“Osman is the most gangly guy you will ever meet in your life,” said Paterson. “You saw him in the game: he’s a big tall guy and he wears short shorts. He’s got the longest legs and the longest arms and what he can do with them is ridiculous.”
The telescopic limbs certainly came in useful for Sow’s clinching goal in the second half after Hearts had had Blazej Augustyn sent off. There was some miscontrol of Jamie Walker’s cross but the Swede was able to keep Ross County goalkeeper Gary Woods at arm’s length – this being a considerable distance – while he retrieved the situation and trundled his shot home.
“That showed you what he can do,” added Paterson, who netted a thumping right-foot shot after 15 minutes. “His feet are unbelievable and he’s also great in the air. He’s strong as well and has every attribute you need.
“At training he doesn’t let up on anybody. Even if you’re injured he still plays on. He scores his goals and he does his tricks. He’s a fancy player. If he carries on like this, who knows what the future holds for him?”
Paterson grinned as he claimed he hit goals like his opener all the time on the training pitch. “A good one,” he agreed. “It was a bit flukey the way the ball fell to me but I was able to put it in the back of the net.”
Hearts’ ability to defend the lead Paterson had given them – after Augustyn was dismissed for his last-man block of Liam Boyce – was down to good preparation. When Paterson was sent off against Hamilton Accies, manager Robbie Neilson got into trouble for suggesting they’d anticipated such a scenario involving Willie Collum and had trained for the game with ten men.
“It’s what we do,” said Paterson. “It’s not anything against anyone personally but we do actually practise with ten men. You can even go down to nine men and you have to practise. It was proved today. We showed good defensive structure. We didn’t concede a goal afterwards and we managed to create a few chances ourselves.”
The victory strengthened Hearts’ hold of third spot and sets them up for Wednesday’s League Cup quarter-final at Tynecastle against Celtic. “We can beat them, you never know what could happen,” Paterson said. “Celtic have got a great bunch of players who can do anything. They’ve got a massive squad, can pick and choose who they want, and it’s full of international, world-class players who’ve been at the highest level in the Europa League, Champions League and World Cups. But we’ve got a great bunch of guys as well and we’ll try to do a job against them.”
Hearts’ win was straightforward but, forced to play almost the entire second half one man down, it surely shouldn’t have been. “Both clubs have done well this season and this was a great chance for us to go third but we didn’t show up,” said Boyce.
County have the opportunity to make amends in their League Cup tie against Inverness Caley Thistle tomorrow. “It’s a massive game and we’re really looking forward to it,” the striker added.