character.

“I’m sure now he’s gone in to Hearts it’ll not take him long to settle. The one thing Hearts have got themselves is a proper good footballer when he’s fit and he’s on it. They haven’t had to buy him either - he comes on a free.

“He does come with ... opinions, on Scottish football and people from Northern Ireland, but one thing I know about Kyle is that if he’s bang on it and 100% fit, there’s a proper player on your hands.”

Healy also hailed Saturday’s friendly as the perfect preparation for Friday night’s Champions League second round qualifier against Celtic.

“It’ll be the biggest test of my career,” said Healy. “Even Saturday was huge, just to see a manager with the crop of players that he has, the way they’re coached and drilled, and Celtic will be no different.

“The build up started on Saturday in that it gave us the chance to have a look at a Scottish team. No disrespect to Hearts, because I’ve huge respect for them, but Celtic will be a step up.”