THE approach to his game mirrors his mindset in life. On and off the park, Harry Cochrane is aiming to assist others and has personal goals to achieve.

Cochrane has his place in the Hearts history books but refuses to focus on what has come and gone. Now 21-years-old, he has an older and wiser head on young shoulders as he re-establishes himself with Queen of the South.

The midfielder's rise and rise was the stuff of dreams, his goal against Celtic in December 2017 the moment that seemingly sparked a career that was destined to take him to the top. After loan spells with Dunfermline Athletic and Montrose, Cochrane is now laying the foundations for another climb at Palmerston.

A Premier Sports Cup tie with Rangers gives Cochrane a chance to test himself against some of the finest in the country. For those that had perhaps lost track of his career, it could be the evening to remind just why he was so highly regarded during his breakthrough years at Tynecastle.

"There will be people saying ‘what happened to that boy?’ and you know what it is like," Cochrane told Herald and Times Sport. "I just need to go and show people what I can do.

"Maybe some have written me off when I am still only 21. I have still hopefully got a long career ahead of me and this game is one that can pick me back up if I do well and get on the park.

"I am looking forward to it. Obviously it will be a challenge but we have to go there, do our best and see what happens.

"I actually don’t think people realise my age because it was quite a while ago now that I first started playing at Hearts. People maybe think I am a bit older and when they ask my age they are like ‘what?’

"Sometimes people maybe forget that but I can only concentrate on myself and try and work my way back up. When I came to Queen of the South, I thought that was the right place to do that.

"I am playing games, I am in the squad regularly and I can improve myself playing against men every week. I might be one of those that people talk about but the opportunity at Queens is great and it has been good for me. It is just about working my way back up now."

That process began in the summer when Cochrane agreed a two-year deal with Queens as he signed up for their League One campaign under the guidance of boss Willie Gibson.

Few would have predicted how his career would have panned out in recent times. Having lived through the hyperbole, Cochrane knows the here and now is all that really matters.

Cochrane said: "You can always look back and say ‘I wish I had done that, I should have done that’. I just think that I am where I am now and focus on what I need to do to better myself.

"I have a positive head and don’t look into the future. I focus on the present, don’t worry about the past and just try and better myself right now.

"I want to play well for Queens and improve myself. I will keep doing what I am doing and see where it goes.

"When I was at Hearts, one of my coaches, Liam Fox, told me not to get too high or to get too low. When things are good they are good, but when they are bad they can be bad in football.

"I just try and concentrate on the present, don’t get too high or low, and take things as they come."

Cochrane's story acts as an inspiration and a warning to any burgeoning talent aiming to make a name for themselves. The last few months have seen him assist others in that regard as he helps out at coaching classes set up by former team-mate Ally Roy and a move into mentoring appeals to the midfielder.

More pressingly, he knows where he must improve his own game as he seeks to add to his eight appearances for the Doonhamers and make his mark in the final third.

"I need to get forward a bit more when I am playing and contribute more with assists and goals," Cochrane said. "I have maybe lost that a bit over the years and been playing further back and a bit more responsibly, you could call it.

"I am a bit more wary about going forward now. Back when I was younger, I had not a care in the world, I would go and press everything and get forward and didn’t bother with what was behind me.

"I have bit more responsibility now that I am older and it is about balancing that out and getting forward at the right times. I do need to try and contribute more to goals and assists and I am working on it so hopefully it will come soon."

If Cochrane could open his account for the season this evening, it would be his most famous strike since the night that Celtic's 69-game unbeaten domestic run was ended at Tynecastle.

The challenge is a daunting one for Queens but the man who could be at the heart of the action in the middle of the park needs no reminding that upsets can happen and that dreams can come true.

"We are not just going there to sit back and let them go at us, we are not going there to get beat," Cochrane said. "We want to try and get a result out of the game if possible.

"I am looking forward to it. It will be a great experience for us and hopefully we can come away with something.

"If you look at them just now getting into the Champions League and their run last season getting to the final of the Europa League, it shows how good they are. They are probably at their strongest that I have seen them.

"It will be a really tough game, that is obvious to everyone and we know that, but it is about going there and putting in the effort and seeing what we can get out of the game. If we don’t manage it then it will still be a good experience and learning curve for the boys. We are going there positively."