The Czech Republic striker made his long-awaited Hearts debut in Sunday’s 1-0 Scottish Cup win over Livingston. Smith reckons Vanecek has already started to show what he can do after being given a taste of what to expect from the Livingston centre-backs.
“Dave took a while to get going,” he said. “He took a few whacks in the back early doors that probably woke him up a bit. Second half I thought he was brilliant.”
Smith is itching to give Vanecek something to feed off after the striker was presented with few opportunities to score at the weekend. Vanecek did manage an assist himself, setting up Sean Clare for the game’s winner shortly after half-time.
Now Smith, whose crossing has been a feature of his game since arriving at Tynecastle originally as a left-back, hopes to step up to the mark for him.
“The attributes he has, he is going to be really good in this league,” said Smith. “I think he will score a lot of goals. Hopefully if my crossing gets a little better I might get a few assists for him. What he’s shown in training I think he is going to be a big hit.
“They will make us stronger,” added Smith, with reference also to Conor Shaugnessy, a new loan signing from Leeds United who settled in comfortably at right-back. “With the lads coming back like John Souttar and Uche (Ikpeazu) not far away, it will be a really strong squad.”
Smith is delighted to have secured his own future at the club. The former Peterbrough United player signed a new deal at Hearts until 2021 last week.
“I had a lot of messages from people saying ‘when are you signing, when are you signing’ and that,” he said. “It was pleasing. We had it done for a while, it was just a matter of getting round to signing the actual papers. I am really happy here. I enjoy playing here, playing in front of these fans, the facilities, the stadium, it’s all second to none. I definitely wanted to stay.”