Rory Currie’s contribution to the Hearts cause since he broke into the first team last season has seen him recognised as a kid with plenty of potential. Those expectations are something he can live with and he admits that being recognised when he is out and about is also now part of life.
“A few people have recognised me. I guess that getting noticed by people is one of the things you want to happen because it’s a sign you’re doing well,” he said. “But it’s not about that, I just want to be in the team, scoring goals and doing well.”
His first start for the club came at the end of January, in the capital club’s Scottish Cup victory over Raith Rovers. The teenager scored that day and was named man of the match, with fans happy to see endeavour and energy up front.
While the remainder of the campaign was a difficult one for the squad, Currie was one of the few to exit the season with personal plaudits. That has given him a hunger to get going again and he is relishing the chance to make a mark in the League Cup, with this afternoon’s tie at home to East Fife another stage in that process.
“It’s good to be back. I had a couple of weeks off but after being involved with the first team last season you just want to be back playing again,” he added.
“It’s different being in the first team, there is more of a demand to keep in shape and look after yourself more and if you want to maintain your fitness and stay up to the same level as the experienced players you have to put so much work in.
“The difference between being an U20s player and a first-team player is massive. You have to make sacrifices; I don’t see my friends as much now because I’m in training and then after that’s finished you just want to rest for the next day.”
There were 11 appearances in total last term, the majority coming from the substitutes bench, and, having come on as a substitute in the midweek trip to Elgin City, he is aware that he is going to have to fight for greater involvement this season, with summer recruits offering manager Ian Cathro more options.
As well as Cole Stockton and Kyle Lafferty, the head coach still hopesto enlist the services of at least one more forward as he tweaks the line-up and the shape in the hope of making a more positive impact on the league standings and progress to the latter stages of the knockout competitions.
“The manager has brought in a lot of players so there is a lot of competition but it’s a challenge to keep up with them,” said Currie. “Kyle Lafferty is a great player, and I’ve been watching him and trying to pick things up. He’s a good guy but he has that jokey side to him too, which is good in the dressing room because you need people to liven it up.”
That proved difficult last season, as key injuries, wholesale changes and a subsequent dip in form all combined to make life difficult. But with every new season comes renewed hope and the staff and supporters have been expressing greater positivity.
“The dressing-room is better this season, the vibes are better and the team bond is there already,” said the 19-year-old striker. “Last season we were losing too many games, we didn’t do as well as we should have and that brought it down. But we have had a good pre-season and the supporters are excited so there is a good feeling around the place.
“We want to get a win against East Fife to build up momentum. It’s important to win these games. We talked about finishing top of the group then hopefully going all the way in the competition and in the league we just want to win more games than last season and hopefully do well.”