Gary Mackay: Hearts defence foundation for success

The versatility of Jordan McGhee has been a real positive
The versatility of Jordan McGhee has been a real positive
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Four wins in a row with no goals conceded and a winnable home game against Dundee to come back to after the international break – it’s a great state of affairs for Hearts.

There seemed to be a bit of an edge to Saturday’s game against Hamilton because of the controversial nature of the previous meeting between the two teams in August, and I think that was reflected in the crime count. An additional factor in the feisty side to the game was probably the fact that Hamilton realised that Hearts have better players and felt they had to get about us and disrupt our flow. Hearts just have to take that as a back-handed compliment and deal with it, which is something they’re doing pretty well.

They certainly coped fine on Saturday, and a lot of that was down to our central midfielders. We have four really good options in there in the shape of Morgaro Gomis, Prince Buaben, Arnaud Djoum and Miguel Pallardo. People were questioning the Hamilton goalkeeper for the first goal, but I thought it was a really good strike from Buaben. Then our second goal, although reliant on a very unselfish pass from Osman Sow, owed a lot to Djoum’s desire to get into the danger area. Unlike the rest of our midfielders, he looks like he really wants to get forward and make an impact in the final third, which has brought an extra dimension to our play.

I always say that, in football, sometimes you can fall into good partnerships by accident and there looks to be an element of that in the way the defence has found some harmony. We’ve lost two of our back four from the start of the season to injury – Alim Ozturk and Juwon Oshaniwa – but young Jordan McGhee has come in and played all across the back four during this run of league clean sheets. You have to applaud the defenders because it’s not been easy for them with the lack of the continuity but they are providing the foundations for these wins by keeping clean sheets.

I’m not too fussed about Aberdeen getting back to winning ways because fundamentally Hearts won the Championship last year and climbed to second in the league this year simply by concentrating on their own results. Just as we didn’t get hung up about what Rangers and Hibs were doing last year, we don’t really have to worry about Aberdeen either. Let’s just keep winning and see where it takes us.