Impressive Shay Logan on being 'over the moon' at Hearts, no Aberdeen bitterness and Josh Ginnelly banter
New signings are usually met with a mixture of excitement and intrigue. When Shay Logan arrived at Hearts last month, however, there wasn’t much of a fanfare.
The club had just lost back-to-back games against Brora Rangers in the Scottish Cup and Queen of the South in the Championship. Fans had been protesting outside Tynecastle Park prior to the latter fixture, unhappy with the direction of the club under owner Ann Budge and manager Robbie Neilson.
One of the complaints levelled at hierarchy was the lack of game-time for youngsters this season. No player under the age of 20 has played a minute in the league.
Supporters were therefore less than impressed when the club brought in a 33-year-old right-back on loan rather than recall Cammy Logan, currently with Cove Rangers, for the final five games of the season.
This wasn’t a slight against Shay Logan After all, this is a player who has amassed nearly 300 games in Scottish football, the majority in the Scottish Premiership and has consistently been one of the best full-backs in the top-flight across his seven and a half seasons at Pittodrie.
This was a slight against the bigger picture but any unrest amongst the support wasn’t on Logan’s radar.
Where Hearts should be
“I really wasn’t aware of it because at the end of the day it was hard how Hearts came down last year with the pandemic and stuff like that,” he told the Evening News.
"I know they were bottom at the time the league was scrapped, they were still in there to do it [avoid relegation].
"For me it is hard but No.1 thing for the season is win the league and get back up. For Hearts Football Club it is exactly where they want and should be at this moment in time.
"Listen, let’s not beat about the bush, getting beat by Brora is a really bad result. A result which shouldn’t happen. In cup football that happens. It is one of those, you build on it and do everything for it to not happen again.”
In 180 minutes of playing in the maroon jersey, Logan has helped the team keep back-to-back clean sheets, secure their return to the Premiership and has not put a foot wrong, impressing supporters.
In addition, as well as his extrovert qualities being added to the dressing room, bringing greater personality and character, his experience of being a part of a team who have consistently finished in the upper echelons of the Scottish Premiership can not be underlooked.
That’s shown on the field. He has, across two games, in two different positions, been solid, safe and sound.
Getting the legs back
“It’s great to be back playing, I’m really enjoying it,” he said. “Two 90 minutes under my belt in the space of a week now. My body is starting to feel how it used because I have not been playing for such a long time.
“I’ve not been playing but I’ve been training every single day so I’ve not been without fitness or training but obviously any footballer will tell you game time is so different and hard to replicate and get in training.
"After the game against Dunfermline I felt my legs and thought ‘you know what, they’re not as bad as I thought they were going to be’. This game felt a little bit different because I was playing in a different position.
"Even though I can play wing-back, my out-and-out position is right-back. I feel so much at home when I play at right-back but the legs are back.”
He added: “I think anyone who knows me, I’m quite outspoken, I’ll just crack a joke with anyone and just see where it gets to. I’ve always been that sort of person.
"The lads here are pretty easy to deal with to be honest. Josh Ginnelly is quite funny, I have a bit of banter with him. But everyone is sound, everyone is safe. We get on well.”
Ironically, one of the reasons Logan finds himself at Tynecastle was due to Aberdeen’s switch in formation, going to a back three with wing-backs rather than a flat four. Yet, against Alloa on Friday night he impressed in the wing-back role, constantly making runs to support, having a role in the fifth goal and finishing the match with the most crosses (six) and the best success rate (67 per cent).
“It is sort of a selfless role out there because sometimes you are making runs but you are not making them for yourself, you’re making them for other people,” Logan said. “You just have to understand that.
"I’m a full-back but if the gaffer put me in there I’m just happy to be playing football. I can do the job out there, I do enjoy it but it’s one of them you’re making runs so someone else can get the ball. For me it is a team game."
‘Over the moon’
Logan holds no bitterness against the way things transpired at his parent club with his contract set to expire at Aberdeen come the end of the season. He is simply happy to have experienced what he has at Pittodrie and now delighted to be at Hearts.
“I just got to the point where there was nothing I could have done,” he said.
"I was training well, I was in every day, I never missed a training session. I think they just wanted to go a different way, whether it was playing young players or playing the system we played against Alloa.
"The three at the back they played three centre halves and the wing-backs they played wingers. That’s just the way they played.
"It just got to the point where enough was enough and there was nothing I could have done but I’m not bitter.
"I’ve had a great time at Aberdeen. I know things come to an end. It was a great opportunity to come here and I’m absolutely over the moon.”