Gary Mackay: For Hearts to be second is some feat

Hearts' Juanma Delgado, left, celebrates with Osman Sow having scored his second of the match to put his side 3-0 ahead. Picture: SNS
Hearts' Juanma Delgado, left, celebrates with Osman Sow having scored his second of the match to put his side 3-0 ahead. Picture: SNS
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Considering where we’ve come from in the last few years, to be second in the Premiership a third of the way into the season is some feat for Hearts.

There’s no getting away from the fact it’s a great achievement, but, having watched games in the top flight during the time we were in the Championship, I have to admit I’m not massively surprised at how well we’ve done in this league.

We’ve had a blank canvas to rebuild from scratch and been able to bring in good, calibre players in relation to most of our rivals. For me, the most surprising aspect of our start to the season is that we are ahead of Aberdeen because I thought that they would be a more established and stronger team than us - and that may yet still prove to be the case. Even to be above them at this stage is huge and is a great achievement by everyone at the club.

It could get even better as it still feels like the team is yet to properly gel. We’ll probably see more from Hearts at a time when we’re playing Saturday to Saturday with no midweek games, and also when we are able to get more consistency of team selection. It would be nice to be able to field the same XI in successive games, because right now injuries, suspensions and match-fitness issues are preventing the team having a real settled look. When that eventually comes, we should only get stronger.

We showed our clinical side on Saturday to pull away and win a match that was fairly evenly balanced in the first half. We defended strongly, kept another clean sheet, and then both of our main strikers scored doubles, so you can’t ask for much more than that. Osman Sow is really catching the eye at the moment in a team that certainly knows how to attack.

With that in mind, I was surprised that we didn’t make more of a fist of it against Celtic in the League Cup last Wednesday. I know they’re a far stronger team than Partick, but, considering we were at home, it seemed as if we gave them a bit too much respect. In an all-or-nothing game, I hoped we might have gone for the jugular a bit because we’re a pretty dangerous team on our day when we attack, as we showed on Saturday.