Three observations from the Gorgie men's win at Tynecastle courtesy of Sean Clare's second-half goal.
Good things come to those who wait
Match winner Sean Clare has taken a fair bit of stick from sections of the Hearts support since arrival in Gorgie four months ago. Considering there was interest from a host of English Championship clubs all vying for his signature, it was deemed something of a coup for Craig Levein to capture the former Sheffield Wednesday player on a three-year deal.
It’s taken the 22-year-old longer than expected to adjust to his new surroundings but netting his first goal for the club will be a huge weight off his shoulders. It’s been a long time coming with no goals in 13 appearances prior to this afternoon’s encounter with Livingston. Craig Levein and his backroom staff – not to mention the supporters – will hope Clare can kick on from here.
Feel-good factor continues
Hearts ended 2018 on a positive note, none more so than the 1-0 win over city rivals Hibs. Levein’s players have now won three games on the trot since last month's back-to-back defeats against Livingston and Aberdeen, where they also failed to score a goal and conceded seven. It’s worth noting the current run is their best since the club racked up 13 matches without defeat at the beginning of the season.
With consecutive home Premiership fixtures against Dundee and St Johnstone to come over the next six days, not forgetting a home draw to the lowest-ranked side Auchinleck Talbot in the next round of the the William Hill Scottish Cup, there is a lot to be optimistic for Hearts supporters over the coming weeks and months.
A Sweet win
Not only did Hearts seal a place in the next round of the cup, eliminating Livingston will have made today's victory all the more satisfying. Barring a cup win over Hibs or either side of the Old Firm, Livi would have been next on the Hearts supporters' hit list. Although it won't banish the humiliation of last month's capitulation at the Tony Macaroni Arena, getting one over Gary Holt's side was just what the doctor ordered.
Prior to Sean Clare’s winner, Hearts hadn't scored against the Premiership newcomers this season. Failure to beat the West Lothian outfit for a third time would have been deemed unacceptable in some quarters. However, Hearts can now look forward to next month’s visit of Livi on league duty having got that monkey off their back.