Taken in isolation, a point against Hamilton after playing more than half the game with ten men has to be viewed as a decent result for Hearts. But the bigger picture shows that we’ve now gone a sixth game in a row without a win, including three at Tynecastle against sides in the bottom six.
There were positives on Saturday, particularly with regard to the battling qualities we showed. Jon McLaughlin was outstanding in goals, and I’d also like to single out Prince Buaben. He’s been much-maligned recently but he played in three different positions on Saturday and did it to the best of his ability. That sort of stuff often goes unnoticed but that’s the sign of a good team-mate.
Jamie’s Walker also had another good game and it looks like he’s rediscovering his form. There has been talk over the weekend of Wigan Athletic being interested in signing him in the next transfer window but unless we were able to sign a couple of flair players to compensate, losing him midway through a season when we are already struggling would be a major blow. Quality game-changers, for me, are more important to Hearts than money at the moment, and Jamie, when operating at his best in a team playing with confidence, certainly falls into that category.
The atmosphere at Tynecastle was a lot better and more fired up on Saturday than it has been in previous games but it is slightly disappointing that it took an ill-disciplined game and some questionable refereeing decisions to generate that. Bobby Madden has had a lot of criticism and there are probably a few decisions he would change with hindsight, but it’s not easy to manage a game with that level of passion.
Hopefully, going forward, we can have a pumped-up atmosphere that has been generated by a team playing good football, creating chances, scoring goals and, ultimately, winning football matches. Generally we’ve showed good fighting spirit and resilience for most of this season, but we haven’t had enough quality at the sharp end to win matches and push up the league.
To be sixth in the table is not the worst situation we could be in considering how challenging we have found this season, but equally our points return in relation to our budget and to the teams we would hope to be challenging remains very disappointing.