JASON HOLT has just one goal this season – and that’s to add more of them to his game.
The little midfielder says he’s determined to get his name on the scoresheet more often so that he can play his part in helping Hearts overturn the 15-point deduction that was served on them at the beginning of this campaign.
The 20-year-old, who missed a penalty kick in Tuesday night’s League Cup victory over Raith Rovers, will be eyeing his first goal of the season when Hearts head north tomorrow for the league clash with Inverness at the Caledonian Stadium.
Holt scored three times in 22 appearances last term and said: “I would love to add more goals to my game this season. As an attacking midfielder, one of the most important things that you need in your game is goals. If I can bring that into my game and get a few under my belt it would be great for me and for the team, because we’ve got that 15-point deduction to think about.
“The most important thing for me, though, is just to play well week-in, week-out. If I get a few goals to my name as well, then that’s a welcome bonus.”
Hearts have endured something of a gruelling week, having earned a hard-fought victory over Aberdeen in the league last Saturday and then taken 120 minutes and penalty kicks to dispose of Rovers from the League Cup just a few days later.
There’s no doubt that extra-time and spot kicks on Tuesday night will have taken it out of them, but Holt reckons that the results they have recorded in recent weeks mean that each and every one of the players will be up and raring to go against Caley tomorrow.
Holt also knows they will need every ounce of effort possible to come away from the Highlands with all three points in the bag.
Caley have got off to a bit of a flier in the league and sit at the top of the table, ahead of Celtic, although the champions have played one game less.
Holt added: “When we came in on Thursday morning a few of the boys were still feeling the effects, a couple of tight legs, but there was a bit of a buzz about everyone. It was great to get the result but now our focus and attention have turned to tomorrow and the game against Inverness.
“We know that it is going to be a tough game, but it is just another one that we are looking forward to. Terry Butcher has got them going well at the moment and they’re not up at the top of the league for no reason.
“They got a draw against Celtic at Parkhead at the weekend and they’re flying, but we’re up for it too, and every point is precious to us right now.”
Although they recorded a penalties victory over Caley in the semi-final of the League Cup last season, Hearts haven’t beaten Butcher’s side in the league since November 2011.
That cup tie aside, last season the Jambos lost once and drew twice with the Caley Jags, but Holt is keen to see them turn that kind of statistic on its head tomorrow.
“We’ve not had the best of results against them recently,” he conceded, “although we had the cup [semi] win last season.
“It would be nice to turn things around a bit and come away with the three points. We’ll certainly be doing everything that we can to make sure that happens.
“We knew that this season was going to be difficult because everyone was going to be gunning for us and wouldn’t want to be the ones losing to us.
“It’s no secret that the odds have been stacked against us this season, but we are here to prove everyone wrong.
“I have said before that we are all up for the battle and the challenge and I think that we have showed out on the pitch this season. There is a real spirit and a togetherness about the team right now and that will continue right through the rest of the season.”
Despite the lengthy journey to the Highlands, the Tynecastle side are expected to take a decent travelling support with them to the Highlands and Holt admitted the fans have carried them through matches this season.
The Hearts youngster believes that those in the stands can improve his side’s chances of staying in the division this season by tenfold if they continue to be as vocal as they have been in the first four matches: “The fans have been absolutely brilliant this season. Every away game they have been different class and have really helped the boys out with their support.
“I don’t think that we can ask any more of them – and they have also been great at Tynecastle too. Their backing really helps the team and pushes us on, so they are making a huge difference.”
As well as having the supporters on their side, there’s no doubt that results have worked in their favour recently, too, and the first four matches of the league campaign have seen them pull their gap back to just eight points, while St Mirren have earned just one point from their games so far.
“Things have kind of gone for us in the first few weeks of the season and we have got to work hard to make sure that continues to happen, but we won’t be looking at anyone else’s results. That’s for other people to worry about and the main thing for us is that we get our own results first and foremost.
“If we can get a few more points in the bag, then maybe we can start to have a look at teams around us, but, for now, we will just be concentrating on ourselves and if we can do that, it’s half the battle.”
If they are to get a favourable result from Caley, though, they will have to do it without the services of both Danny Wilson and Kevin McHattie.
Their skipper was already ruled out by suspension having been red carded after the final whistle against the Dons last weekend for becoming embroiled in a war of words with opposition players in the tunnel against Aberdeen.
McHattie was sent off during the 90 minutes in that match and the club lost its appeal against his red card yesterday.
Holt admitted that the two defender will be a huge loss against the likes of Billy McKay tomorrow.
“It was disappointing that Kev’s appeal was knocked back and there’s no doubt that’s a blow for us but we have just got to get on with it,” he added.
“We do have players who can come in and fill those positions or maybe shuffle things around a bit.
“The manager has got a few options and I am sure that he will be giving that a lot of thought. Whoever plays in there will give it 100 per cent though, there’s no doubt about that.”