HAVING a footballer for a father can be both a blessing and a curse for younger players. Expertise and a natural aptitude from the game can be passed on to the younger generation, but that comes with the burden of escaping the often formidable shadow cast by a famous forebear.

Olly Lee, the impressive Hearts midfielder and son of former Newcastle United and England star Rob, has handled it better than most, embracing what he feels is the privileged position of having his dad’s expertise to lean on and learn from.

And if the former Luton Town man keeps performing as he has been, there is no doubt he will soon have made quite a name for himself.

"When I was younger probably [the comparison bothered me], now it doesn't,” Lee said. “I take it as a compliment.

“I want people to focus more on me than my dad now, but I'd rather have that, I see it as an advantage. I've got an ex-England international that I can ask how to play the role better. It's a positive but I'm a man now and I don't really worry about what my dad's done before. I'm here to be Olly Lee not Rob Lee.

"He was a critic when I was younger because he wanted to drive the best out of me, but now I've played a lot of games and know what I'm talking about he sits back and lets me come to him for advice when I need it.

“To be honest, I do go to him a lot. He played the position, he's got a lot of experience and it's nice for me to bounce ideas off someone that's not inside the club and I can just see what his views are because he only watches me, he doesn't watch the team. It's just getting a different set of eyes.”

Both generations of the Lee family have been blown away by what they have encountered since Olly made the switch from League One in England to the Scottish Premiership. For the Hearts man, as he gears up to face Rangers at a packed Ibrox this afternoon, there is no comparison.

"My dad came up with me the first time I came to meet the manager and he was so impressed because he's not been involved in Scottish football,” he said.

“When he came up to Tynecastle, he was blown away by it. It's quite funny at the start of the season, he was going through all our fixtures and saying I've never been this excited for a season. He's loving it just as much as I am.

“If players were to come up and see what Scottish football is all about and see the magnitude of some of the games, I think they’d realise what they are missing out on.

“Without being disrespectful to any other teams, the games we had didn’t excite me as much as coming up here and playing Rangers and Celtic – the big teams with a lot of history. It’s good fun trying to beat them. That’s what we are here for.”