Gary Mackay: Why the break has come at good time for Hearts

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Everyone in football has people they get on with and others they don’t get on with, but it goes without saying that I wouldn’t wish ill health on anyone. I wish Craig Levein a full and speedy recovery following his health scare, and hopefully he’s back in the dugout for Hearts’ trip to Motherwell after the international break.

From a football perspective, it was reassuring that the players coped so well in the absence of the manager. A big factor in that is the fact Hearts have some real experienced leaders in the team like Steven Naismith and Steven MacLean. In addition, we also had an injection of positivity from the return of Demetri Mitchell.

Hearts are gathering momentum after a 4-1 win over St Mirren. Pic: SNS

Hearts are gathering momentum after a 4-1 win over St Mirren. Pic: SNS

Things are looking incredibly positive for Hearts on the back of seven straight wins, and the encouraging thing from within that run is that we’ve shown different ways of winning. We’ve had a few hard-fought 1-0 victories, we’ve come from behind at Hamilton, and we’ve had four victories in which we’ve scored at least four goals.

Although we’ve generated some real momentum, I think the break has come at a good time. It allows the players to recharge their batteries because they’ve played with a real intensity since the season started and they can return to action against Motherwell full of confidence simply from looking at the league table.

It was a bonus to see both Aberdeen and Hibs suffer surprise defeats, and that also underlined how well we are doing to be able to win consistently in such a competitive league. The vibe about the club at present is similar to that we had in 2005 when we went off like a train under George Burley. To get a crowd of 17,000 for a game against St Mirren is a sign that the supporters are really enthused by what’s happening. They’re getting entertained and they’re getting results and that combination is hard to come by in football.

We’ve clearly got some talented individuals in the team, but the most notable thing is the strength of the collective, with everybody seemingly on the same wavelength. No disrespect to Kyle Lafferty, who was a very good player for us, but I felt he was more of a selfish player within the team. I feel we now have a group that are all about the collective after a really successful summer transfer window.