Davis Keillor-Dunn admits the 2-1 defeat marred the full enjoyment of his first senior goal but is confident the Owen Coyle era will prove a prosperous one for Ross County.
The 19-year-old youth academy graduate netted a rapid-fire reply to Hearts’ first-half opener but saw Jambos goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin deny him an equaliser with a superb second-half save.
The Staggies had penalty claims waved away by referee Willie Collum as Hearts ended the day with 10 men after the County youngster’s trickery provoked Connor Randall’s red card for persistent fouling.
Despite the home loss, Keillor-Dunn gave a strong individual display, with the wide midfielder at times drawing some rough treatment from rattled defenders. He said: “Having scored, it would have been unbelievable to have got the win, but that’s football – some decisions don’t go your way, as we saw today.
“Losing puts a down on it but I’m still over the moon to get my goal. On another day, the one the goalkeeper saved goes in, but I’m not too bothered because I know we’ll pick up wins. The new manager has watched us closely in training and he’s buzzing with us, so it’s just about getting in the team and keeping your spot by scoring and creating goals.”
The departure of previous manager Jim McIntyre, who had elevated Keillor-Dunn into the first team, was a concern for the youngster but he has been quickly embraced by Coyle.
He said: “I love him. The manager likes someone who will take on defenders and take more touches. He just asks me to do my thing in the final third and defend as well.
“You’ve always got to worry that the new manager might not fancy you but I just came in and did what I do every day in training – score goals and create goals and take on my man. He liked what he saw.”
Hearts’, and particularly Randall’s, rough treatment of Keillor-Dunn could well become commonplace if Premiership sides identify him as a dangerman, but the County youngster is not fazed.
He added: “As a tricky winger, you know you’re going to get people who want to bring you down and not want you to run at them. But I love all that. If I get fouled it gives me more confidence to go at him again.”