Barrie McKay told ‘you’re next’ as Scotland boss Steve Clarke watches Hearts win

He’s just not scored any himself.

After Cameron Devlin found the net for Hearts’ second, becoming the 18th player at Tynecastle to score this season in Saturday’s win over St Mirren, even Craig Gordon reminded McKay it’s about time he did likewise and joined that list. Not that he hasn’t been playing his part of it already, as his assists tally shows.

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“I’m still waiting for my first goal and, the longer that goes on, the more I’ll probably think about it but as long as I’m setting them up for the others then I won’t worry about it too much ,” McKay admitted.

Alan Power (L) tackles Hearts’ Barrie McKay at SMiSA Stadium, on Saturday. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group)

“The most important thing for me is that I’m influencing games and helping the team. Cammy got his first goal against Saints and even Craig Gordon said to me: ‘You’re next.’

“I’ll keep trying to get into the right positions and I’m sure the goals will come. I’m playing consistently well and I have the assists.

“Having that run of games has built up my fitness and my confidence.”

It’s not just a goal that might be overdue. Steve Clarke was watching in Paisley as Hearts denied Stephen Robinson a debut win as St Mirren manager with some more internationals to come next month.

Scotland National Team Manager Steve Clarke is pictured in the stands during a Cinch Premiership match between St. Mirren and Hearts of Midlothian at SMiSA Stadium, on February 26, in Paisley, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group)

Could McKay be the next from Robbie Neilson’s side to join goalkeeper Gordon and John Souttar in the national team?

“Everyone wants to play for their country and, if it came along, I’d be buzzing about it but I just need to play away with Hearts. It was one of the reasons I came here,” he added.

“The manager told me I had to push for that place and that I could get noticed. The only way that will happen is if I do well consistently.

“If you ask any player, the most important factor is playing regularly and maybe I didn’t get enough games down south. But I’m enjoying my football now and enjoying creating chances for the boys.

Hearts’ Liam Boyce (left) celebrates with Barrie McKay after scoring against Celtic last month. (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group)

“Everyone wants to be the team’s most creative player and that’s something I take pride in. When I first came here it was all about building relationships and now I think I’ve established a really good one with Liam Boyce.

“We create chances for each other and it’s about adding to that.”

A goal would fulfill that, though neither were able to beat Jak Alnwick on inspired form in the home goal with Hearts instead looking to substitute Ellis Simms and Devlin’s maiden strike to return to winning ways after six matches without success.

“After a few defeats, we needed a reaction,” said McKay. “We played well and moved the ball well. We could have had more goals because we had some great chances early on and, not for the first time, their ‘keeper was brilliant against us.

“We have a lot still to play for this season, including the Scottish Cup, but all we’re thinking about at the moment is Aberdeen on Wednesday. That’s the most important one.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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