Hearts boss has plan for old Bairns mate El Alagui

Farid El Alagui
Farid El Alagui
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The Hearts management team of Robbie Neilson and Stevie Crawford are confident of stifling Farid El Alagui’s threat when Hibs visit Tynecastle tomorrow.

Both coaches worked with the striker at Falkirk and believe their detailed inside knowledge of his game will help nullify his danger.

El Alagui is expected to lead the Hibs forward line on his Edinburgh derby debut after opening his scoring account against Livingston last week.

Neilson rates the French- Moroccan player highly and has fond memories of coaching him at Falkirk alongside Crawford during season 2011/12.

El Alagui scored 18 league goals in 33 appearances that year before moving to Brentford. He joined Hibs on a two-year contract last month and is now the Easter Road club’s main goal threat. He will be closely marked by Hearts centre-backs Alim Ozturk and Danny Wilson tomorrow, and they will get specific instructions from Neilson and Crawford on how to cope with him.

“I was with Farid for about three or four months at Falkirk and he’s a good guy and a good player,” said Neilson. “He did really well at Falkirk and got his move down to Brentford. He had a problem with his knee and got an injury which hindered him down there.

“I think he’s got the ability to go and play down in England. He’s got the goalscoring ability and he’s also got the mentality, plus the physique as well. I think his knee injury caused him problems down there and he’s come back up here to rebuild himself. We know we need to be very careful of him.

“We will try and pass our knowledge on. Stevie has worked with him at Falkirk as well and we know what we’re dealing with.

“It’s not just Farid because Hibs have some good players. They’ve got Stanton, Harris, Handling, Heffernan.

“They’ve brought Matt Kennedy in from Everton who’s got pace and trickery, so we must be at 100 per cent if we’re going to win this game.”