Rocket man is a star in the making

ON the evidence of six first-team starts to date, Scott Robinson would put both the Energizer Bunny and Road Runner to shame.

The endurance of the young Hearts striker has characterised the team's recent rejuvenation whilst establishing him as the kind of forward every defender detests. In fact, it is tiring just watching him in action. Robinson never stops, and for that reason it is becoming impossible for Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo to leave him out despite being only 17.

If he were demoted, there may well be a supporter revolt at Tynecastle. And, if fans have taken to this kid quickly, it is because he offers something completely different from his peers – relentless energy and a will to match.

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In a season when the likes of Larry Kingston and Christian Nade have been harangued for lacking appetite – although the Frenchman has at least attempted to address the issue – Robinson is the proverbial breath of fresh air. Chasing lost causes are his speciality.

St Mirren's John Potter and Chris Innes are the latest SPL centre-backs to leave the field gasping for breath after confronting the young livewire.

Saturday at Tynecastle witnessed arguably his finest outing at first-team level and offered evidence that he and Nade possess the fundamentals of a useful strike pairing.

Aberdeen's Charlie Mulgrew, Celtic's Glenn Loovens and Motherwell's Mark Reynolds could all empathise with Potter and Innes. None have got near Robinson once he's set off at pace.

On Saturday he left three opponents trailing in his wake during the second half when embarking on a 50-yard run from his own 18-yard line.

He released the ball to David Templeton inside the St Mirren half for a shot which Paul Gallacher saved.

However, seconds later Robinson was again bearing down on a defender as he pursued a loose ball towards the corner flag knowing he had virtually no chance of retrieving it.

That brief passage of play summed him up. But where does all the energy come from?

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"I've always done that," he laughed. "I've always worked hard, I just want to do well for the team. I'm a team player and I like hard work. I don't know where it comes from. I've always chased things down and run my socks off. Darren Murray (Hearts Under-19 coach] loves his strikers to work hard, so I would say he's been a big influence on me.

"Every long ball that goes up to Christian, I've just got to take that gamble. Hopefully one will fall to you and you can skip through and get a chance at goal. I'm getting to know Christian better and I'm more familiar with how he plays. He likes to hold the ball up and I play off him, so I'm getting used to him more now.

"The fans have been great with me. Every time I chase something down, you always hear a wee shout like 'well done son' or 'keep it goin'. That's been really positive so hopefully my hard work is paying off."

His reward has been a starting berth in six of Hearts' last seven matches, with Laszlo increasingly more willing to expose the club's burgeoning talent to SPL environs.

"I'm definitely growing in confidence with each game," continued Robinson.

"Looking back to the Dundee United game (his first start on 12 December], I never thought I'd have started six games by now. I wasn't expecting it at all so it's been a bit difficult to take everything in. I try to think one game at a time. I'm just happy to play and try my best every game. This season has been a real bonus for me and I'm really enjoying it."

He admits to hankering after his first top-team goal but, equally, is unlikely to lose sleep over the issue. "You just have to do your best in the role you're given. I try to link up with the strikers, hold the ball up and keep things simple. I make sure I work hard and hopefully that's enough. Maybe I'll get a wee goal. It would be brilliant if I did. I don't know if it's going to come but I'm just happy to be in the team and working hard for now.

"Obviously the manager is showing belief in me. You get great confidence from that and I'm thankful for the opportunity. When I speak with him he tells me to work hard, give my best and try to link up with the strikers. He's told me my work rate has been great and that I've to keep it up."

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Realistically, there is little chance of Robinson relenting given that his enthusiasm offers an ideal foil for Nade. "Well, he's massive so obviously he holds the ball up really well," said Robinson. "I'm a different player from him and I can play off him. He's a big guy so I'm the one sniffing in and around him.

"There are other strikers there and you have to know how they play as well because you might be asked to play beside them at some point. You talk to the other strikers in training and you're learning from them all the time.

"Gordon Smith is my good mate. I train with him every day, me and Gogs stick together. I'm delighted for him that he's been involved in the team this season. I'd love to play up front with Gordon (long-term] for Hearts. We are really young just now so it's not going to happen right away, but in the future it would be good.

"For now, I'd love to stay in and around the first team and make sure I'm involved for the rest of the season. If I do start games it's a bonus and I just need to keep working in training."

If Marius Zaliukas and Ismael Bouzid show signs of fatigue as the season progresses, it will most likely be down to chasing Robinson around at Riccarton each day. Batteries are not included with this kid. He doesn't need them.