How Hearts ace Harry Stone juggled first-team training and studying for advanced highers - and being grateful to Daniel Stendel
Hearts goalkeeper Harry Stone will always be grateful to former boss Daniel Stendel.
The German manager’s spell at Tynecastle may well have been short-lived after his departure last summer, but he played a role in the starlet’s progress at the club.
In January last year, Stendel brought the teenager into the first-team fold on a regular basis.
In doing so, Stone would juggle his final year at school with training.
“It was one of the first training sessions after the winter break,” Stone, who is currently on loan at Albion Rovers, told the Evening News.
"I just got told I was training with the first team one morning. I didn’t do that regularly at that point.
"After training he came up to me, this was while I was still at school doing a half-and-half schedule, and said ‘anytime you are not at school you will train with us now’.
"From then I’ve mostly been involved with the first-team training.
"I’m grateful to him for bringing me up there and massively helpful to be able to train in that environment.”
Stone’s progress has been even more impressive considering his academic success.
The “half-and-half schedule” saw him train with Hearts in the morning before heading to Balerno High School, who worked in conjunction with Hearts as the performance school, to study for two advanced highers, in biology and chemistry.
Some days, however, were more hectic than others. Yet, despite the pandemic, the lockdown and the subsequent uncertainty, Stone aced his classes.
He said: "One day it was biology at 8.30 in the morning, get myself over to training for 10.30 then back over to school for chemistry at 1pm. It worked and got both in.
"The exams got cancelled but I ended up getting As which is the most important thing.
“I enjoyed having these two different areas of my life, different types of work and they balanced each other out.
"It is good to be able to do two things in your life because if one isn’t going so well you’ve always got the other one. It’s helpful for the mind if you have two good things going on in your life.
“It’s not healthy to constantly think about the one thing, you end up overthinking things, getting yourself in a hole if it’s not going well.
"Just being able to go and do something else is massively helpful sometimes.”
‘Manage your head’
Such a mindset will set Stone in good stead to succeed and a hugely beneficial quality in a goalkeeper.
There is a certainty and assurance about the 18-year-old which appears to leave him unfazed.
Watching him keep a clean sheet in Albion Rovers’ 0-0 draw with Cowdenbeath at Cliftonhill during the week, the home side’s commentators enthused about his ability to bounce back if things haven’t quite gone his way.
“It is something that is constantly evolving,” Stone said.
"I’ve made loads of mistakes, I’m still making mistakes in training and stuff. It’s just something you learn to manage in your head.
"If you make a mistake you can’t dwell on it because you will make another one straight after. If you make a mistake give me it again and you won’t make that same mistake, you will learn from them.”