Hearts striker Liam Boyce speaks out on missed chances against Ross County

There is no doubting Liam Boyce’s finishing ability as he approaches a 30-year Hearts goalscoring record.
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Much has been written about the Northern Irishman potentially reaching 20 goals this season fully three decades since that feat was last achieved by a certain John Robertson.

Boyce is currently on 16 from 37 appearances but has rippled the net only twice since January. Two opportunities late on in Saturday’s goalless draw with Ross County should have been converted to raise his tally to 18.

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First, he was thwarted by the visiting goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw after Barrie McKay’s pass put him through for a one-on-one. Then, from Andy Halliday’s through ball, his curled right-footed finish arced wide of Laidlaw’s left post.

“It was just one of those days,” admitted Boyce. “It wasn’t even just the chances. My decision making on the day was poor. I had the chance to play Gino in at one point and even the pass was poor. It was just one of those days. You take it on the chin and move on.

“You want to score goals. I’d be more worried if I wasn’t getting chances, but when you get chances like that you have got to take them.”

He won’t dwell on the disappointment too much. “When I was younger I used to, but once you get home and see your kids it puts everything into perspective. You just move on to the next game.

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“I want to score goals no matter what game I’m playing in. I need to move on quickly though because football does not wait for anyone. It’s week-to-week. One week you’re the reason you didn’t win and then the next week you score the winner in the last minute.

Hearts midfielder Peter Haring and manager Robbie Neilson console Liam Boyce at full time on Saturday.Hearts midfielder Peter Haring and manager Robbie Neilson console Liam Boyce at full time on Saturday.
Hearts midfielder Peter Haring and manager Robbie Neilson console Liam Boyce at full time on Saturday.

“That’s just the way you have to look at it. You have to be prepared to keep getting into those positions and getting those chances.”

A slick pitch due to rain was no excuse, according to Boyce. “I think our pitch is actually really good even when it’s sunny,” he said. “It’s still nice and slick because we like to play football, but obviously the rain adds to it.

“The ball was moving pretty quick. Any pass that was half a yard off was flying out of play. It’s no excuse, though. You change your studs and you deal with it. It’s the same for both teams.”

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Hearts don’t strictly need points having already secured third place in the Premiership, but the draw took County a step nearer European football.

“When you’re at a club like Hearts you need to win every match. You can see the fans expect us to win, they’re not happy we drew 0-0,” admitted Boyce.

“That’s what the manager has drilled into us: You’re at such a big club, you need to win every match and put in a good performance.

“If you don’t, then you will take a bit of flack. That’s just the way it is. We didn’t lose and we just need to move on and make sure we win the next one.”

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Hearts (4-1-4-1): Gordon; Atkinson, Moore, Sibbick, Cochrane; Haring; Ginnelly, Woodburn (Halliday 69), McKay, Mackay-Steven (Simms 69); Boyce.

Ross County (4-2-3-1): Laidlaw; Randall, Watson, Iacovitti, Vokins; Cancola, Tillson; Spittal, Callachan (Samuel 78), Charles-Cook (Hungbo 78); White (Paton 89).

Referee: Steven McLean.

Attendance: 16,699.