Hearts coach Ian Cathro believes a goal in Monday’s Under-20 Edinburgh derby will lift winger Sam Nicholson’s confidence after a difficult few weeks.
The 22-year-old opened the scoring at Oriam’s indoor complex as Hearts’ youth team beat their Hibs counterparts 3-1.
Coaching staff agreed with Nicholson that it would be worthwhile to take part in the Development League match after missing out on game time at senior level recently.
The player was suspended for two games for allegedly spitting at an official last month. Cathro revealed last week that he expects to lose Nicholson on freedom of contract, and a small portion of Hearts fans booed him during last weekend’s draw with Partick Thistle.
After so much controversy in a short space of time, Cathro hopes Nicholson is encouraged by his Monday’s outing.
“I think that was important for him just now. He’s had the down time through the suspension but he’s continued to work hard and train hard,” the head coach told the Evening News.
“Monday was a reasonable workout for him so that was a positive thing. It’s part of him making sure he’s ready to compete.
“We want to make sure everybody gets the minutes they need but he has shown a good willingness to work and keep pushing himself.”