Aaron McEneff eyes Hearts starting spot after Scottish Cup heroics against St Mirren

Aaron McEneff is eyeing a starting spot for Hearts after his Scottish Cup heroics over the weekend.

The Irish midfielder scored with his first touch just 27 seconds after entering the fray against St Mirren at Tynecastle.

With the hosts having just given up a two-goal lead, McEneff put them back in front when he took a knee into the net for 3-2.

And the 26-year-old turned provider for the fourth, swinging in a near post cross which Ellis Simms converted to book Hearts’ place in the last four.

The former Shamrock Rovers man has found opportunities hard to come by this season but has issued a timely reminder of what he brings to the table as the end of the season nears.

And he pulled it off despite being played out of position.

Hearts’ Aaron McEneff scores to make it 3-2 in a Scottish Cup game against St Mirren

“Obviously I came on the right,” McEneff said.

“We work to get into the pockets when centre-backs are on the ball. I did a double move, Halks [Craig Halkett] played the ball and I kind of followed the pass into the box and the ball just hit my knee and went into the net.

“It’s just one of those things. What a feeling. You are on the field and you have scored. I’m just happy that I was able to help the team qualify for the semi-finals.

“Honestly I don’t know if I really meant it, I would need to look back to see if I adjusted my body or anything, but from what I remember he touched the knee while I was on my stride and walked in. Couldn’t believe it.

“I scored after a minute or two for Shamrock Rovers, it was a cup semi-final too. Not like that though. The manager just said be positive and take the ball. Try to influence the game, but the last thing he said was enjoy it.”

McEenff also came off the bench to score against Dundee United earlier in the season.

While no one wants to be branded a ‘super sub’, finding the target can’t hurt their chances of breaking into the starting XI.

He added: “When I get on the pitch I try to influence the game, I like to score goals. It doesn’t matter how they leave, as long as they do.

It would be understandable to assume that McEneff might be unhappy at Edinburgh due to his lack of playing time.

But he’s certainly saying the right things as he tries to get more minutes on the grass.

“All I can do is keep my head down and work hard in training,” he said. “The boys have done well all year. I’ve said many times before that when I’m called, I’ll do my best to make sure I’m ready.

With a Scottish Cup semi-final to be expected in a month, McEneff has a huge game to aim for.

He added: “It’s obviously a huge game. I will continue to train well and give myself the best chance.

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