Gary Mackay: Last season’s woes helped Hearts dig in

Alim Ozturk celebrates at Alloa. Pic: SNS
Alim Ozturk celebrates at Alloa. Pic: SNS
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Hearts might not have been at their best on Saturday but neither were their two biggest rivals when they went to Alloa earlier in the season.

The difference is that Hearts came away with three points, while Hibs came away with none and Rangers took just one.

We’ve shown that we can blow teams away with lovely football but it’s reassuring that we can still grind it out when nowhere near our best.

We could easily have settled for a point, especially when we went down to ten men having used up all our subs, but we kept going and forced a winner on a day when we could just as easily have lost the game.

I believe that the difficulties they had to overcome last season will have helped some of the young boys add that resilience to their armoury.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that we had to work hard for it on Saturday. Teams like Alloa and Dumbarton have a lot of seasoned pros in their squads and are never going to roll over just because they’re playing Hearts.

The big support will have helped drag the team over the line. It’s not just the Hearts players who will be benefitting from our huge following, though.

All the clubs we are visiting, as well as local businesses such as pubs and bakeries, will be enjoying having such big numbers in their area when Hearts come to town.

We’ll have another tester this Saturday against a Dumbarton side who are flying under Ian Murray.

As a big Hibby, Ian is sure to get a “special” welcome from the Hearts support.

I remember being in a similar situation myself when I went to Easter Road as Airdrie manager and I took dog’s abuse.

I’m sure Ian will be able to handle it, though.

Saturday’s victory crowned a great weekend after a really enjoyable night at the 1874 Fighting Fund’s Appreciation Dinner on Friday.

It was wonderful for everybody present to get the chance to thank the likes of Gary Locke and his players for their efforts in helping the club through the dark days of administration.