Gary Mackay: Why this could be Ryotaro Meshino’s big weekend at Hearts
One thing I really want to see this Saturday at Tynecastle is Ryotaro Meshino playing in a free role with a licence to create as much havoc as possible.
Like most supporters, I’ve really enjoyed seeing the potential he has since he arrived at Hearts. He has shown his undoubted ability in flashes, but this could be his weekend.
On a slippy and wet pitch, I think the Japanese player could be very important. You want to see him driving at people, creating things and having an extra impact which could inspire a win against Kilmarnock.
From what I’ve seen of them, they look like a big, strong and physical team under the new manager, Angelo Alessio. I think Meshino’s ability could be the difference.
He is the sort of player you just need to allow to play. I don’t know if Hearts will ever be structured in such a way that they can give one player licence to go and influence a game in the opposition half in the areas he thinks are best. Sometimes you need to give individuals that judgment and let them flourish to see what happens.
It’s like the old-fashioned wingers we used to see in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. There are very few of them in the game now, which is a shame, but they were such important players.
You lived with the fact that they would maybe put in one good cross out of ten, but that one good cross was the one which got you the winning goals.
It’s probably the same with Meshino. You have to concentrate on the positives and leave the rest. I hope he is let loose on Kilmarnock and told to go at them. If he loses the ball in the opposition half then he has been attempting to hurt them. If he loses it in your own half, then he is in the wrong area to begin with.
Hearts need Meshino in the final third, where he is able to pick pockets of space to influence the game positively. He has got a lot of talent so you should let him have his head. Manchester City clearly think enough of him to sign him so let’s see his full potential.
Jamie Walker and Steven Naismith have been out injured and they have been missed in the forward areas. Those two have given Hearts the spark in the recent past. With them out injured, we are looking for a spark from someone else.
You recall the kind of impact Rudi Skacel had, or a Colin Cameron. They made such a difference in and around the opposition’s penalty box. Ultimately, they became huge Hearts heroes because of that ability.
Now, I’m not suggesting Meshino is on the same level as those two. However, in the current squad, we have enough good, solid and workmanlike professionals to allow a flair player like Meshino licence to affect a game and threaten the opposition at every opportunity.
I look forward to seeing what kind of an impression the wee man can make against Kilmarnock.