Gary Mackay: Hearts have let Aberdeen off hook again

John Souttar makes a vital block for Hearts at Motherwell. Pic: SNS
John Souttar makes a vital block for Hearts at Motherwell. Pic: SNS
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Aberdeen look increasingly like a team who aren’t going to make much of a fist of their post-split fixtures, so it’s hugely frustrating that we have let them off the hook in our last two away matches.

There seems to be a real sense of deflation hanging over the Dons now that they can’t win the league and, after beating them at Tynecastle a couple of weeks ago, we had a good chance to crank up the heat on them in our games at Inverness and Motherwell. Unfortunately we’ve not been able to capitalise and our chance of finishing second 
appears to be gone.

They were always going to be tricky away games, especially Saturday’s game against an in-form Well side, but I fancied us to take more than one point from a possible six. The fact we have failed to score in either game is particularly disappointing given how impressively we had played in our two previous games at home to Aberdeen and away to Celtic. We have scored only eight goals in our last 11 away games, which is a poor return, and that’s something we need to improve on if we’re serious about challenging at the top of the table next term.

I have some sympathy with the players because after playing in pumped-up atmospheres at the likes of Tynecastle and Celtic Park, it can then be hard to get yourself roused when you are playing in front of just a few thousand people at the likes of Inverness. It’s human nature – I certainly found it harder to play in less-salubrious surroundings. Only the very best in the world can do it week in, week out regardless of the circumstances, so we have to accept that it will occasionally be difficult to replicate the high-intensity display we had against Aberdeen when we go away from home.

Having said that, I thought we would have enough about us to win at least one of the last two games considering we had the carrot of finishing second dangling in front of us. We’ve put plenty effort into the season so far, so I really hope we don’t let it fizzle out. Although our last two displays have been underwhelming, 
I’d be pretty confident we won’t have any problem getting ourselves fired up for Saturday’s showdown with title-chasing Celtic at a packed-out Tynecastle.