HEARTS midfielder Jason Holt explained today that playing for Scotland Under-21s helped him stay focused following St Mirren’s win at Tynecastle two weeks ago.
Holt has returned fresh and ready for duty at Fir Park this afternoon after European Under-21 Championship qualifiers against Slovakia and Georgia.
Being on international duty for the last two weeks allowed him to avoid wallowing in disappointment in the wake of the defeat by St Mirren. Holt featured in both games for the young Scots – a 2-1 win over Slovakia and 2-1 defeat in Georgia – and is now refocused on club business.
“I think it helped me to have games to look forward to,” he told the Evening News. “I’m away concentrating on the two Scotland Under-21 games so it is good to get your mind off it. Losing against St Mirren was a massive disappointment for the club, but I think, when you go away on international duty, you just need to get your head on the job for Scotland.
“As soon as the international games are over then it’s straight back into club football and concentrating on my job for Hearts. We’ve got massive games coming up.”
After today’s match with Motherwell comes a potentially crucial fixture against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, with Hearts trying to overhaul a ten-point gap at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership. Their poor away record in recent seasons is something which rankles with Holt.
“After the disappointment of losing against St Mirren when we could have picked up three points, we need to put that behind us and look to Motherwell away,” he said. “We’re looking to pick up points there, then it’s Kilmarnock away. That’s a massive game for us and we’re looking to take maximum points from both games.
“We all need to be on our game with the situation we’re in at Hearts. The whole squad will be looking forward to the Motherwell game.
“I think the away record goes back quite a few years now, but it is something we’re looking to put right. The Ross County game was the biggest disappointment for everyone, but it is something we want to sort out. We’re looking to these next two away games to put it right.
“There is always massive pressure in every game, especially with the situation we’re in. I think there’s a bit of added pressure. At Tynecastle, the fans are different class. Even when we’re away, we still bring a great following so there is pressure in every game. It’s just how you deal with that.”