Gary Mackay: Hearts killed Miller’s barb in style

Robbie Neilson has got his Hearts squad in great condition. Pic: Greg Macvean
Robbie Neilson has got his Hearts squad in great condition. Pic: Greg Macvean
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You’re always looking for improvement, but there’s very little you can criticise Hearts about at the moment.

Probably the only downside from the win over Dumbarton is that Neil Alexander didn’t get the clean sheet he deserved for that wonderful first-half save he made.

It was especially pleasing that we performed so comfortably on a day when Kenny Miller, the Rangers striker had questioned our title credentials. Kenny’s an experienced lad and he will have thrown in a wee barb to try and test the nerve of a young Hearts team, but it didn’t work on Saturday and hopefully it won’t have any effect either when Rangers come to town next month.

We look so strong at the moment right through the team. We’ve got real pace and incisiveness in the wide areas and that’s a massive thing to have in modern football. Even when we slacken off, we usually come on strong at the end of games when our fitness shines through.

Robbie Neilson himself always made sure he was as fit as possible when he was player. His game revolved around having a good engine and it looks like he’s instilling that fitness and discipline in the team just now because the players always seem in great condition.

Hopefully we can maintain our ruthless streak against Hibs this weekend. Hibs will have been boosted after getting a good win at Livingston and they’re unbeaten in five, so we’ll need to afford them respect, but at the same time, we are so full of confidence that we certainly shouldn’t be approaching any game with trepidation.

The way we’re playing just now, we wouldn’t even fear going to play a top Premiership team. Our players will be relishing going down to Easter Road.

There’s pressure on both teams in every derby, but there’s more pressure on Hibs this weekend because of how big the gap is.

For Hearts, to avoid defeat would be a good result, but to win the game would be magnificent. If we were to go 17 points clear of Hibs at this stage, it would probably leave Rangers as the only team who could realistically catch us.