Esmael Goncalves has asked Hearts supporters for patience following Tuesday’s Edinburgh derby defeat.
Losing to Hibs angered many fans but Goncalves, the Portuguese striker, believes they will soon witness something “great” at Tynecastle.
Different training methods under manager Craig Levein have helped improve results after predecessor Ian Cathro was relieved of his duties. Hearts arrived at Easter Road in midweek after two successive wins over Ross County and St Johnstone, but went down 1-0 to Simon Murray’s early goal.
Goncalves is determined to stay positive and wants supporters to do likewise. “When we lose against them it always hurts. We have a lot of things to improve on but I think we are in a good way. It takes time. I think we will get there,” he said. “We are changing things and with time we have a lot of things to improve, and we will.
“The training is different, we are fitter, but everything we are working on in training takes time to come on the pitch. People can see in small parts of a game what we are doing. When we bring everything together, I think it will be good.
“I know it’s a difficult situation for the fans when we lose against Hibs. That’s normal. I understand them. It’s a derby. I think what they will see after will be great. I think they need to be a little bit patient.”
Hearts face Rangers at BT Murrayfield this afternoon after the Glasgow club dismissed manager Pedro Caixinha on Thursday.
Anyone wondering if that distracts the hosts from their focus received an unequivocal answer from Goncalves. “The most important thing is Hearts and how we work and prepare for this game,” he said. “We have a lot of players who are off and can’t play so we are trying to do our best with what we have and some young kids as well.”
A goalless draw with Aberdeen and a 1-0 victory over St Johnstone have been pleasing results for Levein and his charges at the home of Scottish Rugby. Tynecastle’s redevelopment is taking longer than anticipated, however the move across to the other side of Edinburgh’s Western Approach Road has gone well. “It’s been amazing,” Goncalves said. “We won the last game, which was really important. It’s been great to play there with all our fans.
“Of course it’s not the same, because we are used to our stadium being full with our fans closer to the pitch. But it’s a great stadium. It’s big, it’s beautiful and with our fans there it’s an amazing atmosphere.”
The striker admitted his own performances could improve going forward.
“I know I could be better and I’m working. It’s not that we weren’t so fit [under Cathro]. I just think Cathro’s football was different to Craig’s so you prepare differently. We have been working on doing more running with Craig.”