Encouraging Damour, Haring 'return', attacking indecision- Three takeaways from Hearts' defeat to Celtic
Analysis of Hearts' 2-0 loss at home to Celtic
Confidence has been a buzzword around Tynecastle Park for a long time now. More accurately, a lack of confidence. That was seen anytime the team tried to probe Celtic. Hearts were excellent at making the visitors uncomfortable, especially in the first 27 minutes at least. But when they got the ball down to try and break down the league leaders there was too much indecision, second guessing and turning back. It allowed Neil Lennon’s men to regroup when the home side really had to strike quickly. Rather than try and be quick and force the issue, players would overthink it, losing any momentum. Stendel seemed to get frustrated with Jake Mulraney in particular. The Irishman lacked conviction at times in his pressing and his willingness to drive forward in possession.
Loic Damour is a player who Hearts fans have not seen the best of. That’s quite clear. He showed against Celtic the qualities which could see him have a key role under Daniel Stendel going forward. While he played an unfortunate part in Olivier Ntcham’s goal, the rest of his performance was committed and energetic. He fully embraced the pressing requirements of his German manager. If one player epitomised the discomfort felt by Celtic it was him. The Frenchman constantly got in their faces. Harassed and hunted in equal measure. He was much more assured with the ball, including one back heel flick, and took any opportunity to support an attack or drive the team forward. Encouraging.
Peter Haring on the bench
There was an interesting return to the bench for Peter Haring. The Austrian midfielder hasn’t been seen since the Scottish Cup final defeat to Celtic back in May. Unfortunately for Hearts fans he wasn’t there in a playing capacity but to aid any language issues. While Daniel Stendel has a good command of English considering it is his third language, in match situations where you want to get your point across to players or current assistant boss Andy Kirk as quick and as clean as possible there are benefits in having someone like Haring acting as a translator so there is no miscommunication. Even more so when the German manager is gesticulating wildly on the sidelines, showing plenty of passion and emotion. It is likely difficult for him to switch to English quickly and get a swift message across. Fans will hope that sooner rather than later, Haring is on the pitch passing on his manager’s instructions.