Gary Mackay: Hearts mindset is wrong in this league and title celebrations will reflect that

While the 0-0 draw at Dunfermline wasn’t what we truly wanted, it was a better performance. We did not lose a goal and while that comes down to the whole defence, it's really down t Craig Gordon – he keeps saving us.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 7:00 am
Morale is low at Hearts right now.

It's the set-up of the team that continually gets me, however. We're protecting the defensive side of the team rather than playing on the front foot.

You see the comments from players like Steven Naismith and, as he's such an experienced player and has seen so much in his career, when you see him mentioning morale issues then you know there is an issue.

The confidence that Hearts players needs to come from above and that's when it's important to be attack-minded rather than defensive-minded. We should not be thinking about stopping opposition in the Championship – it should be the other way round.

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Fear and what is going on off the pitch is part of it. There's a lot of negativity. People like myself don't want to create a negative atmosphere, but performances and style mean that's the narrative. I really do empathise with the board about how difficult it is, but that's down to mistakes that have been made. I feel there is too much ammunition for people to put that kind of slant on things that are happening at Tynecastle.

We are chopping and changing our teams and tactics too. I think we are (a) paying too much attention to the opposition and (b) the lack of continuity affects confidence. Yes, we've been hit by injuries, but we keep striving to get the right blend rather than settling on a core of eight/nine players who will be there week-in, week-out. You might just get away with it in the Championship, but it won't work in the Premiership.

If you look historically at Hearts, you could go through the different eras and this has the hallmarks of the Tommy McLean era, because Tommy just chopped and changed, whereas Joe Jordan, Alex MacDonald and Jim Jefferies – like them or loathe them – had a nucleus of nine players who would play every week and an XI who you could hang your hat on. You do not know what Hearts you are going to look at game-to-game and that does not help the players.

We can win the title this weekend, but it's an odd feeling. There's going to be muted celebrations due to the inconsistencies of the season. We've won the league by not being at the top of our game. Only the Dundee and Queen of the South victories really stick out. That sums up the season. For the supporters, there will be contentment that we will be back in our rightful place but also some concern about how we will fare when we come up against the better teams in this country. There are only two teams that we should be truly fearing in the top-flight and we have to make sure the mindset and team structure reflects that.

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