Hearts 0-1 St Johnstone: Three things learned from Daniel Stendel's first match in charge

Defeat for the Jambos as new manager takes to the Tynecastle dugout

Saturday, 14th December 2019, 5:07 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th December 2019, 5:08 pm
Hearts striker Aidan Keena battles with St Johnstone's Jason Kerr

New manager but same result

It will take time for Daniel Stendel to get Hearts playing the way he wants, but he also needs to recruit players in January. The current squad, as has been said for some time, needs improved if the Edinburgh club are to move away from the Premiership's relegation zone. The fact they failed to score against St Johnstone, with whom they sat joint-bottom at kick-off, underlines the need for more quality. Stendel has a big January ahead of him. He doubtless knew that before signing his Hearts contract. Creativity and pace from middle to front would seem to be a priority.

Touchline enthusiasm

Sign up to our Hearts newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The new manager was fairly entertaining by himself on the edge of his technical area. He kicked every ball, shouted, bawled, waved arms and complained at refereeing decisions which did not go his team's way. No-one wanted to get off to a convincing start more than the German. One noticeable feature was that he urged Hearts to play high up the pitch and squeeze their defence up at every opportunity. That left gaps in behind for St Johnstone's runners like Michael O'Halloran and Matty Kennedy, but it was clear Stendel had already noted the need for his team to play more on the front foot.

Aidan Keena

A rare start for the young Irish forward but he found himself taken off at half-time despite doing nothing evidently wrong during the first 45 minutes. Keena has been frustrated for much of the season awaiting an opportunity at first-team level and has had to bide his time. Neither Craig Levein nor Austin MacPhee felt he was ready for senior level just yet so starting Daniel Stende's first game in charge would have been a nice boost to the player's confidence. He may have been replaced because of an injury, although there was no sign of that towards the end of the first half.