Hearts have hit the ground running and performed better than anyone could have expected so far.
If we can maintain our focus and form over the next month, then we can get ourselves into a very healthy position by the end of September because we’ve now got three very favourable home games against St Mirren, Livingston and St Johnstone as well as a winnable game at Motherwell.
I’m not suggesting we’ll ease to 12 points out of 12 from those games because we’ve had plenty problems against St Johnstone and Motherwell in recent times, but it’s certainly a run of fixtures that we’ve got to be pretty hopeful of capitalising on. At the same time, it would be nice if our rivals like Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibs continued dropping points.
I’m taking nothing for granted at this stage, however, because when you’re at the top and winning every week, you become more of a scalp and every other team tends to try that bit harder to become the team to stop you. You have to make sure your focus is bang on every week in order to deal with that, but so far we’ve handled every test we’ve faced so far.
We had to show resilience, fitness and togetherness to come through our latest match at Kilmarnock. You’re never going to have it easy at Rugby Park and sometimes it comes down to fine margins in a game like that and I think the red card certainly helped us in the closing stages but it was a great win to ensure there was no hangover from losing Kyle Lafferty.
Kyle gave 100 per cent, contributed to the team and scored plenty goals, and he leaves with my best wishes. I think the key thing from Hearts’ perspective is that we seem to have been preparing for this eventuality and look well equipped to cope without Kyle, which wouldn’t have been the case last season. We’ve got good options in attack and it looks like there will be another one coming in before the transfer window closes on Friday. It would be wonderful if that was to be Osman Sow because we know what he’s capable of in a Hearts shirt but, if there are concerns about his fitness, then it makes sense to look elsewhere or even at trying to get David Vanecek in this week.