Gary Mackay: Break comes at good time for Hearts

Hearts' Sam Nicholson tries to glide past Jamie Hamill and Greg Kiltie. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Hearts' Sam Nicholson tries to glide past Jamie Hamill and Greg Kiltie. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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Saturday’s draw was very frustrating because Hearts could and should have won the game.

I think if we’d have got a second when we were on top, it would have taken the wind out of Kilmarnock’s sails but they hung in there and, thanks in no small part ex-Jambos Jamie MacDonald and Conrad Balatoni, went away with a point.

Having got used to winning at home most weeks in the Championship last season, we have to understand that a team like Killie, with several Hearts former players keen to prove a point, were never 
going to lie down to us.

When you look at how Aberdeen got on against St Johnstone, it shows this is not an easy league to win games in. Having said that, it’s impossible to escape the feeling that, the way the 90 minutes went, it was two points dropped.

I think the break has come at a good time for us to regroup and recharge the batteries because we’ve got some players who need a rest and others who will benefit from the chance to work further on their fitness.

Although supporters have been a bit underwhelmed recently, we need to keep things in perspective. We’ve given ourselves an excellent platform for when we return after the break and have to be proud of where we are. The Premiership is now starting to take shape and we are still riding high, seven points off top spot, and in the last eight of the League Cup. Most other teams in the country would swap places with us.

The only reason we are feeling a bit downbeat is because we set such high standards at the start of the season which we have been unable to maintain. There is no getting away from the fact Saturday was disappointing, but I see no reason why we can’t get back to the level of consistency we showed at the start of the season. The players have proved it is within them.

We need to just take one game at a time and try and work our way back to form. We return to action against a struggling Dundee United team who will probably be lifted by the arrival of a new manager, so they are likely to be dangerous opponents. However, there is no reason we can’t return from Tannadice still in the upper echelons of the Premiership.