Hearts debrief: Alex Cochrane's attacking influence, Kye Rowles denied penalty, the odd midfield pairing

A look back at Saturday’s match at Tynecastle as Hearts got off to a winning start.

By Craig Fowler
Sunday, 31st July 2022, 7:00 am

Player of the match

Two assists, even if one of them was mainly the work of Barrie McKay, made for a productive opening day for Alex Cochrane. His influence on the attack and final delivery were two traits lacking a bit in an otherwise solid 2021/22 season. Any hope he’s ready to take a leap forward would’ve been strengthened by Saturday’s game. In addition to the two goals he had another couple of effective cut-backs which led to scoring chances. Defensively he was his typical steady influence as well.

Defining moment

Lawrence Shankland comes under the attentions of Jack Baldwin during Hearts' 2-1 win over Ross County at Tynecastle Park. Picture: SNS

The opening goal is an obvious candidate, but let’s go for Owura Edwards hitting the bar on 25 minutes. County were fully on top at this point in the match and had already struck the woodwork a couple of minutes prior. The visitors would have known they weren’t going to get it their own way the full 90 minutes and had to make it count when they were in the ascendancy. They didn’t and eventually lost as a result.

Ref watch

David Dickinson missed what looked a very strong penalty shout when Kye Rowles was hauled down at the back post when trying to attack a ball across goal following a corner. He was fine overall, though it wasn’t the hardest of matches to officiate.

Benefit of hindsight

The starting midfield two of Peter Haring and Michael Smith was odd call at the time and looks even more so in retrospect. Cammy Devlin has just gotten over an injury, so it makes sense he didn’t start, but why didn’t Jorge Grant get the nod instead? He proved it was an error after coming on for Nathaniel Atkinson, being Hearts’ most impressive attacking player throughout the match and bringing attacking qualities, like vision, technique and accurate passing, which were lacking before his introduction. The starting XI featured too many defensive-first players in general.

Moment you may have missed

The majority of Hearts fans were already spilling out on to the surrounding streets when Craig Halkett was interviewed by new matchday announcer Graeme Easton over the PA system after full-time. It’ll be interesting if this continues, particularly whether they choose to do it after a defeat.

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