The 18-year-old Australian patently resents his five months in Scotland being framed in such fashion. But his much vaunted move has hardly turned out as anticipated. The forward, who appeared for his country in the Qatar World Cup, was proclaimed as potentially the most talented player to emerge from his nation in a decade when he headed north of the border a fortnight after signing for Newcastle United from Central Coast Mariners.
Kuol has struggled to live up to that billing. As evidenced by his first goal in the UK only arriving in the 94th minute of his ninth appearance - all bar one by the substitute route, and amounting to 197 minutes in total - that snatched the Tynecastle men a 2-2 draw against Rangers on Wednesday night. His seven minute run-out at Ibrox the first time he had made it off the bench in a month. Yet, he refuses to see his time in Gorgie as unsatisfying. Even if he had one instant reaction when he fired past Allan McGregor.
“Finally,” he said was his first thought when the ball struck the net. “It’s obviously been a tough period, and just to get that goal was a sigh of relief. It just shows perseverance pays off and that is the fruit of hard work. People look at the game time as a negative, and obviously it’s not ideal, but at the end of the day what I am doing in training every day, that is what makes me a better player. A lot of people look past that, and look at the game time, and they make it a whole negative story. But I’m very happy that I came here. I’ve met some wonderful people, good coaches, and hopefully I can keep developing.”
Kuol is confident Hearts can finish the campaign by securing fourth place with a win over Hibs in the Edinburgh derby. “Obviously it’s the last game of the season, a derby, it’s going to be a tough match. But the boys are ready, we are focused, and we are going to go out all guns blazing.”