HEARTS face a crucial four-game period over Christmas and New Year which goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald believes will make or break their season.
The Tynecastle club meet Kilmarnock, St Mirren, Hibs and Partick Thistle inside two weeks which will have a significant bearing on whether they can avoid relegation.
After losing 2-0 at Celtic Park on Saturday, Hearts remain 14 points adrift of Ross County at the foot of the Scottish Premiership. All of the clubs they encounter over the festive period are in the league’s bottom half and MacDonald feels his team has now arrived at crunch time in their fight against the drop.
“We knew anything we took away from Parkhead would have been a bonus and we’d have been delighted. It’s the next three or four games which are probably going to determine where we will finish this season,” he told the Evening News. “We’re facing teams that are round about the bottom half of the league in games we’ll be looking to go and win.
“There is still half a season to go but we do need a few wins out of the next four games to give ourselves a chance of staying up. I hope there is a spring in the step this week because we got a bit of pride back on Saturday after the previous time against Celtic, when we lost 7-0. That’s an improvement because we nearly came away from Parkhead with a 1-1 draw so there is encouragement there.
“Kilmarnock, St Mirren, Hibs and Partick are all games we think we can win. Every game is important for us now. We do need to start winning because we’ve obviously not had enough victories this year. That said, we’re still within a reasonable distance of the other teams. Nobobdy has pulled hugely away from us, we just need to get a couple of wins to make up some ground.”
Defender Jamie Hamill will be suspended for the Partick Thistle match at Tynecastle on Sunday, January 5. He received his sixth yellow card of the season against Celtic, triggering a one-match ban which takes effect 14 days after the booking is issued.