Smith calls on Hearts to fix defence

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HEARTS striker Gordon Smith today advised his team-mates to address their defensive problems in training this week or risk another defeat when Celtic visit Tynecastle on Sunday.

Yesterday’s 2-0 loss to St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park was characterised by a lack of cohesion at the back, which both Smith and manager Paulo Sergio bemoaned afterwards. Centre-back Andy Webster was substituted at half-time as Cillian Sheridan scored both goals.

Smith warned that Celtic will be just as clinical if presented with scoring opportunities, therefore Hearts must eradicate the errors which have cost them dearly in recent weeks.

“You can’t give anyone in the SPL easy goals, you are going to get punished. That’s what happened to us,” said Smith, who appeared as a second-half substitute. “Celtic will punish us just like St Johnstone. We will need to work on the training ground during the week and hopefully improve for Sunday.

“Yesterday was a big one for us. The manager wanted us to get our first away win, but Celtic is obviously going to be big at the weekend. It was really disappointing, we never really performed. We need to take the little positives from the game into our next match with Celtic.

“It’s difficult to come on and try to get into the game but that’s my job. I was on the bench to come on and try to change the game and get a goal, but it never really happened.

“I don’t think we really got going at all, that’s what the manager said. We conceded bad goals as well. It’s hard to explain, I just don’t think anyone played to the potential we all know we can play at.

“We aren’t worrying about not winning away from home but obviously we haven’t picked up a win in a while. We just need to hope it will come.”