The way football works now, I would never point the finger at any player for deciding to move clubs, but, from a purely personal viewpoint, I’m disappointed that Danny Wilson has decided to leave Hearts.
It’s entirely up to the player to do what he thinks is best for his career and he’s certainly given Hearts plenty both on and off the field since he came here. If he’s had thoughts throughout the season about leaving, then it’s credit to him that it’s never been evident in his performances.
He’s a great professional and a great person who sets a good example. As well as his obvious footballing ability, we’ll also have to replace the leadership and professionalism that he brings to the dressing-room. If we lose Danny and Adam Eckersley, that will be the entire left side of our defence. Quality left-sided players are hard to find, so we’ll be reliant on good recruitment again this summer.
James Keatings is another whose future has been the subject of uncertainty. As a player, you want honesty and the club have given him that by telling him he’s not guaranteed to play regularly next season. It’s now up to James if he stays, but he has never shirked a challenge before and it would be no surprise to me if he decided to stay and prove he can play at Hearts on a regular basis in the Premiership. If he does that, it’s a win-win for the club.
Aside from getting back to winning ways against Raith on Saturday, there were two obvious positives for me. One was the performance of Soufian El Hassnaoui. The management have always had high hopes for him but he’s been very unfortunate so far. His season has been plagued by fitness issues but on Saturday we got a glimpse of what he’s all about.
Because he’s not had a lot of game time, he’s someone that our rivals in the Premiership won’t know a lot about. Even though he’s not played as much as he would have liked, he’ll still have learnt a lot about Scottish football, so that should stand him in good stead for next year.
Another positive was the debut of Sean McKirdy. I’ve always been an advocate of boys club football, so I was delighted to see him show what he could do when he came on.