Big moment goalkeeper, Olly Lee, patience for performance - 3 takeaways from Hearts' 1-0 defeat of Inverness CT
Hearts had their fair share of goalkeeping struggles last season. It took just five minutes of the new campaign for Craig Gordon to display what had been missing during the 2019/20 campaign, the ability to save shots. And what a save it was from Daniel Mackay’s header which skidded up, off the surface. For some 37-year-old's getting off the couch is hard enough, but the reactions Gordon still possesses is something special. It is like his Inspector Gadget arms harness a special power of premonition, knowing when and where to move. Simplistic yes, but if Gordon had been between the sticks last season the club wouldn’t find itself in the Championship.
Robbie Neilson turned to the bench in frustration. Olly Lee had just tried to force a pass only for it to be intercepted. It came just before the Englishman was subbed with less than 10 minutes remaining. Frustrating is probably the best word to describe Lee’s performance. He failed to impose himself on the game the way Hearts fans and Neilson would have expected with the Tynecastle boss wanting the midfielder to come on to the game from deep, acting as the attacking of the two at the base of the 4-2-3-1.
Patience is required
Hearts weren't at their best last night. They still have more gears and levels to reach. That should have been expected after 209 days without a competitive match. What also was to be expected was conclusion jumping, a favourite of all football fans, this writer included. After so long without something to get their teeth into, supporters were straining to discuss, debate and disagree. While there is an expectation on Hearts to win every Betfred Cup group stage game, plus all league fixtures, it is going to take time for Neilson's men to get up and running in terms of performance. Match sharpness is still being built, as are partnerships and relationships all over the pitch, such as Craig Halkett and Mihai Popescu at centre-back. You saw that in some instances where players simply weren’t on the same wavelength. That will come with time and patience.