As Hearts supporters, we will always have disappointing results to contend with in a league where, outwith Celtic, there is very little between the teams. However, it becomes slightly exasperating – not to mention concerning – when we suffer three such results in a row against sides we would usually be expecting to finish above.
The crucial thing with the relationship between supporters and team is how we approach games. Are we being aggressive enough in the way we play? Are we making an effort to get on the front foot and really go for the opposition from the start? Are we trying to give the crowd something to get excited about early on and make sure a full house works in our advantage? I didn’t detect any of that on Saturday.
It’s all very well having a full house every week, but it’s no good if they’re sitting quiet and then turning on the team because they don’t like what they’re seeing. I know what it’s like to be in the middle of that as a player and it’s not easy. But it’s a two-way thing and, first and foremost, the team need to be seen to be trying to give the fans something to get excited about. The Hearts fans will tolerate slip-ups as long as they feel the team have tried to play with a tempo and had a real go at their opponents, like they did against Celtic on the opening day. I just worry that things seems to have gone a bit flat lately.
I know St Johnstone are one of the hardest teams in the league to play against, but I still feel we could have played with a bit more purpose and tempo against them. Losing Sam Nicholson has clearly affected us, but the absence of Arnaud Djoum from the starting XI was a strange one because he has been in good form lately and gives us something different in midfield.
We’re clearly capable of being a top-four team this year, but we’ve not really got going yet. With the way things are right now, the next few games against Hamilton, Motherwell and Rangers have become really crucial to the mood around the club and how our season will pan out. We’ve put ourselves under real pressure to get a good points haul after taking only two from our last three matches.