Gary MacKay: Barrie McKay and more attacking intent crucial for Hearts against Başakşehir

Inconsistency is a concern. There was a consistency about Hearts last season that has been missing in the early stages of this campaign.

Consistent results probably aligned itself to consistency of team selection last season. Right now we don’t have that due to a multitude of things, but mainly injuries to key players. The impact that has on team performances can’t be underestimated. It isn’t just their ability that has been missed, it’s also their presence.

Hearts haven’t been keeping clean sheets, but given that I was a more attack-minded player what’s disappointed me most in the games against Kilmarnock and Livingston is that we haven’t managed a shot on target. That is a worry, especially with so many talented forwards in the squad.

I have no doubt that Robbie Neilson, his staff and players will be working hard to solve the problem, but something will need to change. There needs to be more attacking intent.

Barrie McKay's creativity is key for Hearts, especially when the goals have dried up. He has the talent to unlock the door. Picture: Mark Scates / SNS

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Barrie McKay is hugely important at a period like this. His creativity is vital for Hearts – and that will be the case on Thursday against Istanbul Başakşehir.

When the goals dry up sometimes you are looking for something special to unlock the door and McKay is the one who can produce that. Hopeful he has something up his sleeve.

Playing at Tynecastle will work in Hearts’ favour and home advantage cannot be underestimated in Europe.

That first 45 minutes against FC Zurich was the best I’ve seen from Hearts at Tynecastle in a long time and shows just what they are capable of.

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Hearts don’t have anything to lose in this competition. The mindset going into the Zurich game was a positive one. The supporters got a lift from the players and vice versa. That comes from a front-foot attitude. Zurich are a quality side, so if Hearts are able to show that type of desire, determination and attacking quality, and maintain it for 90 minutes rather than 45, they have a chance of getting a positive result against Başakşehir.

What a lift players, staff and supporters would get if they could pull it off.