For much of the first half yesterday, it was all positive for Hearts.
The way we attacked and got after Celtic gave me a bit of hope that we could get a result, but ultimately the strength in depth made the difference.
You only have to look at the substitutes that Celtic were able to bring on, while we had two 17-year-olds and a lad in Danny Amankwaa who hasn’t set the heather alight since joining us.
Getting beat by Celtic is no embarrassment for anybody in this league, especially not given the positive approach to yesterday’s game. But over the piece, our point accumulation hasn’t been good enough this season considering the calibre of players we have at our disposal. We’ve had injuries and we’ve had obstacles to overcome but, even allowing for that, we have a squad that should have been capable of more than a sixth-place finish.
There will have been very few periods in Hearts’ history where we will have had as many full internationalist as we’ve had this season. Players like Christophe Berra, Steven Naismith and Kyle Lafferty represent a solid core that most teams in the league would be happy to have. We can only hope all issues that have stopped us fulfilling our potential this season are ironed out early in the summer because we can’t afford to start next season amid another period of transition.
In the meantime, hopefully we can finish this disappointing campaign with a couple results against Hibs and Kilmarnock.
If we play the way we did in the first half yesterday, we’ll have a good chance against Hibs on Wednesday. I hope we are able to show enough pride to match Hibs’ desire to finish second. There will be a bit of pressure on the Hibs players because they know they need a win, so hopefully we can capitalise on that. It would obviously help if we have Kyle Lafferty and John Souttar available.
We’ve got two another two suspended on the last day in Christophe Berra and Michael Smith, but Kilmarnock – like ourselves – haven’t picked up any results since the split so hopefully we can take something down there. I’d be happy with four points from our last two games to ensure we go into the summer with some reason for optimism.