Gary Mackay: Hearts won’t blow the title now

Jamie Walker is congratulated by team-mates Billy King, Danny Wilson, Kenny Anderson. Picture Ian Rutherford

Jamie Walker is congratulated by team-mates Billy King, Danny Wilson, Kenny Anderson. Picture Ian Rutherford

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From the position we are in now, I think it would be catastrophic if we didn’t go on and win the league.

The fact we are 19 points clear with 13 games to play is largely down to the work done in the background to prepare us for coming out of administration.

As supporters, none of us knew at the start of the season how we’d fare, but I think with the benefit of hindsight, we were definitely the best-prepared team for the demands of a title race.

Of our two nearest challengers, Hibs appear to be in better shape than Rangers at the moment, but, because they have drawn too many games, they are too far back to challenge us. Rangers may have a better chance mathematically, but I can’t see them reeling us in.

On that note, if Vladimir Romanov had overseen what Rangers did last week, with the five signings coming in from Newcastle, he’d have been widely berated by the Scottish public.

I’ve spoken several times about the strength in depth of Hearts’ squad, and once again it was evident on Saturday when two of our substitutes, Billy King and Kenny Anderson, played a big part in helping us win a game where we were missing three regular starters in Osman Sow, Prince Buaben and Adam Eckersley. I don’t think anyone else in the league can boast the same strength in depth that we have.

It must have been soul-destroying for Livingston to have hung in there for so long and play so well, only to end up with nothing. That’s what Hearts can do to teams these days, though.

It is unusual for teams to play each other twice in succession in league matches, but I think that scenario slightly favours Hearts over Livingston in terms of this weekend’s rematch at Tynecastle.

We have plenty options to freshen up our team and change our approach, whereas Livi, with a far smaller squad, will probably have to rely on the same team from Saturday.

If that is the case, it will be interesting to see how the Hearts support welcome a particular member of the Livingston rearguard after his “challenge” on Sam Nicholson.