Defensive shambles, not a team, Clare and Bozanic positives - Three takeaways as Hearts fell to derby defeat

Analysis from a Hearts perspective as Daniel Stendel sees his side lose 2-0 to Hibs

Thursday, 26th December 2019, 2:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th December 2019, 3:16 pm
It was another disastrous afternoon for Hearts. Picture: SNS

Defensive errors

Hearts fans have grown tired of it. Turn up, see the defence wilt, concede a goal and know three points are not forthcoming. It took just six minutes for the problem to rear its head again. A looped, hopeful ball in from Scott Allan was volleyed home by Martin Boyle too easily. Christophe Berra watched the ball sail over his head, while Joel Pereira's positioning was suspect. The second goal saw Loic Damour dispossessed by Allan and Boyle waltz between the centre-backs to double the lead. It's now at the point where the opposition don't have to do too much, Hearts are simply beating themselves. The whole first-half was a shambles defensively and simply a continuation of what has gone on this campaign. Craig Halkett was so far off the pace, Christophe Berra erratic rather than reliable and in Joel Pereira, the club have unearthed a goalkeeper who doesn't seem to save shots.

A collection of individuals

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There is a number of phrases that could be used to describe this Hearts squad, a ‘collection of individuals’ is probably one of the more kinder ones with no expletives. Simply put, at the moment, this isn’t a team. It’s a squad, collection, a mishmash of individuals who fans are not happy represent Heart of Midlothian. There were genuine fears among the home support that this was going to be a thrashing after Hibs went two ahead after the half-hour mark. There was no cohesion, no togetherness. Team-mates weren’t covering each other or working in a partnership. To win a derby you need to dig in when the going is tough and the ball is pin-balling about the pitch. You need to be switched on, willing to help. There was little of that in the opening 45 minutes. Forty-five minutes which were a microcosm of the club's season so far and another staging post of a club sleepwalking towards relegation.

Much-maligned duo

Two of the very few players who came out of the game with anything close to pass marks were Sean Clare and Oliver Bozanic. The duo are much-maligned among the Hearts support but they were two who took pride in their performance. Clare, at right-back, was constantly looking to drive the team forward, take players on and look to create something, anything. If a move didn't come off, he would look to get on the ball again and again. He didn't shirk and didn't hide, getting back behind the ball to intercept, tackle or block. Bozanic, a second-half substitute, helped the home side get a modicum of control in the game. He, unlike many of his team-mates, was willing to put his foot on the ball, control it and pass it on the deck. He switched play, passed forward, tracked back. A pity few others followed the lead of Clare and Bozanic.