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The wonderful story of Hearts' 16-year-old and his superb performance against Celtic

Harry Cochrane has enjoyed a meteoric rise at Tynecastle.

Image: Ian Rutherford

HARRY COCHRANE ONLY signed professional terms with Hearts in the summer but he was making a senior debut in September.

That’s just how highly-rated he is in Edinburgh.

But as much as there has been plenty of chat about him and other young talents at the club, it was today’s 4-0 victory over Celtic that will assure a new level of curiosity and interest.

Cochrane made his first appearance for Hearts in a 2-1 defeat to Dundee when a litany of injuries prompted a rapid promotion under manager Craig Levein.

Since then, it’s been a remarkable tale. Cochrane’s ascent has provided Hearts’ highly-regarded youngsters with inspiration and others have stepped up too.

Earlier this week – when hosting Dundee – Cochrane was joined in the starting XI by another 16-year-old, Anthony McDonald. 19-year-old Lewis Moore was also involved. And in total, Levein has blooded nine teenagers so far this term.

Cochrane remains top of the class, though.

It was he who put Hearts in front against Brendan Rodgers’ side, keeping his nerve and calmly slotting to the net as Celtic captain Scott Brown desperately tried to make a last-ditch block.

Heart of Midlothian v Celtic - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership - Tynecastle Stadium Source: Ian Rutherford

In advance of the clash, Cochrane spoke of his admiration for the combative Bhoys’ skipper.

“I’ve been watching him since I was a young boy so that would be something special,” he told the Edinburgh News.

“It would be tough but if I manage to play against him it will be brilliant”.

That the skinny, callow Cochrane subsequently got one over on the bruising, veteran Brown in such a high-profile fixture was incredible.

Hearts went on to add a further three goals and deliver an inexplicable victory, ending Celtic’s 69-game unbeaten run.

Cochrane played 90 minutes for the first time and was voted Man of the Match too.

“I was a wee bit nervous before the game but I think I did alright,” he told reporters afterwards.

The warm-up can be a wee bit scary but the more you play the more you forget about the fans and everything.”

Usually, the player voted as Man of the Match receives a magnum of champagne. But, because of his age, Cochrane couldn’t even be presented with it.

After everything he’s been through in the last few months, he probably doesn’t mind too much.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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