JORDAN McGHEE insists Hearts can’t afford to dwell on their William Hill Scottish Cup humbling by Celtic with a trip to in-form Dundee United to come this weekend.
The young defender cut a dejected figure following his side’s 7-0 defeat at the hands of the holders on Sunday, but the importance of bouncing back when they travel to Tannadice is not lost on the 17-year-old.
Hearts were five down to the Hoops before half-time, with the confidence visibly draining from the home side as each goal went in.
McGhee, though, says the players will lift themselves in time for Saturday’s clash with Jackie McNamara’s United, saying: “We need to get straight back out there and pick ourselves up.
“The quicker we play another game, the better.
“I’m sure we’ll have to sit down and go over the goals, work on things that we think we could be doing better and try to put them into practice in training and in games.
“We need to try to put this behind us, although I know that is not going to be easy.
“Now we have to focus on the league and give ourselves the best chance that we can of staying up this season.
“We’re not far away from zero points and that was one of the first targets that the manager set us.
“It would have been good to have a cup run, but now we will be concentrating fully on the league and we know that we need to get back on track against Dundee United this weekend.
“We want as many points in the bag as we can.”
McGhee believes it is important that the Hearts players and supporters remain positive as the adminstration-hit club battle against taking the drop into the Championship.
Goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald apologised to supporters on behalf of the whole team after the game and McGhee added: “We were disappointed for ourselves, but also for our supporters.
“They’ve really been there for the club this season and they came out in their numbers again for the Celtic game. I’m just sorry that we couldn’t give them anything back. We didn’t turn up on the day and we need to make sure that we turn things around this weekend against United. We’ve got to stay positive.”
Celtic boss Neil Lennon said after Sunday’s game that his side’s performance was one of the best during his time at the club and, having experienced their pace and movement for himself, McGhee concurred.
The youngster conceded that his own side’s display had been unacceptable but also insisted that the Glasgow side would have railroaded anyone they had come up against.
McGhee added: “It’s the worst feeling in the world, getting beaten, especially with that kind of scoreline. It’s just not good enough, to be fair, and we were all really disappointed in the dressing-room after the game.
“There was some poor defending from us, but Celtic were on top form. I think that was probably one of the best – if not the best – performances they have put in this season. We need to go back to the training ground and work on things because the way we conceded some of the goals on Sunday was not acceptable.
“It could have happened to anyone because it was one of those games where everything went in their favour. It was just unlucky for us that we were the team to come up against them. We could have avoided a few goals, but we can’t run away and hide from the result.”
McGhee admits he has loved making the step up into the first team at Tynecastle and is hoping he and his team-mates can at least take some positive lessons away from Sunday’s painful defeat.
The youngster openly admits that his introduction to the side at the start of the season has been a huge learning curve and the same applies to the other kids who have been thrown in at the deep end as a result of the Tynecastle side’s financial woes.
If there were any positives to take from Sunday, he reckons he learned more about his game in those 90 minutes than he did in the early part of Hearts’ domestic campaign put together.
In fact, he thinks the experience, no matter how painful at the time, could even make him a better player: “It has been brilliant to be involved with the first team,” he added. “It’s what I’ve worked for. Difficult times like this are hard to handle but I suppose it’s all part of the learning process for some of the younger guys like myself.
“I learned an awful lot from the game against Celtic. Their movement and the way that they passed the ball around was frightening at times.
“Hopefully, I will be able to take everything that I picked up from that game into the rest of the matches this season and hopefully it will make me a better player in the long run.”