Hearts' Josh Ginnelly reveals the late-night video inspiration behind his striker success against Dundee United

Josh Ginnelly spent Friday night studying clips of his Hearts team-mate Liam Boyce in action. He gleaned further advice from the Northern Irishman in the car en route to Tynecastle on Saturday.

By Barry Anderson
Monday, 8th November 2021, 7:00 am
Josh Ginnelly was one of Hearts' best players against Dundee United.
Josh Ginnelly was one of Hearts' best players against Dundee United.

The diligence paid off. Ginnelly, a winger to trade, performed the centre-forward role like an experienced No.9 in Hearts’ 5-2 victory against Dundee United. His pace caused the visitors endless problems as he declared himself a viable future deputy for the injured Boyce.

“I knew I was going to play that role. On Friday night I was watching all of Boycie’s clips and just trying to take in everything I could. It worked quite well, but there’s still more we need to work on,” said Ginnelly.

“Somebody just watching the game doesn’t pick up on the stuff Boycie does. His intelligence on the pitch is crazy. The movement he makes, he’s always occupying two players, staying out the eyeline of players. That’s why he scores so many goals.

“We came in together on the day. He was giving me little preps and things to do and it worked. I wanted my goal but I’m happy with an assist and the result.”

The Hearts manager Robbie Neilson joked after Saturday’s win that Boyce, with ten goals in 15 games this term, may struggle to get back into the side.

“I’d happily step aside for Boycie, he deserves it. He’s our main striker, he’s a brilliant player and we need him,” said Ginnelly, who considers Boyce the best forward he has played with.

“Boycie is probably number one. From what I’ve seen, he’s got everything. Some people maybe see him as a target man or whatever, but the guy has got everything, top three without a doubt.

“It’s tough [playing as a striker]. As a player you always think, ‘I’d love to be a striker’. You just stand there and score, but it’s so hard. Stopping people switching the ball, pressing, trying to get the team up. It’s tough but I enjoyed it.

“I played striker when I was about eight years old. Obviously coming into a men’s game there’s a lot of different aspects that I need to do for the team. I’m just happy I did a job. There’s going to be times when people are injured but it was a good day all round for the team.”

Since returning from an ankle injury, Ginnelly scored at St Johnstone and won a penalty which Hearts converted at Aberdeen prior to Saturday’s cross for Alex Cochrane’s goal.

“The main thing people look at with me is they know I can go past people,” he said. “Nowadays, football is all about stats. If you don’t score you’re not a good player. You don’t effect the game if you don’t score or assist, so I’m just happy I’ve had three goal involvements in the last three games.”

Ben Woodburn claimed his first two goals in maroon as part of a dynamic front three alongside Ginnelly and Barrie McKay.

“Ben showed his quality. Saturday was probably one of the few days that all three of us will be on the pitch at the same time because Boycie is usually playing,” added Ginnelly. “We all enjoyed it and to a man I thought everyone was brilliant.”

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