Candid Jorge Grant basks in his Hearts first but admits he wants more game-time and reveals Robbie Neilson talks
It was the 28-year-old’s first league start since January and the first time the midfielder has completed a full 90 minutes since he joined the Tynecastle Park club from Peterborough United last summer. He capped it off with an assist and a goal and, on the back of such a performance, hopes to keep his place in the starting XI when the Jambos head along the M8 to take on Celtic in the cinch Premiership on Wednesday night.
Grant knows competition for a spot in Hearts’ midfield is high – Robert Snodgrass, Barrie McKay, Cammy Devlin, Andy Halliday, Orestis Kiomourzoglou and Peter Haring have all played there this season – yet when speaking to the likeable Englishman, you can detect a determination to be a regular starter under Robbie Neilson. A forward-thinking, neat passer of the ball, taking care of possession will be important for Hearts when they do wrestle it off the champions in their own backyard.
"This year has been different for me because at the back end of Peterborough, I wasn't playing as well, then coming up here and not playing again has been a bit difficult for me,” said Grant. “I feel like I've gone through enough in my career to know that you can't just give up and sulk and be like that around the training ground. I feel like you've got to work hard and prove that you're a good player and then you'll get the opportunity. Then try and cement that and get in the team.
Grant and Neilson have spoken about the inconsistency in his selection. "We've had a few chats, but that's normally off the back of him coming to me, man-management and that sort of thing,” revealed Grant. “He said, 'you've got to be patient and when you get the opportunity, you've got to prove to me that you can do the business, that's what will get you in the team'. I've got to keep working hard and hopefully get in the team.
“We have a good squad but I believe in myself that I can impact the team and help it in a good way. it's been frustrating but I've got to keep doing the same thing.”