Hearts youngster Scott knows his work is only just beginning

SCOTT ROBINSON will have played just 60 seconds of first-team action for Hearts by the time the season draws to a close, managing only a solitary touch of the ball – but the youngster couldn't be happier.

At 16 years, one month and 14 days old, the striker's appearance as a late substitute against Inverness Caley Thistle at the weekend ensured him a place in the club's history books as the youngest player ever to appear for the first team.

But he will be denied the opportunity to build on that fleeting run-out in the Jambos final three remaining matches of the season as he jetted out to Turkey yesterday as part of the Scotland under-17 squad that is competing in the European Championship finals.

Robinson is far from disappointed, however, admitting that his progression into the first team at Tynecastle has come at least a couple of seasons before he could ever have imagined it would.

Without even so much as a reserve team outing under his belt the Edinburgh-born teenager, who only this season was promoted from the club's under-17 squad into the under-19 set-up, is still having to pinch himself to ensure he isn't dreaming.

And he revealed that, even though he won't kick another ball for Stephen Frail's top team this term, he couldn't have asked for more in his first season as a professional.

"I went into the club on Friday for my normal sprint test and my under-19 coach Darren Murray asked me if I would be OK to train with the first team," Robinson explained.

"I jumped at the chance and was really delighted. Then the next day when we were having the pre-match meal I was told I was on the bench which was an amazing feeling.

"I'd read the manager saying a few weeks ago that some of the younger players might be getting a chance, but I never thought for a second that I'd be one of them.

"I thought it would be some of the guys older than me. I haven't even had a reserve game yet so to be named on the bench was unbelievable."

Robinson replaced Gary Glen, the scorer of the only goal of the game against Caley, in the final minute of the clash and was given a tremendous ovation by the Gorgie faithful.

And, although his debut was over in the blink of an eye, the former Boroughmuir High school pupil admitted it was something he'll never forget.

"The supporters were brilliant with me," he said.

"I've never been so nervous in all my life, but they helped settle me down a bit. Some of them were shouting my name, and when I was warming up a few of them were asking for my autograph. It was all a bit strange, but I enjoyed all of it.

"I could hear things like 'go on the wee man', and it's nice to know that people that are there watching the game are willing you to do well.

"My family were all there to watch me play – my mum, my brother, my sister and my grandad – and I think they were just as delighted as I was to see me run on.

"All my friends have been speaking about it and running my name through the internet to read all about it, so it and it's strange all the attention I've been getting.

"My mum has been buying all the papers and is keeping them as a souvenir I think! It has all been a great experience for me." His debut saw Robinson replace Alan Redpath as the youngest player to have represented Hearts.

But, if there was any chance of Robinson, who comes across as a level-headed youngster with his feet firmly on the ground, thinking he had hit the big-time he need only look to the player he replaced in Tynecastle folklore.

Redpath only went on to make one further appearance for the Jambos before failing to make the grade, and Robinson is well aware he still has plenty of work to do. He said: "There's nothing I can do about being the youngest player so I can't let the pressure get to me.

"I suppose it's a bit of a bonus being in the record books for it, but it's not something that I can influence," he said.

"The kit man had told me before the game that if I got on I'd most likely be the youngest player to have played for the club, but once I was on I wasn't thinking about that.

"I know that once all the first team boys are back that I won't be around the first team and that's fine as I'm still a young lad.

"I didn't expect to be anywhere near the first team next season let alone this season and even if I get a few minutes as a sub again next season that would be great.

"I know I have plenty to do – I'm still cleaning boots and cleaning footballs so I won't be getting big-headed.

"Everyone has to start somewhere and for me to get my start this early has been great. Now I'm just going to keep training hard and doing my best and we'll see where that takes me."

For the moment Robinson's skills have taken him to Turkey where he joins fellow Hearts youngsters Michael Deland and Daniel Thomson in the Scotland squad for the European Championships.

Ross Mathie's boys kick off their competition against Serbia this Sunday before clashes with hosts Turkey and highly-fancied Holland.

With two teams qualifying from the group, Robinson is desperate to cap what is already a season he'll never forget by helping Scotland to the latter stages of the tournament.

"It's a chance to play against the best players in Europe at this age level so it will be a great experience," he said.

"It's a big honour to play for your country and for me it's great because I'm still eligible for the under-16s so it's fantastic to be in the older age group.

"It would be great to be involved in these games as I think the tournament is a pretty big deal. We have some good players and hopefully we can do well in the tournament."