I think, at the start of our first season back in the Premiership, every Hearts supporter would have gladly taken third place.
However, now that the campaign is over, there’s a part of me that feels that with a bit more of an adventurous approach we could have done even better.
If we’re being honest, this has been one of the weakest top flights Scotland has seen in years, a point underlined by the fact the Scottish Cup final will be contested by two Championship teams. Hearts were able to build a relatively strong squad in terms of numbers and quality and the fact we have now beaten Aberdeen three times in succession suggests we might have been good enough to sneak second place if we’d been a bit bolder in certain matches.
There also remains a feeling of ‘what might have been’, with regard to the Scottish Cup game against Hibs. We were 2-0 up on them in the first game at Tynecastle, yet it’s our Edinburgh rivals who are looking forward to a cup final at Hampden this weekend.
On the whole, however, it has been a solid season, so it would be churlish to focus on the negatives. I hope now that we have re-established ourselves in the top flight we will look to become a more vibrant team next season. It is all well and good grinding out 1-0 wins here and there, but I think there is a part of the Hearts support who would like a few more games like the opening day of the season when we beat St Johnstone 4-3 in a thriller. That kind of exhilaration is what supporters come to games for. For instance, a lot of our support enjoyed the performance we produced in the first half at Celtic Park last month, and would probably want to see more of that.
With that in mind, I hope we can add more players of the ilk of Jamie Walker and Arnaud Djoum because they have been our two best attackers and the two who look most likely to make things happen for us. If we can add a few more of that calibre, it would allow us to add some verve to our defensive solidity. I think that’s what we need if we are to build on a strong season back in the top flight and become genuine challengers next term.