Gary Mackay: Two big games and Hearts players must step up

Hearts' players train at Tynecastle ahead of the Edinburgh derby. Pic: SNS
Hearts' players train at Tynecastle ahead of the Edinburgh derby. Pic: SNS
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You can’t help feel disappointment after Sunday and I feel it for the players, the management and the supporters.

From where we have been this season, the Celtic game ended up a bit of a doing if we’re being honest, which is a shame.

It was a really dubious penalty and an uncharacteristic error from the goalkeeper, who I praised only last week. Steven Naismith going off also deprived Hearts of a very influential figure. So luck certainly wasn’t on our side.

The one thing we can’t do is feel sorry for ourselves. We need to bounce back and there is no better game to do that than an Edinburgh derby. We’re losing key players, not just squad players. The guys we’ve lost have a huge influence but it’s up to others to lead from the front. Sometimes when you’re in adversity, you do get someone who will step out and be that person. Naismith did it when Christophe Berra was out, now we need others after his injury.

Do you bring in people who know what it’s about? Like Harry Cochrane, for example, who knows what playing against Hibs means. That will be a judgment for the manager to make because we then play Celtic at the weekend, so it’s two big games.

You wonder if Callumn Morrison will come back in. I wasn’t surprised he didn’t start on Sunday given the magnitude of the game, but I would have loved to have seen him start. I think that would have seen us set out on the front foot.

The Hibs game is ideal because of the atmosphere and our record at Tynecastle. What isn’t ideal is the disappointment we had at the weekend before the game, plus the fact Hibs haven’t played for 11 days.

They will be fresher and better prepared. We have a shorter period of time. However, we can’t complain. Derbies take care of themselves and we have a big squad now, so nobody can complain.

We recruited 18 players in the summer, plus the ones already there. Nobody can use the excuse that we’re short. We’re maybe short in specific areas but that’s what a squad is for.