Gary Mackay: Hearts must lift it for massive week ahead

Hearts toiled against a strong Rangers side on Saturday
Hearts toiled against a strong Rangers side on Saturday
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Saturday’s defeat at Ibrox was particularly disappointing for Hearts because it came on the back of an underwhelming draw at Ross County the previous week and leaves us with just one point from two games.

We didn’t carry much of a threat, but we also have to acknowledge that Rangers are now a very decent side. They’ve recruited well and they seem to be responding well to Graeme Murty’s management.

Saturday’s setback can be banished, though, if we can come away with back-to-back victories in what promises to be a huge week in terms of defining how our season will go.

Tomorrow’s match against Kilmarnock is massive in relation to our league position because they are breathing down our necks and playing with real momentum at the moment. They will be buoyed by their fightback against Hibs at the weekend and have generally done well at Tynecastle in recent seasons.

Having only taken one point from our last two away games, though, it is imperative that we take advantage of playing at home, especially against a side directly beneath us in the league.

If we can win tomorrow, it would get us back on track and restore confidence levels ahead of Sunday’s really important Scottish Cup tie away to a Motherwell side who appear to have rediscovered their own form after a dip before Christmas.

It promises to be a really tricky tie, but it’s certainly one we’re capable of winning if we approach it with the required intensity. The Scottish Cup means a lot to the Hearts support and now that we are in the quarter-finals, there is an expectation building that we can go all the way 20 years on from our famous triumph in 1998. Having already beaten Celtic, the favourites for the tournament, in the league, we know we are capable of getting the better of any side in the country on our day. If we can play as we did against St Johnstone in the last round, we’ll have a good chance of progressing.

We just need to produce our best on three more occasions and the Scottish Cup could be coming back to Gorgie, so hopefully, backed by a large travelling support at Fir Park, we can get the result we need to keep our hopes alive and ensure we still have plenty to play for this season.