HEARTS manager John McGlynn accepted that his team’s major defect this season had again been costly yesterday, as the holders were knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Hibernian. The 1-0 defeat by their neighbours was the fourth game in their last five that Hearts have failed to score, with their last two goals having come from defenders – Danny Grainger, who is now out injured, and Marius Zaliukas.
“The lack of goals is the thing,” McGlynn said after the match. “It’s not rocket science: we need to strengthen in that department. That’s been the same since the first day I came in. We wanted to strengthen and with the financial situation at the football club we couldn’t bring anyone in. It’s probably going to haunt us all season, I would suggest.”
An SPL transfer embargo is currently in place at Tynecastle as a sanction for their inability to pay their players on time. Without it, the club might well have signed Rudi Skacel, who scored two goals in their 5-1 win over Hibs in the cup final back in May. They had two strikers on the bench yesterday – John Sutton came on as a substitute while Gordon Smith was unused – but neither has been given a run in the team, with McGlynn preferring to use Callum Paterson on his own up front.
“We’re all gutted,” McGlynn continued. “We’re the holders of the cup and we put an awful lot of effort and commitment into the game.
“We started the game very well and had a couple of good opportunities. We were in control of the situation to half-time, and in the second half the longer the game went the more it looked like it had 0-0 written all over it. There weren’t many goalscoring opportunities and we certainly never looked like losing a goal.
“But Hibs got the one break in the game. It’s a massive, massive deflection, and Jamie MacDonald can’t do anything about it at all. We threw everything forward to try and get the equaliser, but it never really fell for us in the box at all.”
The simmering dissatisfaction with McGlynn among a section of the Hearts support is sure to increase because of this defeat, but the manager appeared more concerned with a bigger issue. “I don’t know, to be honest with you,” he said when asked if the loss put him under more pressure.
“It’s obviously difficult circumstances, but I don’t know.
“The priority is that the football club survive. We shouldn’t underestimate that. We’ve got to ensure that the financial battle we have on our hands is won.
“We had a number of young players on the pitch today and have a number coming through. That is the way that we’re going.
“We aim to do better in the league, get ourselves up the table, and we’ve got a League Cup semi-final [against Inverness at Easter Road] to look forward to at the end of January. So there’s still a lot to play for.”