MEHDI TAOUIL insists Hearts must make amends for their shock defeat at home to Dundee by taking out their frustrations on St Mirren today.
The Tynecastle side lost their last league outing before the international break, conceding a goal in the early stages to the Dens Park men and failing to hit the net in the remaining 87 minutes.
Taouil conceded that the defeat had been a huge disappointment to the Hearts players, who felt they had dominated the match, and he wants that disappointment to be channelled into a positive performance and result when they travel to Paisley today.
It is the first SPL action in a fortnight, following Scotland’s World Cup double-header with Serbia and Macedonia, and Taouil is determined to make the most of it. He said: “That was a big disappointment, especially as it felt like we had the ball the full game and we were trying to find the net, but we didn’t. Dundee scored an early goal and then for 87 minutes we were in their half trying to score.
“This is going to be an important game because it felt like we left three points behind us and we have to catch them now.
“It was quite bad because we all had it in our heads that we could go top of the league for two weeks as it was then the international break, but we didn’t do it.
“Now that’s in the past and we have to bounce back from it.”
Manager John McGlynn has said that he hopes to add at least one more striker to his attacking options and Taouil would welcome more firepower, though he believes John Sutton’s contribution can be vital. He said: “John has proved in the past he can put the ball in the back of the net.
“It would be the club’s decision. I don’t make those decisions. But, if it can improve the squad to have another player, why not?
“Dundee was a game that I’ve never played in before in Scotland. We had the ball the whole time, we were in their half the whole time but just a goal was missing.
“Goals are important in football but that was the only thing that was missing for us.
“If we’d have won that game, nobody would have said anything, but sometimes it’s like this and now we have to bounce back and we’ve worked hard the last two weeks to do that at St Mirren as we know it’ll be a tough place to win.”
With Rangers being sent down to the Third Division, Taouil knows that there may be more up for grabs than usual in the SPL.
And he believes that Hearts have the quality in their side to ensure they will be right up there fighting for silverware.
He added: “Yes I think there is quality in the squad. We lost a lot of players and not many have come in, but still there is quality in the group.
“There are good young players coming from the Academy.
“The academy is working really well with those players, so we still have quality and we can still do good things just like we did against Liverpool over two legs.”
Of their chances of pushing Celtic to the end of the season in the league title race, Taouil continued: “I don’t know, we just have to work hard and see in January where we are going to be in the league. Now it’s a bit too early in the season and you can’t really say where we’re going to be in two or three months.
“Later in the season we will see what we can really do.”
Of course, the Jambos have lost a number of players over the summer, David Templeton joining the exodus at the last minute when he signed for Rangers on transfer deadline day.
Taouil admitted that he was sorry to see so many decide to leave, but is delighted that the Tynecastle side held on to rising talent Ryan McGowan.
The defender played a massive role last season as the Jambos lifted the Scottish Cup and he has recently been involved with the senior Australia side and Taouil added: “It’s good for us to have Ryan still here, though we’d have liked to have kept David Templeton as well.
“As a player, having good players around you is always good, but unfortunately David left.
“But it’s good to see that Ryan was still here after the last day of the transfer window.”