Hearts B go five unbeaten in the Lowland League and progress is there for all to see
Hearts B made it five matches unbeaten in the Lowland League with a 3-0 defeat of Edinburgh University as manager Steven Naismith hailed the progress of his youngsters.
A Makenzie Kirk brace either side of half-time and a fortuitous Murray Thomas effort was enough to secure all three points at Ferguson Park, against the Students, who sit second from bottom in the table.
Confidence is building and so to is the momentum of the Hearts B side who made a shaky start to the season in what is their first taste of adult football. They currently sit 13th in the table and are looking up the way.
"The first third or half of the season was always going to be a learning curve for a young squad," said Naismith. "We were filling them with all the information and you were just wanting them to grasp it. Very rarely are we just giving up goals that are cheap; we are now at a level where teams need to do well and break us down, or have a really good move to score a goal, rather than us making a bad pass or giving a penalty away.
"We have now become a really good threat going forward. All the way through the season we have scored goals, we have players that score goals and we get good numbers involved in attacks. All round, things have been going really well.
"We have players that are playing with confidence. We are constantly trying to progress and Saturday was another step forward for us. I thought we won comfortably, it could have been many more had we taken our chances.”
With matches coming up against teams around them in the table, Naismith is hopeful they can continue their good run for a while yet.
He continued: “Players play a few games and then think 'I can actually play at this level' which changes their mindset. They also understand the league more and everything isn't a foul like it is in youth football. When somebody is breaking it's not as case of letting them get past you, you need to stop the game. It's not like youth football where you come through an academy and it's all about touches of the ball and ‘we need to play out no matter what’.
"Now are playing in a competitive league, yes we want to dominate the ball, but if a team is going to press you really high and the spaces are in behind, then put it there and use that as your weapon of choice if you like.
"Every one of them has progressed a player. We have regular group and individual meetings in terms of where the players are developing, and there is not one that has went back the way or struggled at this level, which is good for us as a club. As a club, we are definitely better off having this structure in place for youth players than previous structures.
"We have a good chunk of games coming up, it's probably the longest block of games that we will have and we have rearranged games to come into it; it's a busy time but that's good for the players because it's constant games to try and keep this momentum going."