Odel Offiah reveals where his debut Hearts goal ranks compared to his EPL debut for Brighton and Hove Albion
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Odel Offiah ranked his debut Hearts goal above his English Premier League debut after heading the second in Sunday’s 4-0 win against Partick Thistle. The Edinburgh club progressed to the Viaplay Cup quarter-finals with a comfortable victory in which their new loan signing from Brighton and Hove Albion stood out.
Offiah, 20, finalised his season-long move to Hearts on Friday and met Alex Lowry’s corner to put Hearts 2-0 ahead on Sunday. “I’m a very happy man. I'm obviously excited to come here to play and I'm absolutely buzzing to have scored,” he said.
“That's the first header I've scored in football, even when I was growing up or coming up through the academy, so I'm buzzing to get off the mark. I was at the Rosenborg game on Thursday night and the atmosphere was crazy. I couldn't even hear myself at times and it got my juices flowing to want to play in front of those fans and to give them the win that we gave them today.
“I'm a right-back or a right-centre back so obviously I don't score that often, but if I can add goals to my game then that would be brilliant and it will definitely help the team and my career. The coaches have just told me to be versatile and there are a lot of games coming up in Europe, in the league and in the cup so I need to be versatile in the position that I'm asked to play in.”
He could now make his European debut against PAOK in Thursday’s Europa Conference League play-off. “I need to do my best and stick to the system and style of play. I can't wait for Europe and it would be my first European experience, Brighton are involved in that now but this will be a first for me. It's up to the manager. I played 90 minutes against Partick so we will see how much I can contribute on Thursday. If there is an opportunity to play, I would love to because it's Europe.”
Offiah looked up to Alex Cochrane prior to his move from Brighton to Hearts. “I spoke to him before I came up and he just said Hearts is a brilliant club,” said Offiah. “He is a few years older than me so he was someone you were looking at. He was in the first-team picture when I was bout 16, so he is someone you look up to. He's done brilliant since he came here. He said it would suit me to come here.
“I haven't watched a lot of Scottish football but, from what I have seen, Celtic and Rangers play good football. Rangers got to the Europa League final a couple of years back so my thoughts have been good and positive.”
Asked where the debut goal ranks in his list of achievements, Offiah put it above his Premier League debut for Brighton at Nottingham Forest in April. "It's definitely at the top. I've made my Premier League debut but scoring a goal tops that, definitely,” he said.