Robbie Neilson today declared himself pleased with Hearts’ defence after Brad McKay and Jordan McGhee stepped in and helped record a clean sheet against Raith Rovers.
McKay made his first senior appearance since August as deputy for injured captain Danny Wilson. He looked assured at centre-back alongside goalscorer Alim Ozturk in the 1-0 win.
McGhee filled in at right-back with Callum Paterson serving the first of a two-game suspension. The teenager is likely to continue in that role against Falkirk this weekend with Paterson still out.
“All the guys who came in did well. Brad and Jordan both came in and performed,” Neilson told the Evening News. “It’s important we have a squad that we can rotate to bring people in and out. I thought Brad did really well on Saturday and I was pleased with him.”
Neilson said he will continue giving chances to players like teenager Robbie Buchanan.
“It’s great for Buchanan to be involved – he’s a great kid,” continued Neilson. “We also had Sean McKirdy on the bench on Saturday and these young guys are coming into a big environment in front of a full house at Tynecastle. Some players will go through their whole career and never experience that.
“We’re trying to slowly ease them in and give them experience so that when they do become first-team regulars, they’re prepared for it.
“Buchanan is a clever player. He holds the ball up and he’s got good movement. He can go inside and outside people. He knows the game. A lot of guys who come in don’t know how to play the game and you need to teach them everything. Robbie knows the game already.”