Ross County manager Owen Coyle feels his Hearts counterpart Craig Levein is leading the way in handing young Scottish players their first-team chance.
Former Scotland manager Levein, who was already director of football at Tynecastle, took up a second stint as Jambos boss when he replaced Ian Cathro in August.
Levein has overseen a fine run of just one defeat from 15 matches and at the heart of the success has been the emergence of teenagers such as Harry Cochrane, Anthony McDonald and Andy Irving.
Coyle has been impressed by the 53-year-old’s impact since returning to the dugout, ahead of tomorrow’s encounter between the two sides at Victoria Park.
Coyle said: “It would have been very easy for Craig just to sit in the director of football role and be comfortable, but he loves the game, loves his club – and all credit to him.
“They have signed some very good players and you see the emergence of the young talent as a well. That’s a huge thing for Hearts and Scottish football. When kids of 16 years of age fit into the Premiership and play very well, Hearts deserve enormous credit for that. Not just Craig, but the whole staff for the work they’re doing behind the scenes.
“We all want good, young Scottish players coming through and Hearts are doing that with good numbers.
“He’s a strong character with very much his own mind as we’ve seen in his playing career and in coaching.
“He is somebody I like and get on very well with but, for the purposes of Saturday, the two of us will be going all out to win for our respective clubs.”
Coyle takes inspiration from Hearts in his own efforts to promote young players at Dingwall, and has been encouraged by the work of academy director Steven Ferguson in reshaping the Staggies’ youth set-up for the Scottish FA’s Project Brave.
Coyle hopes youngsters can follow the lead of winger Davis Keillor-Dunn, who has established himself as a regular, adding: “For many years, with all the clubs I’ve been at, I’ve tried to put a huge emphasis on young players.
“Particularly with the geography of where we are, if we can rear our own young players, that’s a tremendous feeling – and the fans love seeing their own in the team.”