Gary Mackay: Hearts fightback illuminates dark week

Dylan McGowan and Frazer Wright battle for possession

Dylan McGowan and Frazer Wright battle for possession

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It’s difficult to summarise that crazy 90 minutes in Perth in this column because there were simply so many talking points.

However, the one overriding thing to come out of Hearts’ spirited 3-3 draw with St Johnstone is that the players, management and supporters got something to celebrate at the end of what has been another really difficult week for the football club.

The players showed real desire to dig out the point when all looked lost, and that spirit was typified by Danny Wilson, who got the equaliser. He further showed his importance to the club on Friday with the classy way he spoke to the media about the initial decision not to keep Billy Brown on as assistant. Our captain dealt with the press conference with dignity when inside he would have been struggling to contain his feelings at the way things have been handled.

I made my views clear about what I thought about Billy’s removal last week, and thankfully he is now being retained for a while longer. It will have come as a real boost to Gary Locke, and to Billy, that they got such a positive response from the players on the pitch at the end of a week in which the upheaval could easily have had a negative effect. As I’ve said previously, Gary, Billy and the players are above reproach for the difficulties Hearts have had to endure this season.

It is notable that we look a much better team away from home this season, which is in stark contrast to previous seasons when we’ve been much stronger at home. I don’t think any team has had it particularly easy against us away from Tynecastle this season, which is testament to the spirit Gary and Billy have generated.

Unfortunately, they’ve not been able to show that as much at home because I think some players, perhaps understandably, have toiled to cope with the expectancy and anxiety from the large crowds. Playing at Tynecastle seems to have been pretty intimidating for some of the youngsters, who look far more at ease playing in front of smaller crowds away from home. The away support are also far more tolerant and vocal in their support than the home support and that has probably had an inspirational effect on these players in games like Saturday’s.