Hearts: Finlay Pollock handed first start and what it could mean for his future
Robbie Neilson has handed Finlay Pollock his first competitive start for Hearts.
The 17-year-old is one of two changes from the weekend’s 2-0 win over Peterhead for this evening’s Premier Sports Cup clash with Cove Rangers at Tynecastle Park.
Pollock, who made his debut aged 16 against Inverness CT in the Championship last season, impressed off the bench at Balmoor Stadium.
The midfielder was really positive with his play, making probing runs to support the attack.
He, along with Andy Halliday, have replaced Aaron McEneff and Peter Haring.
Back in April, Neilson reckoned Pollock would leave on loan this summer.
"Finlay is a good player,” he said. “He has done well training with us but I still think he’s a wee bit away from getting regular games in the first team.
“He will come in for pre-season and we will probably put him out on loan with a number of other ones. We will look to get him in the team further down the line.”
However, his involvement so far in the League Cup suggests there may be a place for him this season with the first-team. Neilson has spoken about the need to add to his attack and another centre-back could be likely but he has not openly stated the need for another midfielder with the likes of McEneff, Haring, Halliday and Loic Damour having returned to the fold.
Pollock has been heavily involved in pre-season and looks to have taken to the step up with relative ease.
Neilson’s after the win over Peterhead are more cause for encouragement for the teenager.
“We’ll make a couple of changes but nothing major,” he told Hearts TV. I think we’ve got to start bedding the team together and get ready for the start of the league campaign.
“So I’m not one that’s going to make seven or eight changes. I think it’s important that we get a core there that we continue to work with on how we want to play."
Pollock now has the ideal chance to stake a claim for his place amongst the first-team and also impress fans who are returning to the stadium for the first time since March 2020.