Five matches that defined Hearts' season en route to winning Scottish Championship title
The five most important victories on Hearts’ march to the 2020/21 Scottish Championship title.
Hearts 6-2 Dundee (October 16, 2020)
It’s fair to wonder whether Hearts in the Scottish Championship peaked after one game – or even one half. The heavy pre-season favourites laid out their credentials with a swaggering performance on the Friday night, especially in the first half where they thumped in four goals to one reply. The first was scored inside four minutes, three new signings found the back of the net and the Hearts Twitter account was able to bam up their Dundee counterparts for their club’s U-turn on the vote which eventually led to premature relegation for the capital club. It looked like it was going to be this easy every week…
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Arbroath 0-1 Hearts (October 23, 2020)
A stark reminder of the realities of slogging it out in a lower tier hit home seven days later. Hearts managed to grind out victory, which is a better feat than a few other away expeditions in the 2020/21 campaign, but they were certainly made to work for it. Arbroath had their share of chances before Craig Wighton (remember him?) netted the only goal of the game with a cool chip over the goalkeeper. Ultimately it would be this sort of contest, rather the one that preceded it, which Hearts fans would largely associate with their side this season.
Raith Rovers 0-4 Hearts (January 26, 2021)
Having been deservedly beaten away to Dundee and then denied by a few incredible saves from Scottish Cup-winning hero Jamie MacDonald after digging themselves into a 3-0 hole at home to Raith Rovers in the space of three games, for the first time in the whole campaign a semblance of pressure was put on the Tynecastle side. However, they would respond in emphatic fashion. Against the very opponent that had beaten them at home just three days prior, they absolutely dominated the match at Stark’s Park from start to finish.
Hearts 2-1 Dundee (March 6, 2021)
Far from the most convincing of victories, even in a season not as convincing as many had hoped, this win still came at a crucial juncture. Having failed to win any of their previous three matches, the pressure was on to get a result against a Dundee side who were much improved on the ramshackle outfit who arrived in Gorgie on opening day. In the end, even a performance which failed to hit the heights and an obligatory Jason Cummings goal wasn’t enough to stop the hosts from earning victory and taking a big step forward towards the title.
Hearts 6-0 Alloa Athletic (April 9, 2021)
It may not be the match that many supporters remember for years and it may not feel like the most fitting end to a frustrating campaign. However, it can’t be questioned that Hearts were excellent in their final league match before securing the title. And, who knows, maybe the 3-4-1-2 system that worked so perfectly against the beleaguered Wasps was actually the right formula Robbie Neilson had been searching for. For the sake of the manager’s future and Hearts’ hopes next season in the Premiership, we’d better hope so.