Gary Mackay: Lack of attacking intent cost Hearts

I feel sorry for all the Hearts supporters who travelled to Fir Park yesterday and witnessed a really flat first-half performance.

Monday, 5th March 2018, 5:30 am
Kyle Lafferty, centre, speaks with referee Andrew Dallas after a challenge on Motherwell's Tom Aldred. Pic: SNS

When our fans are outnumbering the hosts, we should be trying to use that to our advantage and take the game to the opposition from the start, especially against a team like Motherwell who are below us in the league. I know we were undone by some individual mistakes, but I felt the team wasn’t set up in a manner that was conducive to us getting at Motherwell and causing them problems.

In the first half, we had no threat out wide, too many defensive-minded players in the starting line-up and didn’t have enough players wanting to get forward and penetrate.

It was only in the second half, when David Milinkovic came on and we started to go for it a bit, that we looked like we might be capable of winning the game. It was very similar to the last Hibs game at Easter Road – we only showed any real attacking intent after we had fallen behind.

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Motherwell are a solid workmanlike team but we had four experienced internationalists in our side and we should have been more willing and able to seize the initiative from the start. It’s really frustrating because, with no chance of a trophy, we’re now staring at the prospect of finishing this season in an underwhelming position once more, with Rangers and Hibs – two teams we left in our slipstream in the Championship three years ago – looking set to finish a good bit ahead of us.

The supporters are understandably frustrated so it’s imperative that we don’t follow up yesterday’s disappointment with another defeat at Easter Road on Friday. A big reaction is needed against Hibs in order to try and spark some semblance of optimism for the remainder of the season.

We have a strong defence – albeit we’ve looked wobbly in recent matches – and some international strikers, but I do worry about how our midfield will cope with the likes of Scott Allan, Dylan McGeouch and John McGinn if the Hibs trio are in the mood.

After spurning a great chance to get back to Hampden, a big test of character beckons for everyone. at Hearts as we strive to ensure this season isn’t allowed to fizzle out into another damp squib.