Talking point: Why Hearts’ first defeat of the season changes little in the grand scheme

The Hearts players show their disappointment at Ibrox.
The Hearts players show their disappointment at Ibrox.
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Hearts were never going to go through the entire season undefeated.

While most supporters would have been hopeful of extending their impressive run by another game at least, nobody is overly surprised that it came to an end at Ibrox. This is a venue at which they last won in 2014 and where Rangers haven’t lost, domestically or in Europe, this season under Steven Gerrard.

If Rangers and Hibs can lose at Livingston, and Celtic can suffer defeat at Kilmarnock, then Hearts, given the backdrop, can be excused a bad day at the office at one of the most formidable arenas in Scottish football. Despite the abject nature of the goals they conceded, Craig Levein’s team can take some solace from the fact they matched Rangers for long periods in general play and were never outclassed. As the manager was at pains to stress, if they had been more switched on defensively, as is usually the case, then they would have had a good chance of taking something from the game.

With the international break allowing them almost a fortnight to banish any negativity associated with suffering a first competitive defeat in almost five months, Hearts should be confident about getting back on track when they host Aberdeen, a side they took four points from in Edinburgh last season, in their next match. They recovered impressively from the setback of dropping points at home to Livingston a few weeks ago; with the influential Uche Ikpeazu having had another two weeks to work on his sharpness after his recent lay-off, there is no reason they can’t do the same this time. A look at the league table - which shows them two points clear of Hibs at the top, three points ahead of Celtic and five above Rangers - should give them all the encouragement they need to get back on the horse and continue building on the solid foundations that have been put in place over the past few months.