Hearts ‘will get best out of Bjorn Johnsen’s unique nature’

Bjorn Johnsen caused Inverness problems when he made an apperance as a substitute. Pic: SNS
Bjorn Johnsen caused Inverness problems when he made an apperance as a substitute. Pic: SNS
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Hearts coach Robbie Neilson believes Bjorn Johnsen will be a unique talent in Scotland who will trouble opponents with his unpredictable nature.

FIFA finally cleared the Norwegian’s transfer on Friday, allowing him to make his Hearts debut as a substitute in Saturday’s 5-1 romp against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

A backheeled assist for Sam Nicholson to score the fourth goal was a fine way for Johnsen to introduce himself to the Tynecastle support. At 6ft 5in, he carries a physical presence but also a good degree of skill and pace.

Neilson waited a month to get him on the field after the Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia disputed his move to Edinburgh. He now expects Johnsen to cause problems throughout the Ladbrokes Premiership this season.

“I’m just delighted to get him in because you’ll see that he’s 
totally different to anyone in Scotland,” Neilson told the Evening News. “He’s a real handful. He’s played in a America, Portugal, Spain, Bulgaria, so he’s used to moving about. He can adapt to different 
countries.

“With his strength and physicality, he can play in Scotland no problem. You saw both sides of him with that assist for Sam. The ball gets played in and he uses his strength to hold it up, then his ability to backheel it through to Nicholson.

“It was a pass probably no-one in the stadium saw. He was facing the wrong way, he backheels it and Sam gives the move a great finish.

“We found out on Friday afternoon that the ITC [international transfer certificate] had come through so we decided to put him straight into the squad. He was delighted.

“We knew all along we would get clearance. It was just getting delayed. It went to FIFA, the Bulgarian FA gave information and then there was another delay. Eventually it went to an independent judge. He decided in our favour.”

Don Cowie scored twice against his old club, Conor Sammon claimed a header and Nicholson also finished with a brace as Hearts recorded their first league win of the campaign. Neilson explained that he wasn’t unduly surprised by what was a sublime performance.

“I wasn’t surprised by how we played,” he said. “Look at the players we’ve got - Watt, Sammon, Djoum, Kitchen, Cowie, Paterson. They’re all international players with real quality. Even Prince Buaben, who came off the bench, is an international.

“All these guys are playing really well at the minute. We have to try and use this momentum to go into the next game and win that one.

“The performance against Celtic here was one of the best we’ve had for a long time. We should’ve taken something out of the game because we had a lot of chances. Against St Johnstone, we dominated for 75 minutes and were in full control. Then we conceded two really sloppy goals. At Aberdeen, it was tough but we came away with a point.

“Saturday was similar to what we’ve been doing but we managed to get a better result. We had to stay positive. When you don’t get a result, you focus on the performance. If that’s good, results will eventually come, like at the weekend.”