'I wish I could play at Hearts every week' - Jason Cummings reacts to Dundee goal as he stakes big claim
There’s always a bit of buzz in the press room when Jason Cummings is put in front of journalists.
At Tynecastle on Saturday evening, the tapes had only just started to whirr when the Dundee striker, fresh from scoring an equaliser against Hearts to earn his team a precious point, came out with the first of many stand-out lines.
"I love it, I wish I could play here every week,” he beamed when asked if he enjoyed bulging the net at the Roseburn end. Cummings loves scoring against Hearts, especially at Tynecastle. He did it for Hibs many times and his glancing header from a Cammy Kerr long throw with seven minutes send the Dundee fans wild and infuriated the Hearts support. They’ve seen the Cummings movie before.
In the Main Stand was Cummings’ dad, a lifelong Hearts fan. “A few of my mates were in there and my old man was in there as well,” the 26-year-old said. “I saw him and there was someone behind him giving me abuse.
"I message him all the time and before the game he just said all the best. He is a Hearts fan as well but he is obviously wanting me to do well, it probably worked it out well for him with a goal for me and a draw, he’ll be buzzing."
Cummings had no problem recalling the goal. “Very surprised,” he quipped at Kerr’s throw making it to him. “I was hoping for someone to flick it on but Cammy Kerr, I don’t know where he has been hiding that long throw. He just launched and it managed to get to me. When the ball hit the net I was just buzzing. I was getting a lot of stick from the fans when I was warming up on that side but I got that last laugh.”
Cummings hasn’t had too many of those recently. He has only started one game for Dundee since August – a 3-1 defeat by St Johnstone – and has fallen behind Leigh Griffiths in the pecking order. Like Cillian Sheridan and Danny Mullen, another two strikers pushing for a place in the starting XI, Cummings has needed to show patience. He has not been helped by catching Covid-19 in that period and getting back to full fitness has been challenging. However, he feels ready to force his way into James McPake’s team.
"I’m always wanting to start and I’m available to start,” added Cummings. “The gaffer picks the team but I’ve been training well and need to keep working hard. Once called upon I will give 100 per cent.
“There is a lot of competition so sometime it’s hard to grumble about not playing. There are a lot of good strikers here and everyone wants to play.”
His performances have caught his manager’s eye, though. “He is a goalscorer, but he has also shown recently a real desire and real character, that maybe people would doubt, when he's not in the team,” said McPake. “He has been brilliant in training. Even before Saturday, he was in contention to start on Wednesday night.
“He has probably been disappointed (not being in the team) because his goal record since he came to Dundee has been good. But he is really bubbly and great to have about.”