Kenny Anderson determined to make his mark at Hearts
Given the regularity with which he was reduced to a watching brief from the bench – he made just five starts following his January arrival from RKC Waalwijk – the energetic midfielder could be forgiven for pondering the wisdom of his switch to Gorgie.
Instead, he has reported back for pre-season training with a renewed determination to make his mark in Edinburgh and illustrate his worth to the Hearts faithful.
In an even more tangible illustration of his commitment to the cause, he has recently moved into his own flat in the Capital after initially living with his sister following his arrival from the Netherlands.
Speaking from Hearts’ training camp in Ireland prior to this afternoon’s clash with Shelbourne, Anderson said: “I went back to Holland to see my family in the summer as my mum, dad, girlfriend and brother are in Holland. But I have just got my own flat in Edinburgh and it feels very much like home to me now.
“I want to show up well in pre-season and make sure that I work hard to get myself in the team and be ready to play the full season.
“It was more difficult for me because I came in halfway through the season and the team was winning. I wanted to show myself in training but I did not get the chance to do or a lot of game time.
“I signed an 18 month deal as I want to play at this club and I want to show myself to the fans and I think I have the quality to get more game time.
“The Championship title celebrations and the open days and signing days have shown me that Hearts are a big deal and a massive club in Scotland. I never considered looking to go anywhere else.
“That is driving me on; I want the supporters to see the real me and I want to prove to myself that I can play for Hearts. This is a big club with great ambition and I want to be part of that.”
While plenty of players have endured testing starts to their careers at a new club, not many get a medal to show for it. The 23-year-old made his ninth Championship appearance in Hearts’ final Championship game against Rangers last term, helping to inspire a two-goal comeback on the day they lifted the league trophy at Tynecastle.
The outing saw Anderson reach the threshold of featuring in 25 per cent of a club’s league games required to earn a medal. Barring youth football, it was the his first taste of silverware and a trinket he will treasure.
“Overall, it was a great experience last season at Hearts,” he continued. “I got a medal because I played the last game against Rangers at Tynecastle.
“That took me to nine games in total. I did not know about it until a couple of days before the Rangers game and then I was desperate to get those minutes to get a medal! It was a fantastic experience.
“Robbie Neilson told me that I could get a medal and he told me he was hopeful of putting me on. We were 2-0 down when I came on and we managed to get a 2-2 draw so it all worked out brilliantly in the end for me.
“It was my first professional career winners medal.”
It has, however, whetted his appetite for further silverware.
Hearts’ stated goal for the upcoming campaign is to secure a top-six finish in the Ladbrokes Premiership, but Anderson believes the cup competitions could provide another pathway to glory.
They could also hand the Dutch-born midfielder the chance to play at Hampden Park – something he has never managed, despite turning out for Scotland’s under-17s side.
“There is enough quality in this team to surprise people next season,” continued Anderson. “We are aiming for the top six and if we finish higher that will be a bonus.
“But the cup matches are always different and we want to try and do well in those competitions.
“I have never played at Hampden Park before and that would be great to do that.”