ANDY DRIVER today explained how Hearts’ reduced squad is working in the club’s favour ahead of the new season because it has strengthened the bond among the players and brought fresh energy to the Riccarton dressing-room.
The introduction of youth players like Callum Paterson and Kevin McHattie has added extra vibrancy to the team, according to Driver. Although experienced mainstays like Ian Black and Rudi Skacel left at the end of last season, the winger stressed that Hearts’ squad is now stronger because their togetherness has improved.
“A lot of people see it as a negative that we’ve got a small squad. Being in the squad, it’s a massive positive because it’s brought everyone tighter together,” said Driver, speaking exclusively to the Evening News. “We have a lot of young boys who bring a lot of energy and that freshens things up. There is a lot of energy around the dressing-room and people feed off that.
“In a smaller squad there are no hiding places either, so things are looking good. Everyone sees it as a negative because of our small squad but it’s definitely not, it’s a massive positive. If we can take the form we’ve had in pre-season into the league campaign, we should start getting a few results.”
Hearts won three out of their four pre-season friendlies, the only defeat coming at Falkirk, and are in fine form under new manager John McGlynn. Their first SPL match of the new campaign takes place on Saturday, when St Johnstone visit Tynecastle for a 3pm kick-off.