With Hearts having got back on the winning trail at Hamilton, these remaining fixtures ahead of the SPL “split” make interesting reading –
Saturday ?..19th Feb ??..15.00 .. v .. Dundee Utd .. (home)
Saturday ?..26th Feb ??..12.00 .. v .. Aberdeen ?.. (away)
Saturday ??5th March ?..15.00 .. v .. Kilmarnock ?(home)
Wednesday ..16th March ?.. 19.45 .. v .. Dundee Utd .. (away)
Saturday ?.. 19th March ?. 15.00 .. v .. St. Mirren ?.(home)
Sunday ??.. 3rd April ?? 12.45 .. v .. Hibernian ?. (away)
Saturday ?? 9th April ?.. 15.00 .. v .. Motherwell ?(home)
Saturday ??16th April ?. 15.00 .. v .. Inverness CT ..(away)
Hearts best points total at the “split” stage came (unsurprisingly) in season 2005-06 with 65. Next best is season 2003-04 with 55, followed by 2006-7 and 2008-09 with 54.
With 51 points already won, it is surely within our capability to beat that 65 points milestone – a minimum of 5 wins out of these 8 games would do it.
Hearts supporters know only too well that our club has always been prone to slipping up against similar or lower clubs when we least expect it. However JJ and his coaches seem to have got a good thing going at Tynecastle this season, and the feeling is that the squad has become stronger and more resilient than it was a year ago. The signing of Andy Webster adds to this view, I think.
Although the media have concentrated on Rangers` potential fixture congestion, it is actually Dundee United who have the most catching up to do, in terms of SPL matches – having played 4 matches fewer than Hearts at this stage. The Tannadice club will see this as a springboard to safely book their place in the Top 6 – however the additional midweek matches may take their toll on some of their key players, which in turn may benefit Hearts since we have to play each other twice.
As both Celtic and Rangers continue to sweep everyone else aside with relative ease, let`s not get despondent if 2nd place ends up being a bit beyond Hearts – the ability to win most of our matches is something we and the players should take great satisfaction from.