Gary Mackay: Don’t blame Hearts strikers for lack of goals

Hearts attacker David Milinkovic falls under the challenge of Davis Keillor-Dunn. Picture: SNS/Craig Williamson
Hearts attacker David Milinkovic falls under the challenge of Davis Keillor-Dunn. Picture: SNS/Craig Williamson
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Hearts’ performance on Saturday was much-improved but, ultimately, no Hearts supporter can ever be satisfied at taking two points from back-to-back home games against Partick Thistle and Ross County.

We can only hope that the overall play against County is a sign that we are moving in the right direction. We clearly have a problem with scoring goals at the moment, but I wouldn’t place the blame for that at the feet of the strikers. Esmael Goncalves, even though he didn’t have a great game on Saturday, had scored good goals in each of our previous two games, while Kyle Lafferty, who didn’t start on Saturday, has also scored a few goals despite a lack of quality service.

I’m a believer that we attack and defend as a team, and while we look fairly sound defensively at the moment, we don’t have enough players currently creating or carrying a goal threat. As a team, we are not causing our opponents enough problems.

We have another game at Tynecastle that looks winnable on paper against Hamilton this Saturday, so hopefully we can finally get a result because the long run of pre-Christmas games at home is not going to plan so far. Hamilton are one of the teams you’d ordinarily want to play at home when you’re struggling, but they have picked up results against Aberdeen, Rangers and Hibs in their last few games, so they’ll fancy their chances. By hook or by crook, we need to find a way of getting a victory because the points return so far has been very poor in relation to what we have invested in our squad.

While our lack of form is a worry, I am equally concerned by Craig Levein’s statement last week about needing another two transfer windows to sort the team out. I find that staggering given that Craig has been prominently involved in the football department for the past three-and-a-half years as director of football – a role which is supposed to ensure a level of continuity within the playing staff and relatively smooth transition between managers.

For what it’s worth, I don’t believe the squad is as bad as results suggest. In Goncalves, Lafferty, Arnaud Djoum, David Milinkovic and Jamie Walker, we potentially have a very exciting attacking unit, but we’re just not firing at the moment. It’s very frustrating.