Gary Mackay: Hearts should have a real go at Rangers

There was big pressure on Hearts to get a result on Saturday after the way the previous four games had gone and also because we knew Rangers had eked out three points earlier in the day.

Monday, 28th November 2016, 5:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:43 am
Arnaud Djoum is the man who makes Hearts tick

There’s no getting away from the fact one or two of the natives were growing restless after recent results so it was a really big win for us. I can understand why fans were frustrated because, although we’d been scoring goals and drawing games, I don’t think we’d been playing particularly well. We’d been scrambling results from the jaws of defeat rather than contributing heavily to those matches. Ultimately, it comes back to whether or not we are seen to be playing on the front foot from the first whistle, and I’m not convinced that had been the case during our four-game slump.

After the points we spilled in those games, we now find ourselves in the midst of a crucial period in terms of how our season is going to pan out.

At least we have a good platform to build from after the changes Robbie Neilson made paid off in style. I often think managers stumble into team selections that just work better than others.

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It’s difficult to get your team bang on when you have a decent-sized squad of similar-calibre players, but sometimes things just fall into place. Saturday’s team might not have been the first choice at the start of the season but it worked well against Motherwell and looks worth persisting with for the time being.

Probably the biggest factor in things clicking on Saturday was having Arnaud Djoum back in the side. For me, unless he’s nursing an injury, he should be in our team every week. He’s our most effective player in the middle-to-front area of the team and, on his day, is a real driving force.

Djoum will be a big player for us on Wednesday in a game which is likely to come down to which defence copes best.

It was reassuring to hear Robbie say after Saturday’s game that we’ll be going out on the front foot against Rangers on Wednesday and having a go at them. With the possible exception of Celtic, we shouldn’t be standing off against anyone, so I hope we approach our upcoming games with the same boldness we did on Saturday.