Heckingbottom admitted he knew little of the on-loan Genoa midfielder when he first arrived at Easter Road, but disclosed he’d been impressed from day one by the Under-21 internationalist.
However, the impact the 22-year-old had stepping off the bench in victories over Hamilton, Dundee and St Johnstone – in which he supplied a superb pass for Marc McNulty to clinch a third successive Premiership win to take Hibs into the top half of the table – convinced him he should play from the start in last weekend’s Scottish Cup clash with Celtic.
Heckingbottom said: “I had plenty of time to look at the team and videos, but as Stephane hadn’t featured much, I did not know much about him as we did not start him in the team as it was winning,
“He was someone who on the first day impressed, you saw a quality in him you’d like to work with. He had an impact in every game he had come on so it was only right he has forced his way into the side. That’s what we want, other players to force their way into the side.”