The Hearts supporters had to endure another horrible day at Tynecastle yesterday but, sadly, it was always on the cards from the moment it became apparent that we would be missing both Danny Wilson and Jamie Hamill.
I feared for us on Thursday night when we went into the Hibs game without Danny, but the defence did superbly and coped better than I expected in what was an excellent team performance. However, it was always going to be hard for such a depleted team to rouse themselves for yesterday’s game, especially when they were also without Jamie.
As I said last week, we need all our experienced players to have a chance of being competitive. Yesterday, Ryan Stevenson was the only proven first-team outfield player in the team. All the others are young players who may or may not prove to be good enough to make a long-term career in the game, and the lack of leadership on the pitch was all too evident.
As if to highlight what Gary Locke and his players are up against, our opponents were able to bring in a proven striker in Lyle Taylor and he was the man who got them off the mark yesterday. Meanwhile, Ross County have benefited from an injection of new faces and have now pulled away from the danger zone.
We can only dream of such a luxury but you won’t catch me complaining about the signing ban. As much as I sympathise with the management and playing staff we are, whether we like it or not, paying the price for the mismanagement of the club down the years.
The one positive we have to cling to at the moment is the incredible support that continues to back the team through these tough times. There were almost 14,000 people at the game yesterday, which is remarkable when you consider the match at Tannadice between two big clubs, who have both been in far better form than Hearts of late, was attended by 6000 fewer people.
The support for the club has been magnificent, but we are going to need that loyalty to continue for the foreseeable future as we strive to get through these difficult times.
The team have a really tough task ahead – I fear it’s now just a case of damage limitation between now and the end of the season.