Ending March in fifth place in the Premiership is not what I or any Hearts supporter would have hoped for.
I think it’s safe to say that this season is not going to plan. Taken in isolation, a defeat by Aberdeen is not necessarily a massive concern because they are a very good team playing with real momentum. They can beat anyone on their day, especially at Pittodrie. I actually felt we started well enough, with Sam Nicholson going close on a couple of occasions. But once Aberdeen got their noses in front, it was pretty comfortable for them. We never really threatened, and that is very frustrating. I think the travelling support were entitled to expect a bit more.
Unfortunately, we have lacked consistency for a lot of the season and our form has gone to pieces in the last four months – which is why our season is in danger of unravelling.
There is obviously still enough time left for us to at least get back above St Johnstone and finish in the top four, but we’re going to somehow have to conjure an upturn in form amid what will be a really testing run of fixtures.
We have a formidable test against Celtic in our next match, while Saints visit a struggling Hamilton side so there’s a good chance they will still be above us if going into our meeting in Perth. That already looks like a potentially defining match in our bid to make the top four.
Having said that, considering how our last European adventure ended and the current shape we’re in, I’m sure I’m not the only Hearts supporter wondering if it’s actually worthwhile for us to be in Europe next season. It didn’t exactly do us much good last time round as we were humiliated by a Maltese side and ended up going into the campaign on a downer.
There’s an argument that if we are able to perform as meekly as we did last July with a relatively settled team that finished comfortably in third place, we could struggle even more if we were to scrape our way back into Europe with a team which is still some way off finding any cohesion and likely to undergo more transition in the summer.
All we can do at the moment is try and rediscover some form and some reason for optimism.