Date: 21st June 2007 at 5:53pm
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It seems that Hearts’ wayward Chilean striker Mauricio Pinilla is back at the club and set to be in the fold for the new season.

Pinilla, who has only played in a handful of games for the club, has looked like a player with genuine ability whenever I’ve seen him. He would appear to be quick, skilful and have a decent
eye for goal and you would hope with a good run in the team under his belt, he could blossom into a real star for Hearts.

But like so many gifted footballers (and I’m using this description loosely as we haven’t yet seen him prove this consistently), he does appear to have personal issues that get in the way of his
career. This may explain the fact that Hearts loaned him back to Chile, even despite the fact that he was already on loan to them from Sporting Lisbon! In fact, am I incorrect in saying that he’s actually still a registered Inter Milan player? So in that case we loaned out a player who is already on loan at our club, from a club who also have him on loan! Confused?!

A combination of reasons for his absence from the Hearts team have been suggested in the press, ranging from not being mentally attuned (does that mean he can’t be ersed?!) to going out on the sauce a bit too often. It’s also been reported that he’s had personality clashes with several key people at Tynecastle since his stay there and feels that he was mis-managed during the time when he was fully fit and in the first team squad. In this latter case he definitely has a point, as I remember being at a couple of matches where he was one of our best, if not our best player and he was substituted after something like an hour’s play…….and in games that we badly needed a goal (Sparta Prague being the best example). But then this was during Valdas Ivanauskas’ time in charge, when his personal challenge on a weekly basis would appear to have been to make exponentially more bizarre substitutions than he did in the previous match. I would say that this was one of the few things that Valdas got spot on as Hearts Head Coach!

I really hope that we do keep Pinilla and that we at least get the chance to see what the guy can really do. One of Hearts’ main problems last season was scoring goals, so this guy could quite easily give us the sort of qualities that we’ve been missing. Fingers crossed.