Gavin Reilly is desperate for the chance to start alongside Hearts’ man-of-the-moment Juanma Delgado in tonight’s Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Motherwell at Tynecastle.
The former Queen of the South forward has had to be content with a substitute role in both of his new side’s league games this season, with Juanma and Osman Sow the preferred strike pairing in the victories over St Johnstone and Dundee.
The bustling Spaniard has made a particularly eye-catching start to his Hearts career, with three goals in those two games, and Reilly, who hopes to make his first start against Motherwell tonight, believes that he could form a fruitful little-and-large partnership with his fellow summer signing.
“Hopefully, I can be in the starting XI against Motherwell,” said Reilly. “It would be great to get up and play alongside the big man and hopefully he would help me as well.
“It would suit me to play beside him because he’s a big guy who could flick it on for me. He’s quick, but he doesn’t run the channels all the time. I could utilise it if I was to run in behind and he was there holding the ball up. We have a lot of attacking combinations here. We have good strength in depth.”
Reilly admits it has been education watching Juanma go about his business both on the pitch and at Riccarton.
“The big man’s doing brilliant,” he said. “In the game against St Johnstone, he took his chance well. Then he got two against Dundee and the skill for his second was brilliant. You can see in training that he’s got something else.
“It’s hard to judge any player properly in training. It’s not until you get into game situations that you can tell what a player’s like. From seeing the games and also a bit of training, there is definitely something there.
“He’s probably more clever than I’ve been used to. In Scottish football, it’s all guns blazing, everyone chasing the ball, but he’s a wee bit smarter. He knows when it’s the time to press and when it’s not.”
Reilly has been assured by Robbie Neilson that he will get his chance. The head coach intends to make “one or two” changes for tonight’s game against Motherwell at Tynecastle, with Reilly, Billy King, Jordan McGhee and Kevin McHattie among those waiting to make their first league starts.
“When Gavin came on at Dens Park on Saturday he had great energy and work rate,” said Neilson. “He’s what I expected him to be when we brought him in. He’s had to be patient because we’ve got good options up front but his time will come.”