HEARTS head coach Robbie Neilson is considering handing forward Gavin Reilly a starting place against Celtic at Tynecastle on Sunday.
Neilson praised Reilly’s contribution as a late substitute in the 0-0 draw at St Johnstone last weekend in a match where Juanma Delgado was sent off.
The Spanish striker – who was named in the club’s Under-20 side for last night’s 2-1 win over Kilmarnock – is suspended for two matches as a result of his red card for headbutting Saints’ David Wotherspoon. Neilson admitted losing Juanma is a blow but he feels Saturday’s performance with ten men for 63 minutes shows the resilience within the Hearts camp.
“Juanma will be a big absence but we did alright in Perth with ten men,” he explained.
“We’ll have an extra player on against Celtic and we have a strong squad of players who are eager to get a chance in the game. There’s no bigger match this weekend than Hearts v Celtic at Tynecastle.
“I thought Gavin Reilly did really well against St Johnstone. He came on and worked really hard. He’s starting to look like the player we want him to be. It’s taken him a bit of time to adapt after coming to a big club with good players round about him. I believe he’s got the ability, the pace, the power and the energy to score goals here.”
Another player receiving praise was left-back Juwon Oshaniwa. He returned to the defence in place of Jordan McGhee and helped record a welcome clean sheet.
“I thought Juwon had a really good game,” continued Neilson. “We brought him back in for his pace at left-back to deal with Michael O’Halloran. I didn’t think O’Halloran really caused us a lot of problems because Juwon is really quick and aggressive.”