Gary Mackay: A massive week ahead for Jambos

Callum Paterson celebrates at full time

Callum Paterson celebrates at full time

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It’s been a long, hard slog but what a massive lift it will give everyone at the club to finally get out of negative points.

After the last three performances – against Motherwell, St Johnstone and Ross County – there is now a touch of optimism beginning to return to the Hearts support just in time for Sunday’s League Cup semi-final against Inverness.

With all the doom and gloom surrounding the club just a few short weeks ago, the players and management could easily have thrown in the towel. It’s testament to the spirit that has been fostered in the squad that they have been able to do so well when they were being widely written off.

With the exception of one or two games, our form away from Tynecastle has been far better than our home form. Hopefully, we can change that against St Mirren on Wednesday and try and take a positive result into Sunday’s game.

Having gone to the trouble of rescheduling the St Mirren game in order to have Ryan Stevenson available for the semi-final, it would be a real setback if Ryan now ends up leaving the club before Sunday’s game. Fingers crossed we are able to keep hold of him because he would certainly enhance our chances of causing an upset.

Inverness are very hit and miss and the moment and if they have an off-day, then we would have to fancy our chances, especially if we can maintain our form from the last three games. Even though Inverness have had a few ropey results lately, though, they also won at Aberdeen last weekend, so they’ve not suddenly turned into a bad side.

We will need the type of performance we produced when we beat Inverness in last season’s semi. That game should stand the Hearts players who played that day in good stead. By the same token, there could be some negative thoughts in the minds of the Inverness players from memories of last year.

The two games this week really are massive in trying to maintain a bit of momentum and keep some interest in the season going for a while longer. Reaching a final is hard enough at the best of times, never mind in our predicament. It would be phenomenal if we could pull it off.