Gary Mackay: Cup crucial as Hearts now playing for fourth

Hearts need to bounce back from Saturday's disappointing 1-1 draw with St Mirren
Hearts need to bounce back from Saturday's disappointing 1-1 draw with St Mirren
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It looks like Hearts are playing for fourth place in the Premiership now, so the Scottish Cup tie against Partick Thistle is therefore a huge game in our season.

Saturday against St Mirren was two massive points dropped. I spoke last week about taking four points out of six but now, if we are to get four out of six, we are going to need to do it the hard way.

Clubs around about us are collecting points – Hibs got closer to us and Aberdeen pulled further away from us up above. We gained a point on Kilmarnock but we now look like we’re fighting for fourth. That in itself is a pressure.

The next two games are pivotal to our season. The Celtic match needs no dressing up because Hearts have a decent record against them at Tynecastle of late. It would be nice if that could continue. Then it’s a tie at Partick Thistle when a win is a must.

If you get a positive result tomorrow to take you into the Partick game, then great. If not, then you must bounce back no matter what.

Aberdeen can virtually cement third place in the league if they win this week so we look like we’re playing for fourth place.

Achieving that spot doesn’t guarantee playing in Europe, of course, so it could depend on how we get on in the Scottish Cup.

Home form is your bread and butter and that’s been the case with Hearts throughout history. After Saturday, we have an opportunity to lift the fans against Celtic when there will be less expectancy.

That’s the big difference when you play Rangers or Celtic. When you play Dundee or St Mirren at home, it’s about the Hearts players making things happen to get the vocal backing of the supporters. Tomorrow, that backing will be there from the first minute.

Being on the front foot, and perhaps even the first tackle, will be very important. Let’s hope for a good night to get us all going.