Gary Mackay: Hearts fans need to see more of the togetherness shown against Hibs
The spirit within the Hearts playing staff and coaching staff against Hibs is ultimately what supporters want to see. That’s what they haven’t seen lately. If they see that kind of togetherness, they will respond to it.
The fans certainly responded at Easter Road on Sunday and that’s the togetherness Heart of Midlothian Football Club has been about since the proposed sale of Tynecastle way back in the early 2000s.
If you are involved in a group which has had the worst run of results by a Hearts team in 41 years, then you want to do something about it quickly. Going back 41 years, that’s when I was a supporter and we were a yo-yo club because we were up and down the leagues.
Things had to change this season and Hearts couldn’t have picked a better game to change it than an Edinburgh derby.
I have to say it was against one of the poorest Hibs midfields that I have seen. They weren’t a great team overall but particularly in the middle of the pitch.
However, winning will still give us such a lift. It gives us a lift going into a massive game tomorrow against Aberdeen in the Betfred Cup quarter-final. A semi-final this early in the season does make things look a lot more positive if you can get there while you are starting to climb the league.
Aberdeen’s motivation will certainly be plentiful because they will want to reach the semis as well. The enthusiasm Hearts garnered yesterday must be taken with them into tomorrow’s game and to St Mirren in the league on Saturday. Saints will be dangerous opponents because they are facing a bit of a struggle in the league themselves.
There is a fair bit of money on offer if you reach the Betfred Cup semis, but ultimately the supporters want to see performances. The biggest thing for Hearts on Sunday was that, after going 1-0 down, they actually went and played. That needs to continue.
The changes gave us an opportunity to pass and move the ball. That’s why we got into wide areas. We started getting more corners and things like that because we were playing with a bit of freedom. That’s what the fans want. Yes, at times we need to go back-to-front, but when Glenn Whelan was on the ball and Callumn Morrison was involved with Jake Mulraney and Ryotaro Meshino, we caused Hibs lots of problems. These guys are comfortable with the football and you want to get it into their feet.
If you are a good central midfielder, like Andy Irving, for example, you don’t want to be like a table-tennis net with the ball flying about above you.
All credit to the players for turning it round at Easter Road. What Craig Levein has been wise in saying is that it’s only a start. When you have gone 12 games without a league win since last season, winning an Edinburgh derby it is a massive boost - if it becomes a building block for better things.