Hearts' Cammy Devlin: 'I get white-line fever but I'm a good bloke off the pitch'
That was back in October and was only the third outing in the Gorgie side for the diminutive Aussie. But, as has been the case in every game he has played, there was no quarter asked or given as he did everything he could to help bag a win and protect the team’s unbeaten run.
Two goals ahead within the first 22 minutes, the 23-year-old was a pest as he popped up all over the pitch like a tenacious little whack-a-mole, closing down space, nipping at heels, pinching possession and keeping things moving in Hearts’ favour.
And, if that omnipresent style of play frustrated his opponents, his tumble for a second half penalty infuriated them, and the cheeky little smile and playful tussling of Callum Slattery’s hair as the Motherwell man argued against the award sent irritation levels soaring.
Although Slattery was fuming at the time, Liam Boyce’ miss from the spot diluted the antagonism and he later dismissed the whole incident as ‘mind games’.
“As long as we get home with three points, that's all I care about,” admitted Devlin, who will renew acquaintances at Fir Park today. “On the pitch, I think I get a bit of white-line fever but I swear I'm a good bloke off the pitch.
“We had a bit of a laugh after the last game and it will be the same this time. It will be a battle, not only with him [Slattery] but with every other player. I'll do my thing and try to get amongst it. Once the game ends, it's fine and I've heard he’s a nice guy.”
While their unbeaten run was eventually ended by Aberdeen, Hearts bounced back well ahead of the international break, thumping Dundee United 5-2. And, while John Souttar and Craig Gordon spent the international break pulling off the kind of heroics that earned them an ovation from their club-mates on their return to Hearts training, several of their colleagues took encouragement from their call-ups, with Devlin just one of those looking to turn consistently high performances for Hearts into international advancements of their own.
“It is just noise at the moment and something I try not to focus on too much because it obviously hasn’t happened yet. But just having my name mentioned along with the Socceroos gives me goosebumps and makes me proud. We just have to keep performing and fingers crossed it will happen.”
Part of Graham Arnold’s Olympic squad, the man who is now national coach was a strong influence in Devlin’s move to Scotland.
“The outlook of someone playing in Europe, in a team that is doing well, is really good and puts my name in amongst it a lot more than if I was playing back home.
“I pulled him to the side to ask him what he thought because he has worked with a lot of people who have already played over here and played for Hearts so I just asked for his advice. I asked as many people as I could and not one person, including Graham Arnold, had a bad word to say. He just encouraged me and that made me more excited about it.”
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