Hearts coach Ian Cathro insists new striker Esmael Goncalves is already value for money at £175,000 – but predicted that he will become even better at Tynecastle.
The 25-year-old arrived from Anorthosis Famagusta last Monday and clinically dispatched his first two goals for the Edinburgh club in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Motherwell.
Greek midfielder Alex Tziolis also scored for the first time in Scotland, ensuring Hearts enter Sunday’s Scottish Cup fifth-round tie with Hibs on the back of two wins after beating Rangers last Wednesday.
Cathro praised the efforts of his team and stated Goncalves was brought in to provide a clinical edge and pace in the final third. Given time, he expects the Portuguese to improve and become a more rounded forward.
“Isma has played two games. From our point of view, it represented a good move, which is why we did it,” Cathro told the Evening News. “That’s why he’s here, to offer something different.
“We identified quite quickly the profile of striker we wanted to bring in. It’s important we found him and we’re glad he’s here. I think he’ll get sharper and his decision-making will improve, as will his relationship with the players. He needs to keep fighting.”
Cathro left Lanarkshire satisfied with a convincing win after the 4-1 victory against Rangers. Saturday’s scoreline was heavily influenced by Carl McHugh’s red card early in the second half for a dangerous challenge on the Hearts midfielder Don Cowie.
“It’s been a very good week. We wanted two wins, and we got them, so I’m very happy,” he said. “I have to give credit to Motherwell too. Even when a man down, they didn’t change much, they played on the counter and remained a threat.
“We could have managed it better at times, so that’s something to work on, but we kept attacking and killed the game off and that was pleasing.”
The last two results offered a timely boost to Cathro after Hearts won only two of his first eight games in charge. He is determined to remain on an even keel, though.
“I never got depressed at the start, and I won’t be too elated now either,” he explained. “We focus on what’s happening, and what’s real, and we ignore the noise around us, and that’s what is on the pitch.
“I’m staying focused on where we’re going, I won’t be veered off course. I’m a serious guy, who just wants to do his job. The togetherness and feeling amongst the players is what makes me pleased.
“Everyone has approached training, and the tweaking we’re making to the way we play, with open minds and open arms. That’s what makes me happiest.”