Gary Mackay: How Hearts should approach the Premiership next season

Playing with width, stretching the opposition and getting on the front foot is part of Hearts' DNA.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 12:30 pm
Hearts players were presented with their Championship winners' medals after the win over Inverness on Saturday . (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

It is something that has been sorely missed, not just this year but for a good period now, so the last two home performances against Alloa and Inverness were much more like it.

That's the kind of front-footed attacking performance that will be expected from the Hearts supporters next season whether they are in the stadium at Tynecastle or not. It's about having a go at teams.

It's an old adage but the best form of defence is attack, particularly when we add more players and have more of a threat. We also have the most solid foundation you can get going into the Premiership next season in Craig Gordon. We’ll hopefully have John Souttar back and Michael Smith is hugely experienced so defensively we should be strong enough to be able to have a go at teams.

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It was good to see Gary Mackay-Steven get himself on the scoresheet, but I'm particularly happy for Aaron McEneff. He's only just moved across here from Ireland and is going through the settling in process, but you hope he can continue to build on the promise that I personally believe he has shown already.

More often than not players that come in during the season get a lift from having a full preseason with the club because you're settled in more and properly prepared for the start of a league campaign.

You look at how the Scottish Cup has ended up, and the teams that are left, and you just think what might have been. Hearts will be kicking themselves but the focus now is on the positive of being back in the Premiership.

All the side issues of what went on previously with the SFA and SPFL have been and gone and we just have to forget it about and move forward. Do you continue to try to use it next season as a motivation? Hopefully, from my perspective, we just put it to bed now, we've done what we had to do and that was get back to the Premiership. It's now up to us to go and make a fist of it.

For those setting targets, I'm not convinced that's the correct thing to do, because I know what the Hearts supporters’ target will be and that's third. You always start the season hoping you can win the league, but you're realistic enough to know that with Celtic and Rangers and their fan base and budgets that's virtually impossible these days, so the next best thing is third place and that is the target the club should be setting with the budget they have.

We will now to try make it as positive as possible going into next season. Hearts fans have always tried to do that, but your history always plays a part in the future of your football club. The history of this season is positive in one sense, and not so positive in another. Will the fact we've got promoted shape our future or will it be the horrible defeat at Brora? It's what road you take from here and that will be down to the efforts of the management and players.

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