Eva Olid explains key to Hearts' success this season and why Rebecca McAllister is a perfect fit for Scotland
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The Jam Tarts became a predominantly full-time professional team earlier this year, bringing in numerous new faces to bolster their ranks. After finishing eighth last season, the club have already matched their wins from last season, sitting comfortably fourth in the SWPL. Olid believes the addition of experienced defenders to the side have helped progress the club up the table.
“We have added experience in our defence that we didn’t have last season”, she told Edinburgh Evening News. “Now we have Emma Brownlie and Vyan Sampson in defense who are experienced players and you can see that difference too. We also have Georgia Hunter, from last season, the captain and she has one more year experience in this league which adds extra.
“I like players like me who go around the world and are playing because that makes you better. New countries, new football, new styles, new philosophies. For me, experienced players are important to the team, same with young players too that you can develop, they are so motivated to learn. But experienced players give you something important too.
“We have already won the same amount of matches as we did last season. Last season we had won just six matches and drew two, this season we have already won six matches. That shows the progression of the team. Of course it is a good objective that we have accomplished, but now we have a new objective to achieve.”
The added experience at the back has clearly paid off for Olid’s side, with the club having a commendable defensive record. Just ten goals have been conceded by Hearts this season, which is by far the best record outside of the top three. Hearts can also boast five clean sheets from their last seven games in the league, with new faces such as Brownlie and Sampson becoming a brick wall against the opposition's attack.
Many of the players are now getting recognition for their performances this season, with midfielder Rebecca McAllister becoming the first Hearts player to be capped by Scotland earlier in the month. The 19-year-old has been on fine form for Hearts this season, scoring a beautiful winning goal against Motherwell late last month. Olid wasn’t surprised by the player’s inclusion as she Hearts and Scotland play a similar style which allows McAllister to thrive.
“I like [McAllister] so much because she fits so well with our style of play,” she explained. “She is a technical player and she wants to have possession of the ball and for that she is a good player. I think Pedro [Martinez Losa] has a similar idea to try and have possession of the ball, it is a player that he must have thought would be good for Scotland.”
Hearts will be hoping to continue their form into the Edinburgh derby on Sunday. With nearly 10,000 tickets secured, a record crowd is expected at Easter Road, where the Capital Cup will also be up for grabs for the first time. Kick-off is at 4.10pm.