Hearts boss challenges to teen quartet to step up

Angus Beith is one of four players who have been urged to stake a place in the senior squad. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Angus Beith is one of four players who have been urged to stake a place in the senior squad. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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Hearts teenagers Angus Beith, Liam Smith, Liam Gordon and Liam Henderson were today urged to use the club’s recent trip to England to stake their claim for a place in the senior squad.

All four featured last week against Ludogorets Razgrad and Dinamo Bucharest as head coach Robbie Neilson began preparations with a training camp in Chester.

Beith, Smith and Gordon, all 18, plus 17-year-old Henderson, played parts of both games in Leigh, near Manchester. They will remain involved with Hearts’ first-team squad for the rest of the pre-season campaign at least and should be involved tonight when the Edinburgh club play Hamilton Accies at New Douglas Park.

Neilson is eager for all four to maximise the opportunities they are getting in among first-team players this summer.

“We took quite a lot of them down to Leigh to get them involved with the first team and get them playing first-team games,” he told the Evening News. “They all played a minimum of 45 minutes in each of the matches.

“The likes of Angus Beith, Liam Smith, Liam Gordon and Liam Henderson will all be round about the first team this year and, if they do well, they’ll play.”

Scott Robinson is not expected to be available for tonight’s friendly at New Douglas Park because of bruising on his leg sustained against Dinamo on Sunday.

A late decision will be made on the fitness of striker James Keatings, a former Hamilton player, who sat out the Dinamo match as a precaution due to a minor hamstring complaint.