Gary Mackay on Hearts: Barr is example to the side as he shows mettle

Have your say

Given all the off-field issues at present and the general air of concern surrounding the club, a point against Ross County was no disaster.

It was one of those familiar games where we had plenty possession but lacked a cutting edge. How many times have we said that in recent years? But we must give lots of credit to Ross County. Derek Adams has proven himself to be an excellent young manager who always has his team well-drilled, and that was certainly the case on Saturday.

While we would have liked six points from these back-to-back home games over the past week, four points out of six is not bad in the circumstances. The performances are still not getting to the level we’d like on a regular basis but that’s largely due to the level of changes at the football club and the fact we are very much going through a transitional period.

Of the Hearts players, I think Darren Barr in particular merits special mention for the way he has gone about his business since forcing his way into the team last season. John McGlynn singled him out last week as well, and I think he deserves lots of credit. He had a hard time in his early days at Hearts, but he’s proved last season and so far this season, that if you retain a good attitude, you can come through tough times. He’s very much an unsung hero of the team and he reminds me of players I played with like Neil Berry and Kenny Black. Those guys were good team players who were invariably more appreciated by their teammates than by the fans.

Further up the pitch, although we are struggling for a cutting edge, we do have some 
decent attacking options ahead of the Dundee United game in the League Cup on Wednesday. I was at the Under-20 derby match last week and, after seeing Gordon Smith impress in that one, I was pleased that he got his chance after being introduced from the bench on Saturday. Then there’s John Sutton, who reminded us of his worth when he came off the bench to score the equaliser, while Callum Paterson, the man in possession of the jersey, scored two when we played United at Tannadice last month.

Wednesday’s game is massive for Hearts, both in football terms and financial terms. I noticed a week past Saturday that St Johnstone, who were going for their fifth win in a row, could only attract a crowd of 3,100, so these are tough times for all clubs, although events of the past few weeks suggest Hearts are in a particularly difficult predicament. With this in mind, we could really do with the cash that a good cup run can generate. It will be a really hard game against a United side who returned to winning ways against St Mirren, but if we can somehow get through, it would see us heading to Dens Park for Saturday’s league match with Dundee in good fettle. We’re away from home in our next three games, and these games will have a big say in how things are shaping up for us as we look towards the Christmas period. It will be interesting to see how John McGlynn utilises the squad for the two games in Dundee in the space of just a few days.

In terms of what’s coming out of the club at the moment, as supporters, all we can do is concentrate on making sure we give the players our utmost support. What goes on within the boardroom at Tynecastle these days is nothing to do with me. People have been quick to criticise me for having an opinion about the way things are done at Tynecastle these days, so I think I’d rather keep my counsel on events off the field at Hearts just now. It’s not my place to tell people whether or not they should buy into the share initiative. The supporters will be able to make up their own minds based on what they know.

All I want is the best for Hearts both on and off the pitch.