What now for Harry Cochrane? Former Hearts prodigy speaks on his future and fatherhood with his contract due to expire

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Midfielder pondering his options with Queen of the South deal nearing an end.

Memory still suggests Harry Cochrane isn’t long out of nappies, so it is weird hearing him talk about changing them for his own son. He is 22 now and slightly less baby-faced than the skinny teenager who burst into the Scottish Premiership at Hearts. With a family to provide for, some major decisions lie ahead over the coming weeks.

Cochrane finds himself at another career crossroads two years after leaving Tynecastle Park. His Queen of the South contract is expiring and the craving to step up from League One is obvious. Whether there is an option to do so, and to what level, remains to be seen. The midfielder doesn’t hide ambitions to play at the highest grade.

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Family comes first these days, though. Cochrane’s priorities are his partner and their five-month-old son, Albie. “It’s a massive change and a bit of a shock to the system but I’m getting the hang of it now,” he laughs. “I can't complain because he sleeps for 11 or 12 hours a night. That’s all you can ask for. My missus was good when he got up through the night, she would do that for me. I’ve maybe had it a bit easier than her.

“The thing I notice is, when we lost a game before, I’d go home and spend the whole night thinking about the game. Now, with a wee boy to come home to, it cheers you right up. You have something to smile about. Being a dad has given me something to think about and it really motivates me. I’ve got a family to think of so I need to think about what I’m doing and really go for it.”

By that, he means potentially push up to a bigger club. Staying at Queens would be no disaster but their chances of a League One play-off place are gone for this season. Cochrane’s aspirations are to return to the Premiership if that option arises. Discussions are still to take place with the Queen of the South manager, Marvin Bartley.

“I’m not too sure yet about my future beyond the summer. I’ve still to have the chat with the gaffer for next season,” said the player. “If I’m still at Queens then that will be good for me and I’ll get a few games next year. If not, I’m hoping to look up the leagues and get playing football at a bit of a higher level. Maybe the top five leagues is the ultimate goal but, in the near future, I’d say I’m trying to get back into the Premiership and get games under my belt in that division. Hopefully that can happen. I just need to keep at it and keep working hard.”

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He is open to offers. “My contract is up at the end of May. Definitely, if the right opportunity comes, then I’ll need to have a right think about it. If not, then I’m happy to play my football at Queens again next season.”

Harry Cochrane is pondering his future as his Queen of the South contract nears expiry.Harry Cochrane is pondering his future as his Queen of the South contract nears expiry.
Harry Cochrane is pondering his future as his Queen of the South contract nears expiry.

Cochrane has played 34 times for Queens this term and gained more than a stone in weight since leaving Hearts in summer 2021. Bulking up was always likely to be necessary for one so slender to operate in the third tier of Scottish football. “It is different, a bit more physical games than technical,” he explained. “I’ve been trying to improve that side of my game. Hopefully I can work my way back up because everybody wants to play at the top level. I just sort of see it as a stepping stone.

“You are playing on astroturf most weeks, and probably not the best astros. You are training on astro every day and there is that physical side. I’m not saying it wasn’t physical at the top level with Hearts, but probably the lower down you go, the less time you get on the ball. Since I left Hearts, I think I’ve put on about seven kilograms. I don't know if that’s just me growing, or if it’s my eating or doing the gym a bit more. I feel I’ve put on a wee bit of muscle and you need that in football now. A lot of it is physical and I’m not the quickest, as you know, so I need to try and build my game up in other ways.”

Cochrane spoke publicly during his Tynecastle days about being told to eat better and being sent to bed by his dad at 9.30pm. He graduated from the Riccarton youth academy and quickly established himself as a prodigious midfield talent. A memorable goal at the age of 16 in a 4-0 victory over Celtic remains his career highlight so far. Does he regret not being more strict on himself during those teenage development years?

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“Maybe, aye. I don’t know. When I look back I just think it was my luck,” he said. “Part of it is down to me as well, but in football you do need quite a bit of luck. I had a few injuries at Hearts and a few managers who came in and didn't fancy me. It feels like things just didn’t really go for me. At Queens, since the gaffer was appointed [in January this year], he has given me a chance. I’ve played some of my best football recently so hopefully I can get back to my best and see where it takes me.”

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