When you’ve not won an away game since September, going to the home of your greatest rivals and coming away with a point is not a bad result, particularly when you consider the let-off we had with Leigh Griffiths’ free-kick.
If the shoe was on the other foot, we’d be screaming from the rooftops, because there’s no excuse for a decision like that. Everyone connected with Hibs must have been absolutely flabbergasted.
It was a huge slice of fortune for us and hopefully it’s a sign that our luck is turning ahead of the League Cup final, because we’ve certainly not had much go our way this season. We’ve had so many untimely injuries and we had another one yesterday when Fraser Mullen had to go off early in the game and we had to throw another rookie into a big game in the shape of young Brad McKay. Our injury list is seemingly never-ending.
The first 20 minutes was the most positive period for Hearts yesterday. We had a couple of decent openings, with Danny Wilson missing a great chance and Andy Webster having a great effort in the second half, but overall we didn’t create as much as we’d have liked on the back of a really good victory against St Johnstone last week. While I thought Webster was outstanding at the back, I wasn’t quite so enamoured with the display of Arvydas Novikovas. He needs to be far better than that.
We’re now facing seeing out the season in the bottom six, so next Sunday’s League Cup final becomes the one that can save our season – it’s a truly massive game for the football club. And that’s why I’m absolutely bewildered by the timing of the latest big decision being made at our football club. I don’t know who is behind the decisions, but to sack a manager a week past Thursday and then appoint a new one this week, in the lead-up to a cup final, just seems ludicrous. It looks like it’s going to be Peter Houston, but it wouldn’t matter if it was Peter, Paulo Sergio or Jose Mourinho: to make the appointment in the week leading up to one of the biggest games in Hearts’ recent history is just utterly astounding.
I’m absolutely baffled as to why they’re not just letting Gary Locke and Darren Murray, who know the players inside out, take charge until the end of the season. If they were going to appoint someone new, why not get him in before the Hibs or St Johnstone game so he at least had the chance to take them for a game or two before the final.
There’s now going to be massive pressure on Peter’s shoulders on Sunday because there will be a huge expectancy from the Hearts support. If he was to lose the final, the game that matters most to every Hearts fan now, then straight away he’s bang up against it. He’d be judged within one game of taking charge. If Peter is appointed this week, it just puts unnecessary pressure on his shoulders and goes along with a multitude of decisions that have been taken over the past few years and led Hearts into such a wretched mess.
I think Lockey and his staff have handled themselves brilliantly and it’s disappointing that he looks like he’s going to be overlooked for the job. He’ll be downhearted, but he should take heart from the fact that John McGlynn had a shot as caretaker manager and then came back years later to get the job permanently and it looks like Peter Houston is going to do the same after having a shot at it some 12 years ago. It may be that Lockey is just going to have to bide his time.
Nonetheless, the players will just have to try and block out the upheaval and focus on a massive game. The Hampden success of last May is still fresh in the memory, but I don’t expect anything other than an extremely difficult 90 minutes.