Christophe Berra has backed Callumn Morrison to be the next Hearts youngster to create a stir at Tynecastle.
Manager Craig Levein is planning on being not quite so reliant on their youth system as they were last season. But midfielder Morrison has started three of Hearts’ four Betfred Cup games and is in the frame for tomorrow’s league opener at Hamilton Accies.
The 19-year-old spent last season on loan at Stirling Albion in League 2 and, from January, at Brechin City in League 1. He scored ten times for Stirling but along with his team-mates found the going harder at Brechin, where he made ten goalless appearances.
“He has come a bit out of the woodwork,” said Berra. “I am sure the manager obviously noted how well he had done last season. He is something different. Last season we did not really have any pace in the team. This season we definitely have pace. If I was a full-back Callumn would be a bit of a nightmare because he never stops.
“Sometimes it does not always go his way but he works his socks off, he is fast and when he gets the ball he always wants to turn you and get a shot in. But he is only 19, he will have ups and downs. If he just works hard and shows that good character he will have a chance. He has started the season well and he may be in the team on Saturday. If not he has not done his long-term chances any harm.”
“He is a game little guy,” added Berra. “He gets stuck in there and he gets up and down. He is not scared to put tackles in. If he gets hit, he will get back up and go again. It’s something the fans like to see, someone who has come through the system. Hopefully if things go well he can have a good season.”
Berra was blunt when he reflected on last season: not good enough. But there were mitigating factors, including spending the first few months away from the under-development Tynecastle. Levein is in the midst of completing a major overhaul on the playing side and Berra stressed Hearts have no excuses this time around.
“Last season there were a lot of distractions going on off the pitch – Murrayfield, things going at the new stadium, this and that,” said Berra. “But this year everything is settled now. We have a new pitch, which is excellent. The stadium is the majority finished so there are no excuses.
“There is a big turnaround of players so obviously there will be more competition. It is down to us to perform on the match day. We have expectations as a club – we want to get back to European football, get back to cup finals and semi-finals. That’s our target, like it is every season.”