Gary Mackay: Give Ross Callachan time to find feet at Hearts

Ross Callachan celebrates his goal against Dundee. Pic: SNS
Ross Callachan celebrates his goal against Dundee. Pic: SNS
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After a bright start yesterday, I hoped Hearts might kick on against a team struggling for confidence, but as soon as Dundee upped the tempo, we looked like a team with an eye on next season.

Once they equalised, it was clear that they were the team with a cause to fight for. We didn’t show any great quality in the game after that. We weren’t helped by a ridiculous refereeing performance. I don’t usually mention referees but I thought Kevin Clancy was really poor for both teams, and he didn’t help our cause by not giving us a clear penalty when Kyle Lafferty got bundled over.

I’ll be very surprised if we finish any higher than sixth, but we now have two games against Aberdeen plus matches against the other four sides in the top six, so I’d like to think that, with bigger crowds and higher-quality opponents, we’ll be a bit more up for those fixtures than we were yesterday. All of our opponents in the top six should have something to play for, so we’ll have to increase our tempo in order to pick up a decent haul of points.

I’d expect a better performance against Aberdeen at Tynecastle on Saturday. There’ll be a big crowd there, and Aberdeen will bring a good travelling support so that will ensure a good atmosphere, which should help lift our players to better levels than they showed yesterday.

One of the few positives from the Dundee game was the sight of Ross Callachan getting on the scoresheet because he will have had a tough few weeks since his mistake against Motherwell.

No player at Scottish Premiership level goes through their career without facing some kind of adversity, and Ross will have been disappointed by what happened in the Scottish Cup tie and the subsequent backlash, but he showed great professionalism to come back in and make such a swift impact.

I’ve heard people writing Ross off, but I think we have to remember that he’s come in from Raith Rovers and joined a very inconsistent Hearts team. We’ve given more senior players than Ross time to find their feet at Hearts, so I think he should be given the chance to adapt to the league.