Football - Bonds in Hearts squad please McKay

Hearts defender Brad McKay believes the fresh-faced Tynecastle squad's familiarity with each other can breed success.

PA Sport
Football - Bonds in Hearts squad please McKay
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Brad McKay is relishing the opportunity to play first-team football

Centre-half McKay, 20, has been given the responsibility of replacing former defensive linchpins Andy Webster and Marius Zaliukas after the pair quit the club following its descent into administration.

The financial crisis has left boss Gary Locke to work with just three players older than the squad average age of 22 - goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald and midfielders Jamie Hamill and Ryan Stevenson.

But McKay believes the bond among the youngsters in the Gorgie squad formed during their formative years can help them overcome the 15-point penalty they were handed for breaching Scottish Premiership insolvency rules.

He said: "The fact we have trained and come through together for a good few years now really adds to the bond in the team.

"There's not many of the boys who have come in late so we've been together for three or four years - some of them have been here even longer.

"It's a great feeling playing with all the boys that you know well and with the fans behind us."

Hearts lost 11 members of their squad from last year this summer as administrators BDO took control of the Tynecastle purse strings.

But McKay is just grateful that those leaving gave him the chance to play for the first team.

"I feel fortunate to have been given my chance at such a young age," he said. "I've said this to a couple of my mates and family members, it takes a bit of luck to get your chance.

"It might be injuries or in my case, I've needed a bit more luck because Hearts are a big club. I've needed people to lose their job for me to get my chance.

"But I'm a big Hearts fan and I'll take my chance any way, any how.

"With all the young boys being in the squad, it is helpful that I'm not the only youngster. I'm not the only one with all the eyes on me. Everyone is looking out for each other, as the fans are.

"A lot of people have doubted Hearts because we are so young and the situation we are in.

"But I think we have done great so far and the fans have been absolutely magnificent. Home and away. The away games feel like a home game because they are out-singing the home support.

"I'm a big believer than they can be a 12th man for us. Last season, there wasn't so many fans and it was all doom and gloom. This season it is all sell-outs and eight of 10 people I speak say yeah they are going to the game or they know someone who is going.

"There is a lot of people turning up to see Hearts and they are paying a lot of good money to see Hearts and to get us over the line in away games is important."

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