Hearts manager Robbie Neilson: No-one in Scotland can match Armand Gnanduillet's strength and physique
Gnanduillet played the last 30 minutes as the Edinburgh club beat ten-man Raith Rovers 4-0 at Stark’s Park to move nine points clear at the top of the Championship.
He became the first Hearts player ever to score two goals as a debutant after coming on as substitute.
The Frenchman arrived in Edinburgh on Monday to sign an 18-month contract and Neilson believes he has captured a unique striker.
“I am delighted for the big man,” said the manager. “I knew Armand when I was at MK Dons and we played against him. I knew his physicality, I knew his physique, size and strength and no one else in Scotland has that.
“If you deliver balls into the box he will take opportunities and he proved that.”
Hearts were 2-0 ahead at the interval thanks to goals from Liam Boyce and Euan Henderson, but Raith were reduced to ten men when Regan Hendry was red-carded for a stamp on Andy Halliday.
Gnanduillet replaced Boyce on the hour mark and scored a rebound and a header to complete a convincing 4-0 victory for his new side. It was a considerable turnaround for Hearts following Saturday’s 3-2 defeat by Raith at Tynecastle Park.
“You want to win every game. It wasn’t about responding, it was about making sure we win,” said Neilson.
“Every game, home or away we are favourites in this league and we have to show that. We started the game very well, the best we have for a long time.
“We had numerous chances to score early doors, even after we scored we could have had a couple more. That was probably one of the only downsides to the game. We didn’t really get the goals our play deserved.”
The downside for Hearts was Josh Ginnelly’s enforced substitution in the first half.
“Josh has a hamstring problem and he will have a scan tomorrow but it isn’t as bad as the last one. Fingers crossed it isn’t too bad,” said Neilson.