Gary Mackay: That’s Hearts back on track again

Dundee United had clearly identified Sam Nicholson as a threat. Pic: SNS
Dundee United had clearly identified Sam Nicholson as a threat. Pic: SNS
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Yesterday’s win at Tannadice certainly wasn’t pretty, but it was massive for Hearts in terms of being their first in the league since August.

There looked to be a rustiness about both ourselves and Dundee United following the international break as there wasn’t much fluency in the match.

Aside from the three points, the main positive from a Hearts perspective was the performance of the two centre-backs, Igor Rossi and Blazej Augustyn. I was really pleased with them – they looked rock solid. United didn’t cause us many problems, but the result was based on us being solid defensively.

Our goal came from one of the rare bits of quality in the game. Sam Nicholson had clearly been identified as a threat by United, but on one of the few occasions we managed to get the ball to him in a dangerous area, he did superbly to cut in and win the penalty.

In relation to what we’ve seen over the last few years, that was a really poor Dundee United team.

However, you can only beat what’s put in front of you, and given the disappointing run we’ve been on of late, the most important thing was to get a positive result, and we did that.

Hopefully we have now got ourselves back on track before a game this weekend which will be a whole lot harder than yesterday’s. If you’re looking for a progressive team in the Premiership, you need look no further than Ross County. They are flying at the moment and the fact they were in third place before we won yesterday underlines how well they’re going. It will take a better performance than the one we produced at Tannadice if we are to get anything from Saturday’s game at Tynecastle.

If we do beat County, then we’ll be right back in business. No-one could have predicted a few weeks ago that we could get close to Aberdeen again but they are back on the horizon for us after letting their standards slip since their convincing win at Tynecastle last month. Everybody’s going to have a period like that, and we are just coming out of one ourselves. If we can get back to the form we showed at the start of the season, then there’s no reason why we can’t challenge Aberdeen.