Gary Mackay: Hearts' new powers of recovery augur well for the future

There have been a number of positive results since Hearts’ season started, including reaching a Scottish Cup final.

By Gary Mackay
Thursday, 26th November 2020, 12:30 pm
Peter Haring celebrates with Andy Halliday after scoring Hearts' third goal against Alloa.
Peter Haring celebrates with Andy Halliday after scoring Hearts' third goal against Alloa.

There was always going to be a wee bump somewhere along the line, such as last Friday at East End Park.

Dunfermline got in Hearts' faces and set about us a wee bit and we didn't manage that too well, but that's going to happen at certain places. Arbroath wasn't easy, for example, with the conditions and their excellent home record.

What we've shown in the last two games is that we have handled and managed big disappointments better. Friday was a defeat which would have upset everyone but Alloa was a convincing victory.

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Now, that has only happened once this season and we can't overlook that. I can only judge things on that. The management of the squad and the manner in which the players responded were both far better than the last few years.

The changes to the team were interesting on Tuesday. You know that Christophe Berra is just going to defend, so if Craig Halkett does likewise, it allows the two holding midfielders and four attackers to be supported by the full-backs – Michael Smith and Stephen Kingsley.

That is a potent threat. We were squeezing up that much that the two holding midfielders got two of the goals and the other one was scored by a full-back, Smith.

I was really impressed with the way we were able to change the way the team looked. From the pedestrian way we played on Friday night, the side was transformed into a far more fluent team playing quick-passing football.

The goals highlight the way players are being asked to play – particularly with Michael Smith getting into the box, with Haring and Halliday up supporting. One of them can go forward while the other one hangs back slightly for second balls or anything coming out.

I think that highlights what is a fairly major change in how Hearts handled a little bit of adversity. Being in the Championship isn't ideal but you have to handle it and you have to bounce back.

I felt the team showed a really good mentality to do that against Alloa.

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