Alex Lowry interview: Why he chose No.51, a promise from Hearts management and relationships at Rangers
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The repertoire of flicks and tricks indicated that Alex Lowry will excite Hearts supporters. Signed on a season-loan from Rangers on Friday, he only met his new team-mates on Saturday morning before debuting as substitute against St Johnstone that afternoon. It is fair to say he was well received by more than 3,000 travelling fans in Perth.
The 2-0 victory courtesy of Yutaro Oda and Lawrence Shankland goals helped, but Lowry’s cameo display was a popular topic as fans headed back down the M90 on the Premiership’s opening day. His 31 minutes on the pitch included plenty pizzazz, skilful touches and signs that he will be a major attacking threat this term.
“I just went straight into the squad in the morning, which was a surprise but I was absolutely buzzing. The sooner the games come the easier it is to get in and about the boys,” he said. “Saturday was a step in the right direction. Three points and a good start to the season.
“I just think the style of football suits me [at Hearts]. The lure of European football was definitely a factor in that and just to play at Tynecastle. I've always been fond of Tynecastle in my times playing there previously. It was just the next step for me to go.”
Those previously unsure about what he will bring in a maroon shirt now have a clear idea. “I can play anywhere across the front three or in centre midfield,” said the 20-year-old. “I will bring a lot of creativity, always forward-thinking and always want to get the fans off their seats. What a reception that was.
“When I spoke to Naisy [Steven Naismith] and Frankie [McAvoy] they were going to give me the platform to perform. Obviously it’s up to me to perform and keep my jersey here. It's a challenge I was up for so hopefully I can keep that jersey.”
The fact that shirt bears the No.51 guaranteed him popularity at Tynecastle. “That's been my number at Rangers so I just carried it over, but it seemed to get a good reception,” smiled Lowry. His inventive style of play is just what Hearts need.
“During my time at Rangers, that was always how I played and always how I was taught to play growing up. It has always just come naturally to me. I just want to make a difference as much as I can.” He admitted that the next step in his career is to play every week at Ibrox, but right now Hearts is “definitely the right step for me to go and play”.
Lowry’s relationship with the Rangers manager Michael Beale remains in good shape. “I’ve known him from when he was at Rangers under [Steven] Gerrard previously,” said the player. “I've always had a good relationship with him and we spoke a lot over pre-season and we both thought game time would benefit me in the future. It's definitely something I was keen on doing.
“I met the [Hearts] boys in the morning of the game and we just clicked. When I went on the pitch I was always looking for Shanks or Boycie when he came on. It just clicked which is rare, but definitely something I was happy with.”