As Scottish Premiership clubs enter the January transfer window, Joel Sked steps in for Craig Fowler to look back at Hearts’ business so far this season and ranks every signing out of ten.
Viktor Noring - 5
Brought in as a back-up to Jack Hamilton. Such has been Hamilton’s form he hasn’t had a look in.
Faycal Rherras - 6
It has been the sublime to the ridiculous for the Moroccan international. He performed admirably against a rejuvenated James Forrest on his league debut, while his moment(s) of the season came within a few days of each other as he cleared the ball off the line four times in two matches. Then the team went to Ibrox where he had a tough afternoon, compounded with the ball bouncing over his head for Rangers’ second goal.
Right-footed playing at left-back he is tigerish, but prone to getting dragged inside and diving into challenges on the ground.
Krystian Nowak - 5
The forgotten man for so long until Ian Cathro drafted him into the side against Dundee, his presence has given the side a flexibility as he drops in to the middle of defence to form a back three if necessary. Composed and safe in possession and not afraid to put his foot in, the early signs suggest the Polish defender/midfielder is a useful addition to the squad.
Robbie Muirhead - 6
The 20-year-old had to bide his time with only fleeting appearances in the opening couple of months of the season. There didn’t seem to be a position available for him. But with Sam Nicholson out injured and the side lacking width, Muirhead got his chance. He stayed on the wing and offered a direct threat, plus a good delivery from set pieces. When the going gets tough he can go missing, but a big talent as shown by his performance and brace against Rangers.
Tony Watt - 4
This should be higher. So much higher. His arrival gave the team much needed impetus with the club bombed out of Europe. He was inventive, energetic and productive playing off a number 9. The ball seemed to stick to his foot as he wriggled away from opponents in tight spaces. His first and last goal for the club was a 90th minute winner against Partick Thistle which further endeared himself to the fans. Then the regression started. He missed good chances, he held on to the ball for too long and eventually became reluctant to shoot in a team whose strikers were misfiring. He began to retreat deeper and deeper, becoming an auxiliary central midfielder at times. His influence waned and he eventually found himself out of the side, on the bench and ultimately out of the club.
Conor Sammon - 2
Without wanting to come across as patronising, this mark is solely for effort. The decision to hand the Irishman a three-year-deal continues to perplex thousands at Tynecastle every other week. On a harrowing night as Hearts fell to Birkirkara in the Europa League he was rewarded with one of the man of the match awards. The announcement led to a mixture of incredulity, laughter and booing. It has only got worse. There has been two goals, a lot of endeavour but little quality as he’s missed good chances, slowed play down and looked cumbersome. Appearances off the bench have been met by a smattering of boos before his nadir. On as a half-time substitute at home to Partick Thistle, frustration continued to build around the stadium with fans quick to show their displeasure at Sammon. A headed flick-on was greeted by loud sarcastic cheers. There’s a long way back to save his Tynecastle career.
Bjorn Johnsen - 7
The one out-and-out success story of a poor summer recruitment drive. Due to contractual issues he joined the team late and it took the American-born-Norwegian time to get up and running with erratic performances. There was a deft back-heeled assist for Sam Nicholson followed by a ‘loose’ performance against St Johnstone. But Hearts fans have taken to him. He has pace, work rate, aerial ability and skill, as well as goals; everything Hearts fans want in a striker. At times he even looks an upgrade on Osman Sow. Their styles are not too dissimilar but Johnsen is more engaged, his gangly legs a nightmare for opponents to defend against. His build up play is cute when players get close to him. Plenty of promise and potential for a large resale value. The ideal signing under the new regime.