'Unplayable' Josh Ginnelly gets Hearts pounding ahead of Aberdeen trip

Josh Ginnelly’s outstanding midweek performance for Hearts at St Johnstone led manager Robbie Neilson to label the winger “unplayable”.

By Barry Anderson
Friday, 29th October 2021, 7:00 am
Josh Ginnelly leaves Cammy Devlin to a knee slide after scoring for Hearts at St Johnstone.
Josh Ginnelly leaves Cammy Devlin to a knee slide after scoring for Hearts at St Johnstone.

Blistering pace, dangerous crosses and an equalising goal in the 1-1 draw indicated Ginnelly is back in form after an ankle injury earlier in the season. He is now a strong contender to start Saturday’s match with Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

“I thought he was excellent,” Neilson told the Evening News. “We have a number of players in that position so it’s important they are at it when they come into the team. Then they can drop out and somebody else comes in.

“For players in that position it is difficult to play 90 minutes. Also, they are susceptible to injuries because they are so explosive and people are trying to smash you. So you are going to get injured.

“Gino was here last year and he is a top player. One of the first things I did when he came in was try to get him signed up right away. He’s got pace and movement that is very hard to play against.

“There aren’t a lot of people like him in Scotland and he can be unplayable at times. It’s just getting him fit, getting him into good areas, and getting more goals from him.”

Hearts dominated the second half in Perth without forcing a second goal to earn three points. Neilson explained what must happen in order to find the net more often.

“You are always tinkering away with it. Once we get into that final area, there has to be a wee bit more in there,” he said. “I know what we need to do, it’s just trying to work on it and make sure we get there. We need more support into that striker area when the ball is in certain areas.”

Ginnelly felt he grabbed his opportunity on Wednesday after injury prevented him starting a game since August. “We have to mix it up. Everyone can't have a great game all the time,” he said.

“I've been struggling with something so obviously I've been in and out of the team – coming on 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there. I've trained for the last ten days and I got my opportunity on Wednesday night and I think I took it.

“In the second half we played some really good football and on another day we hit the back of the net. You know how well we've started but it's not because of luck.

“We work hard, we have patterns of play throughout the week and we work on things. We set up right and we played some really good football on Wednesday. The sooner we can turn that into a win, the better.”

Hearts have drawn their last three games 1-1 and remain unbeaten after the first round of Premiership fixtures. “Obviously that's a massive positive, credit to all the boys and everyone involved. We are taking it game by game and not getting carried away,” insisted Ginnelly.

“We are trying to enjoy our game. We played some good football at St Johnstone and on another night we win. It will come.”

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