IT is perhaps the expectation that came with Gurang Kuol’s reputation that has lent his time on loan at Hearts a hue of disappointment. The Australian international was met with high hopes upon his arrival in Scotland, but his impact hasn’t quite measured up to that initial excitement.

In fact, the 18-year-old hasn’t only struggled to hit the back of the net, he has struggled just to get onto the pitch on a regular basis, but the headstrong youngster is sure that he will look back upon his time in Edinburgh as a success despite that lack of game time.

He finally did get the goal that his hard work behind the scenes and his endeavour for Hearts has merited, as he hit a last-gasp equaliser against Rangers at Ibrox on Wednesday night. And while that is something tangible to take from his time at Tynecastle, the most important thing in his book is that he will report back to Newcastle United in the summer as a better player for the overall experience.

READ MORE: Rangers 2 Hearts 2: A night of fond farewells at Ibrox

“People look at the game time as a negative, and obviously it’s not ideal, but at the end of the day what I am doing in training every day, that is what makes me a better player,” Kuol said.

“A lot of people look past that, and look at the game time, and they make it a whole negative story.

“But I’m very happy that I came here. I’ve met some wonderful people, good coaches, and hopefully I can keep developing.

“The lads have been really good. They are like brothers, they are a very good tight group, which ultimately made it easier to fit in.”

Still, as Kuol admits, it was good to get the monkey off his back by scoring his first goal in British football at Ibrox. When asked what was going through his mind as the ball hit the net, he said: “Finally! It’s obviously been a tough period, and just to get that goal was a sigh of relief. It was a good moment. Hopefully it’s the first of many.

“It just shows that if you persevere it pays off, with the hard work I’ve been doing behind the scenes on the training pitch every day.

“That is just a fruit of the hard work.”

READ MORE: Steven Naismith admits Hearts sympathy for Garang Kuol

Kuol’s goal ultimately wasn’t enough for Hearts to stay on the coattails of Aberdeen in the race for third place, but they go into the final day with plenty still to play for. Not only do they host city rivals Hibernian, but they must avoid defeat to hang onto fourth position, something Kuol is confident they can do.

“Of course,” he said. “I think we’ve beaten them two out of three times this season, and there have been some convincing wins.

“Obviously it’s the last game of the season, a derby, it’s going to be a tough match.

“But the boys are ready, we are focused, and we are going to go out all guns blazing.

“I feel the boys have worked hard. Tough periods come by, and to be in the position we are in now, I think it shows the perseverance that the boys have, especially since Naisy [manager Steven Naismith] has come in.

“He has got us working, and to finish fourth, I think the boys can hold their heads high.”