Josh Ginnelly has been taking tips from Kyogo Furuhashi – now he’s determined to turn them against Celtic.

The 25-year-old pitched up at Tynecastle three years ago as a winger, now he’s partnering Lawrence Shankland as a central striker. It’s a tough learning curve for any player, but Ginnelly’s double against St Johnstone on Saturday suggested that most coveted of traits – a finisher’s instinct – can be honed and nurtured.

Re-watching his second goal, it becomes obvious he has been loading up clips of Celtic’s poacher-in-chief. As soon as Hearts sprung in behind, Ginnelly darted exactly where Kyogo would have to finish Barrie McKay’s ball across the box.

He will now get to watch the Japan international up close twice in a matter of days when the teams meet in the Premiership on Wednesday, then again on Saturday in a highly-anticipated Scottish Cup quarter-final at Tynecastle.

“There were a couple of time this season where I probably didn’t deal with a situation too well – where I’ve sort of stayed on the penalty spot,” Ginnelly said. “But then I watch other strikers – and the best in the league is probably Kyogo – and he is always in that right position. Look at his goals in last week’s [Viaplay Cup] final – he is always in that area. He’s a great player so I study some of the stuff that he does. And it worked for me on Saturday.

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“It’s not as easy as it looks. I’ve had to adapt my game. I’ve had to look at how Shanks plays and other strikers in our team. I’ve had to mould my game around that, and try to use my pace to try to stretch teams.

 “I just try to be that nuisance, where teams don’t really know where I am until it’s too late. So, I just have to keep learning and keep watching other strikers and hopefully the goals keep coming.

“As a player, it’s what you do [studying other strikers]. I think Shanks will also watch other players in the league, and what they do. It’s not by mistake that these other strikers get into these good positions – it’s something they actually look for.

“Obviously, when you have you have to change your position, you still watch the players at the top. Everyone will do it. Centre-halves will watch certain players.

“Jig and Gordy [coaches Lee McCulloch and Gordon Forrest] do a lot with us – show us clips of other players. Last week we had a meeting about the strikers’ movements, and other little things. So you have to take it all on board and try to put it into your game as quickly as you can.”

Playing alongside Shankland clearly helps, too. Ginnelly’s threat in behind implores opposing defences to drop off, allowing the Hearts captain to float deep into pockets of space, and it’s a dynamic both players are enjoying – as much off the pitch as on it.

“It’s good, but we probably formed our relationship first off the pitch,” Ginnelly explained. “To be honest we absolutely batter each other every day. We are constantly getting on to each other about what we’ve done wrong - if I’ve missed an open goal he will remind me. He’s a brilliant player and we are lucky to have him. Long may it continue.”

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Ginnelly was part of the Hearts side which inflicted defeat on Ange Postecoglou in his first Premiership match back in 2021. It’s fair to say Celtic have come on a little since then – but so have Hearts. Ginnelly is confident they have enough about them these days to spring a surprise over the coming week.

“You have to give [Postecoglou] credit,” Ginnelly insisted. “He’s come to a different country, a different league. I don’t watch them too much, but it’s hard not to hear about the other two when you live in Scotland. He’s done a brilliant job.

“You can see he’s winning cups and some of the players he’s signed are unbelievable, to be honest. But my focus is on us.

“We’ve got to go there on Wednesday and they come here on Saturday. I don’t think they’ll be expecting an easy game, because it definitely won’t be that.”

“I certainly believe the boys in that changing room have more than enough to beat them. We have before.

“Even when we were in the Championship, some would say we should’ve won that game [the 2020 Scottish Cup final] as well. I was guilty of missing two or three chances in that game.

“Ever since I’ve played Celtic there’s obviously been some disappointing games. They’ll probably have a lot of the ball but I think we can go toe-to-toe with them, definitely. We just have to be on our game.”