Csaba Laszlo warns goal hero he's not guaranteed cup spot

HEARTS manager Csaba Laszlo has warned Gordon Smith he is not guaranteed to start Saturday's Active Nation Scottish Cup tie at Aberdeen despite the 18-year-old writing his name into Edinburgh derby folklore.

Smith made a surprise Clydesdale Bank Premier League debut in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Easter Road and ensured it was a day to remember when he opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time. The young striker admitted netting against Hearts' arch-rivals was a dream come true, but Laszlo urged him not to get carried away with his goal.

"The player must not fly too high," he said. "We have another very heavy opponent coming up in Aberdeen and we will wait and see what happens with the team for that game. It was a fantastic goal but he cannot afford to get carried away."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Laszlo has been forced to turn to the likes of Smith as he struggles to convince majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov to sanction the loan signing of an experienced forward.

Smith admits he is benefiting from Laszlo's plight, saying: "He's not got any signings in yet so youngsters have just got to play and it's a good thing. There are a lot of good youngsters at the club. If he gets a new striker, obviously he's got to play him because he's more experienced."

Steven MacLean is Laszlo's top target but the former Rangers forward returned to Plymouth yesterday still none the wiser over his future. Meanwhile, interest in Izale McLeod has cooled over a perceived problem with the Charlton player's knee.

Laszlo will definitely be without Ruben Palazuelos on Saturday following his red-card in the derby after a clash with Hibs defender Darren McCormack, who was also sent off. The offence takes Palazuelos over the SFA's 18-points disciplinary points threshold to double his automatic one-game suspension, meaning he'll also miss the trip to face Rangers on 23 January.