Gary Mackay: Hearts can’t get hung up on league position

Brothers John Souttar, left, and Harry Souttar shake hands before the start of Hearts v Ross County. Pic: SNS
Brothers John Souttar, left, and Harry Souttar shake hands before the start of Hearts v Ross County. Pic: SNS
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Because Hearts’ defensive record is so good, you almost expect us to hold out once we get in front.

However, although we weren’t at our best, there were circumstances that counted against us on Saturday. The injury to Arnaud Djoum was a big blow while Ross County showed that they’re now a team ready to fight to get off the bottom of the league. In the end, a draw was probably a fair result from a game which won’t live long in the memory.

A point away from home in the Premiership is not the worst thing in the world, but it’s not done us any favours with regard to our league position. Although it would have been nice to peg Hibs back and get into the top four, I don’t think we can get too hung up on our league position because it has been a testing season. Three of the four teams above us – Celtic, Hibs and Aberdeen – have all enjoyed far greater stability than us in terms of management and personnel. We’ve only had one transfer window since the unfortunate time under Ian Cathro so, although we’ve improved over the past few months, this has been a season undermined by instability, particularly in the early months.

With the stadium upheaval, the change of manager, the number of new players we’ve brought in, and the addition of several academy boys, we were never likely to be a particularly consistent team this season. The key thing for Hearts is that we keep moving in the right direction, pick up as many points as we can and try and develop the type of consistency Aberdeen have shown over the past few years. We have obviously made significant strides in terms of becoming hard to beat again because we hardly lose any matches, but it is clear that we are still not fully firing at the other end of the pitch. We have done it in occasional matches but when we’re without certain players, we can look a bit limited in the attacking third.

We now head to Ibrox on Saturday and, although Rangers are a dangerous attacking side, we should fancy our chances. We got a point there earlier in the season and we’re now a far stronger team. Hibs won at Ibrox recently, so we’ve got to go there with optimism and belief.