Gary Mackay: There can’t be any excuses – Hearts have plenty players to cope with injuries

Some positive results in the last week are tempered somewhat by an injury to Craig Halkett, who has very quickly become an integral part of the team. It’s not only Hearts at the moment, other clubs have injuries as well.
Hearts defender Craig Halkett is out unitl after the new yearHearts defender Craig Halkett is out unitl after the new year
Hearts defender Craig Halkett is out unitl after the new year

That’s why, in terms of numbers, we have a squad as big as any so there can’t be excuses.

It’s very disappointing for the lad and now we will have Halkett and John Souttar out at the same time for a period. However, that’s why there are more than 30 players in the squad. We simply need to work with them and make the best of what is there.

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There is a bit of pressure again this weekend because, after getting a draw in Paisley, it’s again about picking up three at home to Kilmarnock. Beating your oldest rivals is massive and that lifted us off the bottom of the table a wee bit. A point at St Mirren means you still need a victory to possibly overtake any of the three teams who sit directly above you in the table – one of which is Kilmarnock.

It’s usually after the first round of matches that you look at how the league is shaping up. So normally it would be time to evaluate after 11 games. We go into the eighth round this weekend and it’s up to Hearts to make sure they get on the front foot again.

It was clear to see on Saturday that the stall was set out to make sure we were strong and resolute. We had a few half-chances but nothing you would say was really clear-cut. That can’t really be the case against Kilmarnock. We have to be the team which is dominant from the first minute and have a right go at them. An early lead would be nice to lift the supporters, as happened by coming back twice against Aberdeen.

If you have four points after playing Hibs and St Mirren, and then you face Kilmarnock at home, you would be disappointed if you did not end up with seven points from nine available in those three matches. If you end up with five out of nine, is it really that successful a period? If you end up with four out of nine, it almost renders the win at Hibs worthless.

The next result is always the most important in football.