Gary Mackay: Hearts must address away day mentality

Ross Draper closes down Hearts' Prince Buaben. Picture: SNS
Ross Draper closes down Hearts' Prince Buaben. Picture: SNS
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I think most Hearts fans expected a positive response after the defeat at Hamilton, but Friday’s performance at Inverness was very disappointing.

It was a real blow that Morgaro Gomis wasn’t playing and that definitely had a bearing on the match because he’s a vital player for us. But I was surprised that we brought two new faces into the spine of the team for such a difficult away game. It was always going to be hard for Danny Swanson, having not played for a while, and Sean McKirdy, making his first league start, to be at their best in such a testing fixture.

We were the better side in the first half, but we bottomed out in the second half. It was a really flat performance. It makes you wonder if the atmosphere created at Tynecastle works against us in away games because, although we have won a couple on the road, we definitely haven’t managed the same level of performance in our away games compared to what we have done at home. It could be that the players are struggling to get motivated at open venues like Hamilton and Inverness, where the atmosphere is nowhere near as intense as at Tynecastle.

We now have two massive games against the teams directly above us. In this four-game sequence, people would have identified Hamilton and Inverness as winnable games, and Aberdeen and Celtic as the likeliest teams to beat us. We don’t want to find ourselves on a four-game losing streak by the end of this month, so we could desperately do with getting back on track.

Last season we always responded positively to setbacks, but now we’re looking to bounce back from back-to-back defeats in a higher division.