Gary Mackay: Hearts boss is spot on with his priorities

Alim Ozturk, left, and Morgaro Gomis, right, celebrate with James Keatings
Alim Ozturk, left, and Morgaro Gomis, right, celebrate with James Keatings
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If anyone had said last week that we’d get knocked out of the Petrofac Training Cup but win 4-0 at Raith Rovers, I don’t think you’d have found many Hearts fans complaining.

It was unfortunate for supporters who paid to go and watch the team at Livingston last week, but Robbie Neilson’s priority is to win the league. In this day and age, to do that, you’ve got to utilise your squad as much as possible.

Changing your team can always be a hazardous business, as evidenced by what happened to Celtic at the weekend, but we shouldn’t lose too much sleep about exiting the Challenge Cup to a well-drilled Livingston team when we’re sitting pretty in the league.

Resting the bulk of the first XI last week meant they were fresh and able to produce a dominant performance in Saturday’s game against a Raith team who had also won their first two games.

Having witnessed the game at Livingston last week, I don’t think many Hearts fans would have envisaged James Keatings getting a hat-trick on Saturday, but full credit to the lad. He’s got himself a bit of match fitness and come up trumps in his first league start.

We spoke enough last season about the lack of goal threat in the team with no recognised strikers available to Gary Locke, and already you can see the difference the likes of Osman Sow and Keatings are making.

The fact we’ve been able to bring in 11 players highlights just how bare the squad was last season, and the new boys are certainly making a difference.

I think the goalkeeping situation just underlines how much depth we’ve got this season because we now have five of them on the books. It’s good to see young Jack Hamilton doing so well in his two games so far.

I would imagine a lot of the other young lads will get another chance against Stenhousemuir tomorrow and I’ve got no problem with that because, with respect, they won’t be facing as tough a side as Livingston and should be capable of coming through the tie and ensuring the first-choice XI are in good nick to face a dangerous Falkirk team on Saturday.