Defiant Danny Wilson insists he will not allow any negativity to seep into the Hearts dressing-room, with the captain adamant that his team still have plenty of time to haul themselves to Scottish Premiership safety.
The centre-back knows many observers believe that Hearts are already consigned to relegation as they languish 13 points below second-bottom Kilmarnock, whom they visit tomorrow.
Wilson is frustrated that his team have had to settle for just eight points from their first ten games despite holding their own in most matches.
However, he is keen to point out that the first quarter of the season is only just about to end and feels that there is still every chance that at least one of the sides above them will fall back into a rut if and when Hearts eventually get back to the form with which they took seven points from three games earlier in the campaign.
“I still believe we can stay in the league,” Wilson told the Evening News. “We’re only just finishing the first round of games, so there are still a lot of points to play for. If we get too down and start believing that it’s over – as other people seem to want to do – then we will be down long before it even happens. That’s certainly not the case here.
“We believe we’ve got a good chance of staying up. We’ll keep working until it’s mathematically impossible to stay up, but I genuinely believe that with the squad we’ve got we can still stay up. The teams just above us weren’t picking up points until a few weeks ago. We believe they’ll drop more points and we believe we’ll pick up points, but we just need to make sure we have more good weekends than bad ones.”
Wilson knows there is despondency among the Hearts support at the moment, but he insists the squad were braced for a difficult period like this one, with only one point taken from the last six games. He firmly believes that one positive result could spark a return of the buoyancy that helped them to such a good start.
“I don’t think things are as bad as it’s being made out to be,” he said. “It looks a bit worse just now because the teams around us have been picking up points and we’ve not but that was always going to happen at some point. We knew there would be times like this in the season, but it’s important we all stick together and work our way through it. Most of our points came from that three-game run at the start of the season, which suggests that if we can just get a win, we might go on another wee run. We’ve got to hope the next result’s just round the corner and that that might spur us on for another two or three games.”
Meanwhile, Callum Paterson and Kevin McHattie are both in contention to feature at Rugby Park tomorrow after reporting no ill-effects following yesterday’s training session, their first of the week. Paterson went off at Motherwell last week with a foot injury, while McHattie missed out through illness, but both are expected to make the trip to Ayrshire.