Here are three observations from Hearts’ emphatic victory over Dundee as they marched six points clear at the top of the Premiership.
Hearts know how to recruit a centre-back
With John Souttar and Christophe Berra out, Hearts are effectively operating with their third and fourth-choice centre-backs at present in Jimmy Dunne and Clevid Dikamona, but this pair would be first picks for most teams in the league on the evidence of their performances so far. While much has already been said and written about how well Dunne has slotted in since arriving in August, Dikamona has now shown in his first two starts for the club - and also in a couple of promising substitute outings - that he is also a defender of substance equipped to help Hearts maintain their solid base. The Congolese defender strolled through the 90 minutes at Dens Park and looks comfortable with the physical aspect of Scottish football.
Djoum getting back to his best
After the recent defeat away to Rangers, some supporters questioned whether Arnaud Djoum should retain his place in the team. The Cameroon midfielder has emphatically vanquished any such doubts with superb back-to-back displays against Aberdeen and Dundee. Although not a natural left midfielder, Djoum is growing into the position and has licence to drift inside and influence proceedings whenever the opportunity arises. Got himself into some good areas at Dens Park and caused Dundee plenty problems. Looks to be thriving on the increased competition for a midfield berth as he gets back towards his best form.
Resting Lee a further sign of squad depth
Hearts’ squad depth has been a recurring theme this season but it is worth reiterating simply because it is so unusual for a Scottish team outwith Celtic or Rangers to have so many quality options. Even without four of their best players through injury in Peter Haring, Uche Ikpeazu, Christophe Berra and John Souttar, manager Craig Levein still felt he had enough quality in his squad to rest another of his team’s main men this season as Olly Lee, an ever-present so far, started on the bench. With Sean Clare, an unused sub at Dens Park, still to be fully added to the mix, Hearts still have a seriously strong look about them even without so many key men.