Gary Mackay: Hearts players had no option but to cancel Prague

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Festive games against Aberdeen, Hamilton and Hibs are massive for Hearts now.

When you have only had one win in nine and you’ve just lost 5-0 at Livingston, there are far easier places to go than Pittodrie and Easter Road. Perhaps you couldn’t pick a better home game than Hamilton but, then again, that means there will be an air of expectancy from the Hearts fans going into that match.

Hearts were soundly beaten by Livingston. Pic: SNS

Hearts were soundly beaten by Livingston. Pic: SNS

Sometimes that makes it more difficult for players. It’s a real mix-up of games over Christmas but the two away matches are huge in relation to league positions and where we are going into January.

After such a positive start to the season, if you go into January flirting between the bottom six and the top six, then people will be asking one or two questions relating to all the personnel changes during the summer.

Most football players look back at all the positives they have in their career – all the good results and nice memories. Sometimes you need to have the resilience and character to bounce back from a horrendous result like Friday night.

It doesn’t matter what position you are in the league or how many games you have won or lost. It doesn’t matter if Steven Naismith is injured or John Souttar is missing. A club with as many competitive first-team players as Hearts shouldn’t be capitulating like we did in West Lothian.

I don’t think there was any other option for the players than to cancel their trip to Prague at the weekend. They put themselves in that position where it would have been hard to go and have a Christmas get-together after a result like that.

Fans will be there in their numbers for the next home game against Hamilton, that’s for sure. Sticking with the football club isn’t even up for discussion.

If the team don’t respond properly, after the up-and-down period we have had since Robbie Neilson’s tenure, I’m not sure how the supporters will react. Sticking with the club is never in doubt. You hope they stick with the team but it’s up to the team to get the supporters back on side now.