I`m not normally one for ranting about things – but the attitude of some fans at Saturday`s match against St Mirren was enough to “get me going”.
The loss of a late goal in any game which denies our favourites a win is always a big disappointment. But what increasingly annoys me is how some fans` opinion of individual players and their 90-minute performances seems to be governed by the final score – basically if we haven`t won, then no-one could possibly have played well. A couple of back-to-back defeats tends to bring talk of “emptying” most of the team in the next transfer window !! A quick look at JambosKickback after a defeat shows this quite starkly.
So I am pleading for a bit more realism from fans when assessing our squad of players, and the effectiveness of manager Csaba Laszlo. Sure, we all have our favourites (and scapegoats !!). We`d probably all like to see so-and-so played in position X instead of position Y ? have 3 forwards ?.and of course, we`re all able to make better substitutions during a match than the manager.
Nothing new there. But surely there has to be more to being a football fan than just gloating over a win and moaning after a defeat ? An appreciation of recent history, and the strange economic circumstances which are now engulfing the game would go some way to developing a more balanced view of things, I think.
An important fact to be considered is that our team has suffered 2 years of awful football management, from the incompetent puppetry of Messrs Rix, Ivanauskas, Malofeev, Korabochka & Cervenkov through to the more honest inadequacy of Stephen Frail. I am impressed with Csaba Laszlo, and pleased that he seems to enjoy relative freedom and trust from Vladimir. However he has only been in charge for 8 months, with limited scope for new signings – and he has just been forced to lose his best defender. To have improved the professionalism, results and performance levels of the team to reach 3rd place in the SPL is way beyond the aspirations I had back in August.
Fans should also take a close look at the SPL table and the actual results of games not involving Hearts. Only 15 points separate 3rd from 10th. A total of 156 matches have been played so far, with almost 70% of them ending in either a draw or in a one-goal win. If you strip out matches involving the Old Firm, that percentage rises to around 80%. In other words, everyone is capable of beating everyone else, but most results are extremely close. In Hearts case, we have dominated some games which we failed to win (e.g. Dundee Utd and Hibs at Tynecastle) – and the main reason is simply our poor goal-scoring ability. The fact that we were able to dominate these games should itself be a cause for optimism rather then grumbling.
The multi-million pound teams at Celtic and Rangers (each with several 20-goals-a-season strikers) have managed to forge a whole 15 points ahead of a rehabilitating young Hearts side who don`t even have a single 10-goals-a-season striker !! That is a remarkable economic irony, and we should commend Csaba Laszlo for being able to master-mind a set of tactics which allows us to be even close to their level.