Exclusive: Cammy Devlin's joy at first Hearts goal and why he wanted to jump in with fans

So the opposition goalkeeper is lying grounded after blocking a shot. The ball breaks loose inside the penalty area and you stroke it into the net comprehensively. Then you go berserk.

Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 7:00 am

That summed up a few precious seconds for Hearts midfielder Cammy Devlin at St Mirren on Saturday. It’s fair to say a first goal in maroon will live long in the memory for the Australian, plus the ecstatic Jambos who spilled on to the track in celebration.

After scoring the second in an important 2-0 win, Devlin managed to resist temptations to jump the advertising boardings and join in the mayhem. It required admirable restraint for an emotional guy who previously hadn’t scored for almost a year. The fact he was already on a yellow card prevented him going completely daft.

The buzz is still there, however, and Devlin will ride the wave of euphoria for a day or two yet. “There was a bit of a scrap in the middle of the park and Beni [Baningime] was running with the ball,” recalled Devlin, speaking exclusively to the Evening News.

Cammy Devlin celebrating after scoring his first Hearts goal on Saturday.

“He found a great pass to Ellis [Simms] and his shot came back to me while their keeper was on the ground. I just had to lift it a little bit and when I saw it hit the back of the net it was such a relief.

“I’m so happy but maybe that’s why I scored – because their keeper was down.” The cheeky grin and self-effacing remark are endearing features of a conversation with the 23-year-old. Then he explains what he really wanted to do after planting ball in net and sprinting towards the travelling fans.

“I was going to jump over with them. I loved it,” he admitted, another smile etched across his face. “My mind was going nuts when I scored, I wasn’t thinking too straight. I couldn’t really hear much, just a whole lot of noise. I was absolutely buzzing.

“It’s such an amazing feeling for any player. Some strikers score 20-odd goals a season but just scoring a goal is the best feeling in the world. To do it in front of the fans who have been so good to me since I came to the club was super special.

“I was so excited and I wanted to celebrate with the boys. To celebrate in front of the Hearts fans was really special. I think they were as desperate as us to get three points.

“They wouldn’t have cared who scored but I’m still buzzing. I’m so happy I could help the team with the attacking side of the game instead of just the nitty-gritty stuff in midfield.”

Recent demands from Hearts coaches have centred around midfielders contributing higher up the pitch. Devlin’s last goal at any level was in March last year, a raking 30-yard blooter for Wellington Phoenix away to Western Sydney Wanderers in the Australian A-League.

Some good-natured jibes from team-mates indicate the significance of his name appearing on a scoresheet. “The boys are will give it to me a lot but that’s part of it and it brings the spirit back up. It’s something I am trying to work on, getting forward.

“I’ve scored one goal in 40 games as Boycie has reminded me. He’s not wrong but I’ll keep trying to work on that and other parts of my game. That goal for Phoenix was the last one I scored. It was a few moons ago and it was a little bit different to my one on Saturday. I don’t think you should be expecting one like that too often.”

Another chortle. Devlin knows fine well he is unlikely to transform into a rampaging No.10 rattling nets all over the country. He was just happy to contribute to a key victory in Hearts’ quest to finish third in the cinch Premiership and qualify for European football.

The weekend win in Paisley combined with results elsewhere leaves the Edinburgh club with an 11-point advantage in third. That put to bed a sequence of just one league success in six attempts which created a degree of nervousness among some observers.

“We’ve played well at times but we’ve lacked that final product. We haven’t scored the goals that we know we can and we know we should. To get that second goal at St Mirren was great. We needed it and we are back on winning ways now,” said Devlin.

“Obviously St Mirren got a red card so that made it a bit different to what we expected. Hearts needed that win as a team and now we want to build on that.”

Next up is Aberdeen at Tynecastle Park on Wednesday night and the visitors can expect to be confronted by a more confident home side following victory at the other end of the M8. After that, Hearts travel to play Dundee United at Tannadice. They are eager to build another winning run.

“It was unreal that I got my first goal but, as I said, no matter how we did it, we just wanted to go home with three points to start a run again,” said Devlin. “We began the season so well and just before the break we were in good form and winning games.

“We knew we could do better and that’s why Saturday’s result was so important. Now we have a midweek game and another game on Saturday against teams that are just behind us in the table.”

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