I can’t remember the last time Hearts won an SPL game away from home with three goals, so to go to Tannadice and win like that when not many people gave us a hope is just superb.
It was a massive result, because it’s really tightened the league up and stopped us becoming cast adrift of the likes of Dundee United at this early stage in the season. We’ve now laid the foundations in terms of going on the type of run which can catapult us up the table and help shape our season.
There’s been a bit of negativity surrounding the team in recent weeks, but people need to understand that when you’ve had the turnover of personnel – and particularly key departures – that Hearts have had, then you’re always going to encounter problems at the start of a season.
John McGlynn, however, has stayed strong throughout and he showed his ability as a manager in the way that he shuffled the pack in the absence of Andy Webster and still managed to get a result like that. He was right when he said that, if we had got the first goal when we were on top against St Mirren the week before, things might have been different, and we saw on Saturday how important getting the first goal can be.
If Callum Paterson had have taken one of his chances against St Mirren, he would have been the hero last week, as he is now. I’ve known Callum since he was eight or nine years old and he’s always had a goal in him. He could have had a few last weekend, but if you’re brave enough to miss a few chances and still come back for more, you’ll always get goals, so it was really nice to see him break his Premier League duck. The great thing with Callum is that he was only playing boys club football a year and a half ago and that’s a route I’ll always advocate in terms of how boys develop.
Scott Robinson, by contrast, came through the academy, and it is to his eternal credit that he came back into the side on Saturday and made a positive impact after the disappointment of losing his place earlier in the season. As a younger player, when you fall out of the team, you can go one of two ways. You can either take on board what you’re being told on the training ground and continue to keep your standards high or you can show a bad attitude and just end up fading into oblivion. Scott has obviously responded well and has rewarded the manager’s faith with a fine display on his return to the team and has now made it hard for John to drop him again.
Dale Carrick is another one who deserves immense credit for the part he played. Young Dale hadn’t really been mentioned among the group of youngsters we were likely to see emerging this season. He has kind come from under the radar. But it speaks volumes that he, along with Callum, has been deemed the youngster most ready for first-team football by McGlynn. He will remember Saturday’s win for a long time, as it’s not often Hearts win 3-0 at Tannadice.
We now turn our attention to Livingston tomorrow night in the League Cup and that will be a tough one for the manager in terms of how he approaches it. We want a cup run, but we also want to make sure everyone stays fit and fresh for the Kilmarnock game on Saturday. Games like these are always a tough balancing act for managers. You don’t want to upset the momentum by losing in the cup by a lower-league team, but only the manager knows what shape the squad in and who is equipped to play three games in a week and who could do with the night off. Whatever John decides, it’s better making the decision after a positive result in the league rather than a defeat, so it’s definitely a game we should be looking forward to now.