Gary Mackay: Surprised to see McGhee not in Hearts team

Arnaud Djoum netted for Hearts in the first half. Picture: Picture: SNS
Arnaud Djoum netted for Hearts in the first half. Picture: Picture: SNS
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Our lofty league position means we can accept setbacks like Saturday’s slightly easier, although there is no getting away from the fact it was two points dropped.

At home to a Dundee team we had already beaten away from home and who were struggling for form, I think most people expected us to win, especially after taking the lead.

Despite that, Dundee are no slouches and they had a lot more belief in the second half and caused us problems. That was in no small part to Greg Stewart, who has really done well for himself since being released by Hearts as a kid.

As a supporter and an ex-player, I was surprised Jordan McGhee didn’t keep his place after playing such a big part in our recent run of clean sheets. If you’re a defender and you help the team keep four clean sheets in a row, you expect to keep your place, regardless of who else is fit.

I was also surprised that when Billy King went off injured, he was replaced by Morgaro Gomis. That is meant as no criticism of Gomis, whom everyone knows I rate highly, but I felt we could have done with a more offensive player. We didn’t have any other wingers on the bench to replace Billy, but I’d have thought Gavin Reilly or Danny Swanson, who looked hungry when he came on towards the end, would have been better options in terms of helping us remain on the front foot.

The big positive to come out of the game is that Arnaud Djoum continues to get us goals from midfield. He looks a genuine threat in that area of the park, which is something we haven’t always had. It is encouraging that the coaching staff are confident about him signing a new deal because he is a player we could definitely do with tying down as soon as we can.

We missed Juanma’s physical presence in attack, and it will be good to have him back from suspension for what promises to be a tricky game at Motherwell this Saturday. There will be an expectancy from the Hearts support because they are struggling, but I don’t see it being a straightforward game. I think there will be a response from Mark McGhee’s team and can only see it being a competitive battle. We need to be ready for it.