Robbie Neilson today acclaimed Hearts’ two- goal debutant Genero Zeefuik as just the striker he wanted – then urged him to repeat his heroics and destroy Rangers at Ibrox.
The Dutchman arrived on a six-month loan from FC Groningen and scored twice in his first appearance against Dumbarton on Saturday. Neilson praised his all-round game, scoring ability and link-up play and admitted he wants more of the same when Hearts travel to Glasgow on Friday night.
“Genero delivered exactly what we were hoping he would – that strength and link and bringing other guys into play,” said the head coach.
“It’s a great start for him to score twice, but there’s a big game on Friday. Hopefully he can continue to do it and produce again on Friday night.
“Undoubtedly he’s got the physique and the size to hold the ball in and link with players. He’s played in the Eredivisie and he’s moved for ¤500,000, which is a huge fee in that league.
“He’s played a lot of games for Holland Under-21s and scored a lot of goals. He’s got undoubted quality.
“I think he just lost his focus over the last 18 months when he wasn’t in the first team at Groningen and found it difficult. Now he’s got a focus back. Hopefully we can help him get back to where he should be. When you’re not involved on a Saturday and that situation drags on, it can be difficult to get that motivation to train at 100 per cent.
“I think Genero lost it a little bit but he’s got it back now.”
Zeefuik is now a cert to start at Ibrox after his two-goal debut, with Neilson admitting that Hearts will work on his fitness in the meantime. Osman Sow and Dale Carrick are back in full training to offer more attacking options.
“Genero’s fitness will come, slowly but surely,” continued Neilson. “The issue is we can’t push him too hard because he’s come here in the middle of the season. We can’t give him a pre-season because we need him week to week. We’ll just develop him slowly. He’s taken to the group well and already knows Alim Ozturk, Soufian El Hassnaoui and Prince Buaben as well.”
• Hearts Under-20s face Motherwell at the Excelsior Stadium tomorrow at 2pm.