Three takeaways from Hearts' 1-1 draw with Aberdeen
Analysis after Daniel Stendel picks up his first point since taking charge at Tynecastle
Clare forming a bond
Sean Clare has been cheered off on more than one occasion by the Hearts supporters - but it has tended to be in a derogatory manner, with the Englishman having struggled to win over supporters in his first year at the club. On this occasion, however, he was cheered off following his red card by an appreciative support who recognise that, having been switched to right-back, he has been one of the team's best performers under Daniel Stendel. Clare, who has also had his desire questioned by some critics, responded by geeing up the crowd as he made his way off the pitch. If he continues in this vein after the winter break, the Englishman could be a key man under the German.
Bearing in mind the circumstances and the calibre of the opposition, this was arguably Hearts' best display of the season. They played some lovely football at times, passing out from the back and playing out of tight areas with a level of confidence not seen from them for some time. The introduction of teenagers Andy Irving and Euan Henderson, allied to the return to form of fleet-footed Japanese attacker Ryotaro Meshino, were key to this new-found vibrancy. Even after they went down to ten men, Hearts were able to maintain an impressive level of composure. The Stendel effect looks to be taking hold at Tynecastle.
After being slaughtered by their own supporters for most of 2019, Hearts signed off for the year on a positive note with a performance which had their fans roaring their approval. In a stadium which has been gripped by negativity for so long now, it would have been refreshing for the players, and for Daniel Stendel, to feel a bit of electricity from the stands as supporters responded to an impressive Hearts display. It served as some proof that if the players show passion and intent, they will get the backing of their home supporters. Although they fell further adrift at the foot of the table, this match may just count as something of a turning point.