Hearts star Peter Haring on getting a full pre-season, never losing faith and the talent of young Finlay Pollock
There was a point last season where you’d be forgiven for thinking Peter Haring’s Hearts career was coming to an end.
In his comeback season after over a year out through injury, the Austrian was hooked at half-time in an away loss to Dundee and didn’t feature again for two months. Upon his return against the same club he was sent off after just a few minutes. Then, to make matters worse, his next appearance was in the disastrous Scottish Cup defeat to Brora Rangers.
This was quite the fall for a player who, during his initial six months at the club, looked like one of the best midfielders in the Scottish Premiership. The worry was that his pelvic/groin issue had robbed him of too much and it was only a matter of time before manager Robbie Neilson who’d inherited the player from his predecessors, was going to show him the door.
Thankfully for him, and supporters who took the pony-tail sporting pin-up to their hearts, he managed to force himself back into the team towards the end of the Championship campaign and consistently showed the qualities that made him a firm favourite in his debut season.
A couple of months on and it looks like Haring is once again one of the first names down on the Tynecastle team-sheet having been a regular in the pre-season and Premier Sports Cup matches. He even took on the captain’s armband on Saturday in the friendly defeat to Sunderland as one of the few players to play the full 90 minutes. Something which, given how much time he missed, he was more happy to do.
"This pre-season was really important after what happened before,” Haring admitted. “I wanted to come back in really good nick and kick on from there.
"It maybe held me back a little last campaign not having the full pre-season. I can definitely feel now that I'm physically better than I was. I think it's normal after a long injury where you do quite well for a few games and then you fall into a little bit of a hole. That's the hardest time. You've been injured for so long and then you're not doing as well as you'd want, but you just have to get through it.
"I wasn't really concerned, it was more frustration,” he said about his future at the club. “Any player not playing is frustrated. We all want to play. In that time you just need to get your head right, get your focus, work hard and then it's up to the gaffer if he wants to pick you.”
The 28-year-old started the match against Sunderland in the centre of the new 3-4-3 system alongside Finlay Pollock, a player 12 years his junior. Hearts have high hopes for the academy graduate and it’s easy to see why. His partner at the weekend is certainly a big fan.
“I like Finlay a lot. For his age he's really composed. You can see a really big step from the end of last season to now. He's much calmer, more composed. He's a really good footballer. I enjoy playing with him because you can give him the ball in tight spaces. He picks up information really well and he’s got great character as well.”