HEARTS goal hero Ellis Simms is raring to go in his first Edinburgh derby after getting off the mark for his new side and hailed Everton “hero” Duncan Ferguson’s influence at parent club Everton.

The 21-year-old capped off an excellent first start for the club by netting the second in the 2-0 victory over Motherwell at Tynecastle on Saturday.

After making an immediate impact from the bench against Celtic in midweek, the rangy striker took his place as the focal point in a front three with Liam Boyce and Gary Mackay-Steven.

Despite their third-placed position, running with a smaller squad, the forward area has been one in which Hearts have struggled at times. Liam Boyce has missed matches due to injury, while the likes of Josh Ginnelly were preferred to Armand Gnanduillet in the months leading up to his departure to Le Mans.

While the Everton loanee did provide Hearts with a physical presence when going long, Simms also looked to get into channels and link with team-mates – and doesn’t want his physical presence to give the wrong impression.

“Because of my build people might think I’m a target man, but I like to do the other side of the game, running in behind and running the channels,” said Simms. “So I’m sure they’ll get to know my game in the next few weeks.”

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Coming through the youth ranks at Everton, and being of a similar position, Simms has naturally worked alongside former Dundee United and Rangers striker Ferguson – who in recent times has let his hard exterior slip by posting various philanthropic deeds on social media.

“I get on well with Duncan,” said Simms. “Some people might think he’s not a nice guy, but when you work with him day-to-day, you know that he’s a nice guy that you can speak to about anything, so it’s good to work under him.

“Duncan is a hero at Everton. Obviously he’s in the caretaker manager role now. We do finishing drills and he gives me little tips, but it’s an honour to work with him and learn from him.”

Simms, who was sold on the loan move to Tynecastle after a chat with former Everton midfielder Beni Beningame, has previous experience in Merseyside derbies at under-23 level, and while lining up for Fleetwood versus Blackpool during a loan spell. The striker is now eager for the side to continue its run of form in a charged atmosphere under the lights at Easter Road tomorrow night.

“Scoring today has given me a bit of confidence,” said Simms. “So I’m going into the next game thinking we need to win – and if I can score and help the team to do that then that would be great.”

For Motherwell, while they competed for large spells they failed to take their chances when it mattered. The match would surely have carried a different complexion had Kevin van Veen taken one of two first-half opportunities.

“Over the piece, we didn’t score so we didn’t do enough to win the game,” said Motherwell captain Stephen O’Donnell.

“We could have defended the goals better. You are going to lose the ball but then you then need to react for your team-mates.

“But overall I felt we did reasonably well in the game. Big moments cost us.”

Next up for Motherwell, who remain in fourth place after Hibs failed to take advantage of their loss, is St Mirren – another side which has found form since the winter break.

“‘The positive is that whether you are doing well or bad,” continued the Scotland international, “whether you are looking to turn your fortunes around or trying to build more momentum, there are lots of games.

“Hopefully we can do that on Tuesday. It will be a tough game. St Mirren are a good side. We’ve seen that this season.

He added: “‘We’re sitting fourth. But we need to make sure we are trying our best to stay in the top six.

“And if we do that, whenever we manage to do that, we can look to be a bit more positive and chase those above us.”