Gary MacKay: Great form against odds is lifting Hearts

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What a timely lift all Hearts supporters received on Christmas Eve. The way things have been lately, I don’t think anyone could have forecast that we would be capable of going out and winning back-to-back games in these circumstances.

Scott Wilson was trying to bring a bit of humour to the party by playing The Only Way Is Up and those sentiments are probably right. Having seen the team go through tough times under Bobby Parker, Wallace Mercer and Chris Robinson, I would have to say this is certainly as troubled a time as the club have been through in the last 30 years. With that in mind, the players have responded magnificently.

I really don’t know why they’ve hit form at a time when it’s as low as it’s ever been. It’s hard to fathom although it certainly says a lot about the togetherness of the team. Full credit must go to Paulo Sergio and his backroom staff for that. They’ve had a really tough time of it. It sums up how difficult it has been for everyone at Hearts of late when you hear Ryan Stevenson giving a very strong view on the situation. I have huge admiration for Ryan’s stance but he’s basically revealed how tough it has been to be a Hearts player over the past few months. From that perspective, the fact the rest of the players have retained team spirit and been able to churn out a couple of really comprehensive wins is just incredible.

Saturday’s win over Motherwell was absolutely massive – it was an outstanding team performance and for the second week running we had a potentially tricky game all but tied up by half-time. Marian Kello probably would have gone into the game expecting to be a busy man but as a unit the team defended really well and ensured he had one of the quietest afternoons he’ll have had in a long time. It was a hugely heartening performance to witness.

It’s hard to believe David Templeton had a throat infection. For 60 minutes he was absolutely sensational against a very good opponent in Tom Hateley.

The atmosphere was very good – I was very heartened by that. It was nice to see Andrew Driver getting on, considering everything that’s happened. It says a lot about the manager that he was willing to communicate with the player and resolve the situation to the point where he felt he could restore him to the squad. It means we’ve got an additional attacking option who is more than capable of enhancing the creative part of the team. It was also pleasing that the crowd was up about 1400 on the previous game, which was probably because the team played so well against Dunfermline.

The extra revenue can only be a good thing in terms of the players getting paid sooner rather than later, so the players getting positive results consistently could certainly play a part in improving the club’s predicament.

The only disappointing aspect from Saturday was Jamie Hamill’s injury. It’s a blow for the boy himself but it’s also a disappointment for the manager as, when you’re building up a wee head of steam, the last thing you want to do is change your team. Consistency of selection allied to consistency of performance is generally crucial to maintaining momentum.

It’s not just about getting results to keep improving the league position, it’s equally important to keep winning in order to give the supporters some hope amidst what is an otherwise dire situation. The relationship between supporters and players cannot be underestimated, especially at a time as difficult as this, and hopefully the team will now be backed by a good few travelling supporters up at Aberdeen on Wednesday.

We’ve had a wonderful couple of weeks at Tynecastle and now it would be great if we could at least avoid defeat at Pittodrie and set ourselves up nicely for next week’s derby at Easter Road.