Gary Mackay: Jon McLaughlin was Hearts’ saviour

Jon McLaughlin
Jon McLaughlin
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It was a massive relief to see Hearts get the victory on Saturday because we certainly rode our luck.

The main reason were able to secure three points was the performance of Jon McLaughlin, who once again underlined how good an acquisition he’s been. Although he’s only been with us a short time, he is already up there among a long cast list of excellent Hearts goalkeepers. He’s been a model of consistency. I was disappointed to read that he is unlikely to be remaining at Hearts beyond the summer but I totally understand his reasons as he has to do what is best for him and his family. If he does go, he will be an extremely hard man to replace, unless we are able to get someone of the calibre of Allan McGregor.

Aside from the fact we got three points when nowhere near our best, Saturday’s match will hopefully have a positive bearing on this weekend’s Scottish Cup rematch at Tynecastle as it should focus the minds of the Hearts players. If they were in any doubt about how tricky a home game with St Johnstone can be, then that will have been banished on Saturday by the difficult test we were given. The players will now be well aware of what to expect, and will hopefully therefore be capable of producing a far stronger performance to make sure they get into the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup.

Although the league remains the most important thing, I think it’s safe to say every Hearts supporter is desperate for a Scottish Cup run, particularly in light of how poorly we’ve fared in the competition since we won it in 2012. Having eliminated Hibs in the last round, we now have a decent chance of getting into the last eight. We’ve done well results-wise against St Johnstone this season, and we’re at home, so we’d have to be considered favourites. If we can get to the quarters, it would really boost the support and give us plenty to play for going into the business end of the season.

I think we’ve come out of the January transfer window in pretty good shape. In addition to hopefully addressing some problem positions, I think we did quite well in terms of getting rid of most of the players who weren’t contributing.