Robert Snodgrass explains new role and what Hearts need to beat Rangers and Celtic

Robert Snodgrass says he is loving his new role at Hearts but remains frustrated that the Edinburgh club took nothing from recent meetings with Rangers and Celtic. A 4-3 defeat at Tynecastle Park three weeks ago, plus Wednesday’s 1-0 reverse at Ibrox, leaves the 35-year-old feeling more belief is required against the Glasgow clubs.

Snodgrass has been a regular starter for Hearts in a deep-lying midfield role recently. He operated further forward previously in his career but is now being asked to use his experience to dictate and guide the team. Whilst thriving on the responsibility, he is somewhat irked that the club he joined in September have come close against Rangers and Celtic without managing to garner points.

Malik Tillman’s goal settled Wednesday’s affair at Ibrox, during which Snodgrass frequently helped start Hearts’ passages of play by taking the ball from defence. “We took the ball in tight areas, kept it and showed no fear but I think we lacked that bit of quality in the final third to cause Rangers problems,” he said. “I don’t think they had a lot of chances, it was quite even, and I think a draw would probably have been a fair result. It was a silly goal to lose on our part. We are kicking ourselves. I said to the lads we need to take the ball and not be afraid, I felt that last part just let us down. I’m proud of the lads after the Motherwell game last week. We showed courage to take the ball and try to play.

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“It’s not good when you take nothing from the game but it shows you when we’re gutted not to get anything at Ibrox. It’s just the belief that you can go and beat Celtic and Rangers. We ran them both close but you don’t get anything for coming close. You need to think like these top teams and have the belief to beat them. We wanted to take something at Ibrox to build momentum going into the Livingston game [on Saturday].”

The former Scotland internationalist is only now reaching optimum fitness as the World Cup break approaches. That is another source of frustration for him. The rest is probably coming at the wrong time. “I do agree with that. I knew I would start to get my fitness then the World Cup would start. That’s life,” he admitted.

“I haven't had a pre-season in three years so it’s been difficult. I had problems with my discs in my back and I feel I’m through that now. I said I needed five or six games and I’ll hopefully be where I want to be in terms of fitness. I’ve had two 90 minutes within 72 hours and put in good numbers in terms of stats and running. I’m feeling good fitness-wise.

“It’s a different position to what I’m used to. I’m playing as a sitter, trying to keep the ball, get the lads ticking and moving. It’s different from what I had in my career but I’m loving it. I love football so I will play anywhere and try to enjoy it as much as I can.”

Hearts midfielder Robert Snodgrass feels he is getting fitter all the time.