Alex Cochrane makes Hearts next level admission as Rangers point sparks Premiership top spot belief

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Alex Cochrane is still waiting for a winner’s gong five months after helping Royale Union Saint-Gilloise romp to the Belgian second division title.

But the midfielder insists his snub from the Brussels outfit fuels his desire to ensure he doesn’t leave empty-handed from his latest loan deal with Hearts.

Brighton star Cochrane has impressed in the wide left area of Robbie Neilson ’s unbeaten side who can go top of the Premiership for 24 hours at least with victory over Dundee today.

And he’s convinced the quality in the Jambos ranks can see them pushing for silverware when it comes to the trophies being dished out at the business end of the season.

The 21-year-old is loving life at Tynecastle after his year-long loan in Belgium was cruelly curtailed by an ankle ligament injury midway through the campaign.

He’d only made seven appearances for the side which currently sits at the summit of the Belgian top flight.

But Cochrane still reckons he was bumped – and he’s determined to make up for it with the Jambos.

The England U20 international said: “I was part of the Union team that got promotion, which was nice, but unfortunately I didn’t get a winner’s medal.

“I saw a few players who played less minutes than me get one. It might just have been because I was injured and back in England.

“That’s one thing about me: I want success, I want medals and trophies as a team. I’m still young, I still have a long way to go.

“We just have to wait and see how this season goes.

“It’s going to be tough to get there and we have to keep fighting and pushing.”

More gritty performances like the one that snatched a draw at Ibrox last week will help.

Cochrane reckons performing in front of 50,000 against Steven Gerrard’s champions is exactly the type of occasion which will take his game onto the next level and help his long-term goal of breaking into Graham Potter’s plans.

As will coping with the pressure of an expectant Jambos faithful.

He said: “Walking out the tunnel and hearing the roar of the Rangers fans, playing in front of that many people is a great experience and to get the equaliser it was an even better feeling. I feel like we deserved it in the end.

“That’s exactly why I first came up here. Speaking to the gaffer about the games against, Rangers, Celtic and Hibs, how big an occasion they are.

“I saw on Saturday how big an occasion it was and how this team can compete with those teams as well.

“The standard up here is very good. The quality of training is good. There are players in our team who I feel could go down south and play at a high level.

“People always think Scottish football is different to English football but I’ve seen technically very good players in this league, especially here at Hearts.

“Brighton and Hearts play similar formations so this is preparing me for that.

“I’m getting experience of playing in front of crowds, getting used to not being able to hear players, or making mistakes and the crowd getting on your back.

“It’s stuff you need to learn as a young kind and I feel I’m learning in every game. There are still bits of my game I need to improve on and mistakes will happen because it’s part of the game.

“It’s been a lot tighter than what I thought, compared to last year when Rangers and Celtic walked away with the league. It’s been a tough battle, every game I’ve played has been a proper test.

“Last season, without crowds, probably affected the season. Now you go to away games and it’s a lot more hostile. It’s a league where anyone can beat anyone on their day.”

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