Good signs at Hearts
While its great to see our first-team heading in the right direction in the SPL, its worth noting a remarkable run of wins achieved by both the Reserves and the U-19 teams in the past 6 weeks - in particular, the impressive number of goals being scored.
Reserves : 3-2 v Celtic
5-0 v Hamilton
3-2 v Kilmarnock
1-0 v Hibs
U-19 : 3-1 v Hibs
7-0 v Kilmarnock
2-0 v Dundee Utd
2-1 v Celtic
Although I`ve not been able to witness any of these matches, I suspect it is no accident that both of these Hearts teams have significantly improved their results in recent weeks. Firstly, Csaba indicated a few months ago that he wanted his general tactical approach to games to be adopted by the Reserve and U-19 teams, so that players making the step-up to the first-team would find it easier to fit in. Secondly, the on-going clearout of older fringe players (Makela, Beslija, etc) has allowed the Reserve team to be mostly made up of U-19 boys, which must help to foster a good team spirit.
A third reason may actually be that our club has a batch of very promising young players !! When you read the reports of these matches, several names keep cropping up - David Templeton, Stephen Husband, Arvidas Novikovas, Craig Thomson, Ryan McGowan to name a few. Csaba has shown that he will not be tempted to throw these boys into the first team without giving them a thorough and gradual introduction to the big match-day experience as squad members first. He has clearly adopted that fine German characteristic of working to a rigid but proven process !!
There has been a bit of chat on this site recently about Hearts being the worst 3rd place team ever in the worst SPL ever. While I see where this view is coming from, I`ll play the Devil`s (Dick) Advocaat here ….. surely it`s a good thing for competition and general interest to have a league where all the top teams end up dropping points regularly ? OK - the Old Firm will still be 15+ points ahead of 3rd place at the finish. But we have had seasons where the gap has been 20+ points, so surely things are "improving". As for Hearts being unworthy to take 3rd place, I`d counter that by claiming that Hearts 3 attacking midfielders (Obua, Aguiar and Driver) are now the most exciting in the SPL - to the extent that I no longer see anything wrong with the alleged 4-5-1 style, since the team plays a clever passing game which quickly produces 3 or 4 forwards when the occasion arises.
With prices for new season tickets announced this week, it would be great if the club can now win back the 2,000 "lost" season ticket sales brought about by 2 years of joke management. The memory of Euopean nights at a noisy jam-packed Tynecastle seems a distant one - yet that is what we could be enjoying in a few months time. These are exciting times to be a Hearts supporter !!