John McGlynn changed formation because Hearts win was vital

John McGlynn. Picture: SNS
John McGlynn. Picture: SNS
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HEARTS manager John 
McGlynn revealed today that he changed formation because he desperately needed goals to end a poor sequence of results.

Switching to a 4-4-2 system brought a 2-0 victory over Aberdeen on Saturday, vindicating McGlynn’s decision following criticism of his team selection and tactics.

Ryan Stevenson’s first-half penalty and Callum Paterson’s strike shortly after the interval ensured Hearts ended a run of one win in six league matches.

It also stopped their drought in front of goal, which had lasted three full games since a 1-0 win over St Mirren on November 17. John Sutton and Gordon Smith were handed starting berths in attack and caused notable problems for the Aberdeen defence.

McGlynn explained that he chose two strikers in an effort to end Hearts’ recent malaise. “The change doesn’t sit entirely well because there is no point in us bringing through young players, playing a particular 4-3-3 system all the way through the youth teams and then changing it at first-team level. But I have to look to the immediate future because I have to get results,” he told the Evening News.

“We tweaked the system because, at the end of the day, I’ve got to get results. On Saturday we got a result. I don’t necessarily think it’s down to playing two forwards, or three, or one. The proof of the pudding is that we won 2-0 and we’re very pleased with that. Let’s enjoy it because it’s been a very difficult week for everyone connected with Hearts – fans, players, backroom staff and directors have all been hurting all week.

“I put myself under pressure because we had tried something and, for three games, we didn’t score. You ask yourself, ‘have I got a lot to lose?’ It came to that scenario of ‘do I have a lot to lose by changing it?’ That’s more or less where it came from.”

McGlynn praised the work of both Sutton and Smith, who looked a useful attacking partnership. “They worked extremely hard, great credit to them and their attitude was first-class,” he continued. “Gordon lasted 70 minutes or so and then young Dale Carrick came on, who is full of enthusiasm and running.

“Putting him on when the game is entering the last 20 minutes is a big plus because he continued to cause problems. I’m really pleased for both John and Gordon that they came in and played well, and for Andy Driver who also started the match. I’m happy with the whole team performance.

“We defended very well and the midfield worked extremely hard, plus Jamie MacDonald kept a clean sheet so it was pleasing overall.”

For the first time this season, teenager Paterson was left out of Hearts’ starting line-up but responded with a goal after coming on as substitute. “I think young Callum needed a wee break. I felt the time was right to go with John and Gordon and give Callum a wee rest,” said McGlynn.

“He came on with fresh legs at half-time and struck his goal really well. Ryan Stevenson scored the first goal and then had to come off, and Callum took his place and he scored the second goal. I’m delighted for both of them. Callum responded in the right manner and it shows he has a good attitude.”