Exclusive: Alex Cochrane reveals how Hearts improved him as a player after loan move from Brighton

Brighton and Hove Albion’s Alex Cochrane believes he is a much-improved player since joining Hearts on loan.

Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 12:48 pm

The 21-year-old signed a season-long agreement at Tynecastle Park last summer and quickly became an established first-team regular in a team challenging for European qualification.

He has played 22 games to date, predominantly at left wing-back, and scored three goals. Detailing the growth in his game in Scotland, Cochrane spoke exclusively to the Evening News about his rapid development.

“I feel I've got more experience under my belt,” he said. “There are still areas of my game I need to work on but, at the same time, I'm still young. It's stuff I need to improve on in training but I feel I've come on a lot since the start of the season.

Alex Cochrane is enjoying his loan spell at Hearts.

“We're more than halfway through now so I'm still pushing on and hoping for success. I feel I've really come on leaps and bounds with Hearts, especially defensively. It's something I've been working on and I've made sure I've been knuckling down.

“Going forward, I've been getting more freedom into my play and linking up with players. I feel I'm doing that more and more this season.”

His most recent goal came last weekend as he completed the scoring in Hearts’ 5-0 Scottish Cup win at Auchinleck Talbot. Cochrane said recent signing Nathaniel Atkinson deserved all the credit for beating two Auchinleck players to lay the chance on a plate for his fellow wing-back.

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“I just had a feeling he was going to get the better of them,” smiled Cochrane. “I just had to be in front of the goal to get an easy tap-in. He did all the hard work. I had the easy job of putting in the back of the net.

“The cup is massive and we are taking the competition very seriously. We know we are going to have to put in a performance again in the next round. We want a cup run this year.

“The fans definitely feel it. I think every club always wants a good cup run. It's always nice to get that as a player because you can then take those performances into the league. There are plenty positives to getting a good run.”

Tynecastle officials are keen to sign Cochrane permanently if he does not have a future at Brighton. “There has been nothing yet at all. Nothing has been said. All my talking has got to be done on the pitch and then we can go from there,” said the defender.

He will again be a key figure for Hearts against Celtic in tonight’s Premiership meeting at Tynecastle. Cochrane’s league debut was in the 2-1 win against the Glasgow club back in July.

“The last one was a fantastic experience for me. It was unbelievable,” he said. “It was my first proper game in front of fans. Even though it was only 5,000 [due to Covid restrictions] it felt like a lot more. Now I can't wait for Tynecastle to be packed out with a lot more supporters. I'm really looking forward to it.

“We have to make sure we're ready for this game. We have some big games coming up and this is another big one. We have to be right at it if we want to win.”

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