JOHN McGLYNN has no fears whatsoever about naming teenagers Callum Paterson and Kevin McHattie in Hearts’ starting line-up for tomorrow’s opening SPL match because he knows they are two of the most talented kids in the country.
The Tynecastle manager conceded he is surprised at how quickly 17-year-old Paterson and 19-year-old McHattie have settled into first-team life. Both will play from the start against St Johnstone after delivering four impressive displays during Hearts’ pre-season friendlies.
McGlynn will make his home debut as manager tomorrow and is excited at the prospect of seeing two new graduates from the Riccarton youth academy in competitive action.
“Everyone has seen in pre-season friendlies with Callum Paterson and Kevin McHattie that we should be optimistic regarding the younger players. They give us a lot of legs and attacking options in full-back areas,” he told the Evening News.
“They have actually surprised me how well they’ve done. Callum immediately caught the eye in the first game against Raith Rovers, bombing forward and getting the first goal. Kevin has settled into the left-back role really well, has a really good left foot and is a good competitor.
“They have surprised me, although I knew they had talent. It’s a big step up to go and play in Hearts’ first team and they’ve taken it in their stride. They are both very level-headed young men and look like they have a good future.
“Callum finds himself in because Jamie Hamill injured his cruciate. Kevin is in because Danny Grainger had a small operation during the summer and wasn’t available initially. He is also suspended tomorrow, but Danny will come back into consideration fairly quickly. “If players are doing well we want to strike while the iron is hot.
“If it’s more beneficial for them to be playing, then that’s what we would do.
“I think Hearts have always had good young talent.
“Every club thinks they have the best talent and we certainly have a good batch of them, with more to come through.
“A lot of clubs are bringing players through and that will happen more since clubs have less money.
“The more talent coming through, the more it will benefit Craig Levein on the international scene.
“I’m sure he would rather see Callum Patersons, Kevin McHatties, Scott Robinsons and Jason Holts playing because it can only help the national team.
“Out of the 18 players we’ve generally used in the pre-season friendlies, 14 of them have come through the academy system here and that’s a huge pat on the back to the guys who work on the youth development side, like John Murray and Darren Murray.”