SCOTT ROBINSON believes Hearts are thriving on the team spirit cemented years ago at youth initiative level. With so many youth academy graduates now in the senior squad, relationships formed some time ago are now underpinning the club’s bid to overhaul a 15-point deficit at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership.
So far, four points have been recovered from the first three league fixtures with Aberdeen due at Tynecastle this afternoon. Robinson explained that the majority of the youngsters playing this season have been together since their early teens and instinctively know each other’s game. The midfielder feels they are helping one another through, as evinced by last Friday night’s late recovery to equalise in the 1-1 draw with Partick Thistle.
“Friday night was a massive night for us. To come back from such a late goal was great,” said Robinson. “I think last season, if the same thing had happened, we wouldn’t have come back from that. There’s a real team spirit here that was lacking last year.
“It’s all about team spirit this year and being there for each other. If you look back at Greece in 2004 at the European Championship, they had a team spirit and they got the results. I remember watching when I was finishing Primary 7 and they went all the way. Nobody expected it, but they came through every challenge due to their great team spirit.
“They didn’t have the quality of Portugal, who they faced in the final. They didn’t have a Cristiano Ronaldo or a Deco, but what they did have was team spirit and that got them over the line. Our squad are young and we’ve been together since 15 or 16, so the team spirit is already there. It’s been brought through over a number of years. We are all really close and we get on great and last Friday the spirit we have was there for all to see.
“Last year we had Webster and Zaliukas, but they are gone now and it’s up to us to prove we have experience and character. We need to make sure we can bounce back when goals go against us and not let our heads drop. Jamie Hamill’s a bubbly character, Jamie MacDonald too is a great guy.”
Robinson is back in favour at Hearts after fearing he might have damaged his prospects at Tynecastle. He refused a substitute’s role, ironically against Aberdeen, when John McGlynn was manager late last year. That episode has now been resolved, much to the player’s relief. “I certainly hoped I hadn’t blown it,” he explained. “I had a feeling in my mind that I wanted to speak to John McGlynn and tell him how I felt and listen to how he felt. Everything was fine after that. I got back in the team and then I got my [knee] injury. It’s great to start from fresh this season.
“I think it maybe came out the wrong way. I asked where I stood in terms of playing time and asking if I was going to get a game. I went up to John and said I thought I was doing well enough in training, but he was sticking with the same team even if we weren’t getting results. It was more ‘what do I need to do; is there anything I can do differently to get into the team?’ That’s all it was really. Now I’m back in the team and I’m the third most experienced player at the club. I’ve got to step up to the plate and show my experience.
“I think I read in papers that I didn’t want to play for this club, but that wasn’t true at all. This is the club I chose when I was 14. John was fine with me. He obviously never understood on the day of the game when I actually said to him my head wasn’t really in it to play. But after that we sat down and spoke and everything was fine.”