Gary Mackay: Hearts playing at the level budget allows

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson made changes against Caley

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson made changes against Caley

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One point from two games is a disappointing return, but the manner of our draw at Inverness suggests there’s a real spirit in this Hearts team.

Having gone down in such limp fashion at Kilmarnock in midweek, we could easily have imploded after losing two early goals on Saturday at a venue where we’ve had a dismal record over the years. However, the team rallied really well to get themselves level. Even after that, they had to come back after falling behind again. The fact we were able to do that, and almost sneak a winner, is proof that we’ve got a good dressing-room with real desire and resolve. If the players didn’t care, they would have downed tools at 2-0.

I’m disappointed for the supporters who travelled to both games and didn’t see a victory, and I know some people are a bit disgruntled with how things are going at the moment. On the whole, however, I’m happy with where the club is. Off the pitch we have reliable custodians in charge and we’re staying at Tynecastle. On the pitch, in my view, we’re probably doing what our budget allows us to do. The only team in the league currently punching above their weight is St Johnstone. Although we’ve had a few disappointing results, I don’t think we’re under performing in relation to our budget and to our rivals.

Let’s not compare ourselves to Celtic because it’s clear that they’re on a different level and are going to run away with the league. The other 11 teams are all fairly evenly matched, but right now we are up at the top of that group in a tight battle with the likes of Rangers, Aberdeen and St Johnstone. The fact none of those teams are winning consistently either shows that, unless you have Celtic’s resources, it is a hard league to win regularly in. We are pretty much where I expected us to be, and with the likes of Tony Watt and Conor Sammon still to hit top form, there’s still scope for us to get better.

A victory over Saints on Saturday would get us right back on track. They’re always a tough opponent, but hopefully the fact they lost a late goal on Saturday, while we were finishing strongly means we go into the match in a better frame of mind than them.