Gary Mackay: Win shows how far Hearts have come

Hearts were in rampant form against Kilmarnock at Tynecastle. Pic: Toby Williams

Hearts were in rampant form against Kilmarnock at Tynecastle. Pic: Toby Williams

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This Hearts team certainly know to rouse their supporters at a time when most of us probably expected the season to be petering out in pretty uninspiring fashion.

What a victory that was yesterday and it highlights how far we’ve come as a team because Kilmarnock had turned us over on each of their previous six visits to Tynecastle.

Dale Carrick spoke in Friday’s Evening News about how much he has improved as the season has gone on and I think he epitomises the development of this young team.

When he first came into the team, he was a lightweight academy graduate who didn’t initially have what was required to cut the mustard as a first-team player for Hearts.

Most of his team-mates were the same at the start of the season. They simply weren’t ready for the demands of playing week in, week out in the Premiership, especially not in a team fighting to overcome a 15-point penalty from the first game of the season.

But now, having had a full season under the tutelage of Gary Locke and Billy Brown, these boys have developed an understanding and realisation of what is required at this 
level and are all well on their way to becoming fully-fledged professional footballers.

They can’t rest on their laurels, though. They will need to continue to develop as they have done over the season because the Championship will be full of guys that have the knowledge and wherewithal to play in a really demanding and competitive league.

As for the remainder of this season, it would be lovely to finish with two more victories, but whatever happens, we’ve punched well above our weight this season. Without the points deduction we would be sitting in eighth place, which is a truly massive achievement in itself. I would never have envisaged that we could finish within 15 points of one team, never mind four.

I’m biased when it comes to Gary and Billy because they are two men I have massive respect for, but I think now the supporters are developing a real respect for the team that is thriving under their tutelage. It is testament to the astonishing efforts of the players and the management that there is such a feelgood factor about the club at the moment.