Further evidence of Hearts resilience came in last night`s win at Paisley, when the team did enough to beat St. Mirren while keeping another clean sheet.
David Templeton apparently had a quiet game, yet his skill and persistence (along with a stroke of luck) was enough to earn him a goal and a penalty. This description is actually reminiscent of John Robertson. He could often be marked out of a game for 95% of it yet still produce his own brand of magic at the crucial time – especially against Hibs !!
Hearts were forced to make 3 changes last night due to injuries to Marian Kello, Rudi Skacel and Stephen Elliott – so in came Jamie McDonald, Ryan Stevenson and Calum Elliot. Hopefully at least one of the injured trio will be available for Saturday.
After the game, Jim Jefferies highlighted the squad`s belief and confidence built around a solid team work ethic. Just like season 1997-98, he believes a good league campaign comes from beating the middle-to-lower teams regularly – with points taken against the Old Firm being a bonus. Indeed, JJ went so far as to say that the current squad has a stronger depth to it than 12 years ago. It was good to see Lee Wallace take his place on the bench last night, with Andrew Driver expected to start full training in early January.
Hearts now go in to the New Year` Day derby as firm favourites – but JJ assured the fans that he will keep the players focused on what they need to do, regardless of Hibs lowly position. With one or both the Old Firm certain to drop points on Saturday, a Hearts win would move us tantalisingly close to 2nd place in the SPL – in addition to the obvious delight at maintaining the maroon dominance in Edinburgh !!