Raith Rovers player/manager Grant Murray has heaped praise on the lean, mean Christian Nade as the former Hearts striker seeks to haunt his former club this weekend.
The 29-year-old, who joined Rovers following his summer release by Dundee, has been one of the stand-out performers in a 100% start in the Championship, scoring in a 3-0 win over Dumbarton and generally cutting an energetic, physical presence in attack.
As such, he will undoubtedly be Raith’s prime goal threat when Hearts, a club with whom Nade spent a rather underwhelming three years, arrive in Kirkcaldy on Saturday afternoon.
Nade’s contribution at Tynecastle was again thrown into sharp focus recently when Commonwealth Games silver medallist and die-hard Jambo Eilidh Child described the Frenchman as the worst player she had seen play for Hearts during a radio interview.
He will have an opportunity to answer his critics when he leads the line for the Fifers at Stark’s Park.
While reluctant to discuss Nade’s spells at previous clubs he also faces Dundee on Tuesday in the League Cup Murray believes a rigorous close-season regime has seen the striker return to action in fine fettle.
“Sometimes fate throws up things like that,” said Murray, a former Hearts player himself. “Christian has been absolutely fantastic for us.
“We know the capabilities he has got and the level of football he has played at.
“I know the standard he is looking to get back to and he has been great to work with since coming in.
“He has given us goals, which I thought he would give us, and is a wonderful asset to the squad.
“He makes a real difference in attack, he is fit and lean and he has to take all the credit for that.
“Christian has taken care or himself throughout the summer and trained so hard for coming back to pre-season.
“It’s not right for me to talk about what happened with Christian at Hearts or Dundee, but I will say that we are delighted he is a Raith Rovers player.”
Murray is aware of the challenge posed by a Hearts side which has already defeated title favourites Rangers and city rivals Hibs this season.
However, there is no inferiority complex.
Instead, he is looking forward to attaining a measure of his own side’s quality as they face one of only two other teams in the division with a 100% record from their opening two games.
He said: “You look at the league games Hearts have been involved in so far Rangers and Hibs and you are not going to get any bigger and harder than that.
“Yet they have picked up six points. It is a measure of where we are.”
The game will also provide the first time the reopened Railway Stand will be used at Stark’s Park.
The close-season renovation was done in anticipation of the bumper crowds provided by home encounters against Hibs, Rangers and Hearts.
And Murray cannot wait to experience that added level of interest and has urged his players to be inspired, rather than be cowed, by it.
“There’s going to be a great atmosphere and a massive crowd, which is a change for us in league games,” he added.