Tynecastle FC manager Calum Elliot has backed new signing Taylor Hendry to hit the ground running after snapping the striker up from Edinburgh United.
The former Hibs youngster put pen to paper before Christmas with the Meggetland outfit and is set to make his home debut against Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale as part of rivals weekend in the East of Scotland League tomorrow.
Elliot, who played as a striker for Hearts and was manager of Edinburgh United, sees a lot of potential in the 23-year-old and believes he has the ability to be playing at a higher level.
“He will definitely help us,” said Elliot. “He was with me at Edinburgh [United], we signed him from Lothian. He’s a quality player and we know exactly what we are getting.
“He will definitely help the group of players which we’ve got which are possibly needing a bit of quality at the top end of the pitch. When you bring in players of his quality it certainly improves the group.
“He’s a goalscorer, he links play well and he’s deceptively quick. For me, he has possibly been at Edinburgh a little bit too long and it’s probably the right move for him at this time. It might just give him that platform to push himself to get to the level that he should be playing at, because I do believe he has the ability to play at a much higher level. He was at Hibs and Ipswich as a kid and you don’t play at these places if you’ve not got anything about you.”
It’s been a bit stop-start for Elliot since he took over from Chris Scott – now coaching at tomorrow’s rivals Lothian – in November, having been in charge of just two matches so far, both against Dunipace.
Elliot’s main aim is to make Tynecastle more competitive in 2019 and he is confident they aren’t too far away as he looks forward to having a squad to choose from tomorrow.
He continued: “We’ve had two games so far but there’s been kind of two-week breaks between games which hasn’t been ideal. We’ve also had a few boys unavailable but it is what it is – it’s just been basically putting a team out on the pitch.
“It’ll probably be the first time that we’ve had as close to a full squad as possible. It will be the first week I’ve had a selection dilemma. Everybody is looking forward to it, it’s a big game for the club.
“They’ve set the standard for the previous clubs which were in the East of Scotland. We just don’t want to stand still, we’ve got to push forward and be the best we possibly can be.
“The biggest aim is to make us more competitive on the pitch than what they have been in 2018. I think the results will tell you that it’s not been a great year; they’ve not picked up many points off the teams above them and that’s certainly something which has to be the aim going forward because there is a group of players there than can do that. It’s now a case of changing the mentality in the dressing room and making them believe they can do that. I don’t think they are a million miles away from where I want them to be, so we are quietly optimistic about the direction we are heading in.”
Both clubs have toiled so far this season following the influx of Junior clubs into the East of Scotland League, with the two rivals languishing in the bottom five of Conference B.
Lothian boss Raymond Carr is used to seeing his club competing at the top end of the table, and hopes they can turn their season around and get off to the best possible start when they first foot Tynecastle.
He said: “Both teams will be looking to get a result. It will be a case of who is available for us, but I imagine it will be a good game. We’re hoping our second part of the season is going to be better than the start we’ve had. Hopefully we can start the new year in good fashion.”