Hearts legend believes Aaron McEneff has the potential to emulate Paul Hartley

Aaron McEneff in action for Hearts during their Championship victory over Ayr United last week. Photo by Craig Foy / SNS GroupAaron McEneff in action for Hearts during their Championship victory over Ayr United last week. Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group
Aaron McEneff in action for Hearts during their Championship victory over Ayr United last week. Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group

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Hearts newcomer Aaron McEneff has already been compared to a Tynecastle legend, with Colin Cameron insisting the Irishman has the potential to shine as brightly as Paul Hartley.

The 25-year-old playmaker signed from Shamrock Rovers and made his debut for Robbie Neilson in last week’s victory over Ayr United.

Arriving in the capital with some solid references, it was his performance in the final half an hour of that match that gave the 1998 Scottish Cup winner a tantalising taste of just how important a signing he could prove to be.

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“McEneff, when he came on, showed little glimpses of what to expect,” said Cameron, on the latest episode of The Edinburgh Football Show podcast. “Now that I have seen him, it excites me and hopefully, in the not too distant future, he will get a start.

“The closest player he resembles, I think, is Paul Hartley...although you couldn’t put him in the same kind of bracket as Paul Hartley yet, because he has only joined the club. But, potentially, because he is young enough, he could be at the club for a long time and the glimpses we have seen, if he can continue that and get into the team and stamp his authority then there is no reason why he can’t start knocking the goals in and get into that same bracket as Paul Hartley. That is the type of thing he should be aiming for.”

Backing his former team to secure another victory when they face a Queen of the South on Friday evening, Cameron says it is now a case of when, not if Hearts will tie up the Championship title.

“They will go there with confidence and no fears. Queens are suffering a little bit...they are obviously lacking confidence and only have 14 points so they are a massive 22pts behind Hearts and whilst that doesn’t give you the right to the three points, if they go there with the same determination as last week then I think they will win comfortably.

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“Robbie will be absolutely delighted [with how the league is shaping up]. Dunfermline dropped points at the weekend but you see Dunfermline took points off of Raith so everybody is cutting each other's throat and that is only going to mean that Hearts will be able to stretch that gap.

“It is already looking unsurmountable and I have said for a while that I expect them to win the league and everybody is now looking at when. They are looking to see how soon they can win the league.”

But winning the league isn’t the only target the Hearts squad should be aiming for, according to Cameron, as they see out the remainder of the Championship campaign.

“They should be able to go from now until the end of the season unbeaten. Confidence is a big thing and they have already got the best squad in the division and if you add confidence to that and resilience, they shouldn’t be beaten again this season.”

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