Gary Mackay: Three pressure Hearts games – and why I feel Ryotaro Meshino was chucked in too early
Hearts now go into three games which are absolutely massive: Motherwell at home, Hibs away, and then a Betfred Cup quarter-final with Aberdeen at Tynecastle. That’s pressure under the current circumstances. Nothing is a given.
We all saw how the fans reacted to drawing 2-2 with Hamilton and clearly some of them have run out of patience. Maybe others are waiting to see what the next few weeks will bring, so it could be quite a defining period.
I looked through that Hamilton team on Saturday and didn’t recognise many names. One I recognised was the kid Sam Stubbs because of his dad, Alan, but other than him there weren’t many who were familiar.
Hearts have a number of internationalists and a budget far outweighing Hamilton’s so you weren’t expecting that result. There are one or two positivies – young Andy Irving did pretty well – but it’s concerning when you have to put a young left-back like Aaron Hickey in at right-back with the size of squad we have.
You can’t be anything but concerned. If the board aren’t concerned about the run of results then I’m even more worried. It would be interesting to know their thoughts and how they see the next few weeks and months panning out.
We have brought in another new player in Ryotaro Meshino, who looks a talented footballer. Given what went on at the weekend, I felt he was thrown in far too early. I felt it was an appeasement putting him in when they did but I think he was thrown in at the deep end, albeit I understand why he was viewed as the logical replacement when Euan Henderson got injured after 30 minutes.
He will offer something different and it looks like he has quite a direct style. However, like a lot of flair players, I think he will prosper on individual and collective confidence. That kind of confidence only comes from the team getting better results. That’s when these guys come to the fore and it will be down to his relationship with the other players how well he settles here.
For a number of reasons, the next few weeks will be very intriguing.