Gary Mackay: Hearts boss has a tough balancing act

Miguel Pallardo challenges Rangers' Kenny Miller. Pic: Jane Barlow

Miguel Pallardo challenges Rangers' Kenny Miller. Pic: Jane Barlow

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Rangers have shown the application and desire in the last few weeks that Hearts have shown all season to become champions.

I know we had a large away support through at Ibrox yesterday and I feel sorry for them that they weren’t rewarded with a victory, but it was always going to be difficult for us to show the same level of application as Rangers.

I can relate to the Hearts players’ perspective in this situation. They weren’t at it 100 per cent like they have been for the most of the season simply because they’ve achieved their objective whereas Rangers are still trying to achieve their goal.

It was always going to be a test for Hearts to keep themselves on top of their game in that scenario. It will be the same against Alloa on Wednesday because they’re battling for their lives, while we again have little to play for.

It’s a tough one for the management team.

Do they freshen the team up by bringing in some of the guys who are moving on? Or do they stick with the ones who are going to be there next season and learn some more about them?

Speaking of players who won’t be there next season, I think most Hearts fans were very surprised to read that Adam Eckersley won’t be getting a new deal. I’ve been impressed with Adam and I was also surprised that he didn’t play yesterday. It’s a very interesting development. Nonetheless, the management team have got everything spot on so far, so I’m sure there are good reasons behind the decision.

The fact that Adam, despite having done so well, will be moving on and that Robbie Neilson has been speaking of bringing in five or six new faces suggests that there will be another big overhaul of the squad in order to strengthen for next season.

That seems all the more likely in light of Ann Budge, speaking at the unveiling of a wonderful sponsorship deal with Save The Children last week, stating that finishing in the top six of the Premiership is a minimum goal for next season.

Despite yesterday’s setback, we are certainly showing real ambition so early in our recovery from the wreckage of administration.