Callum Paterson has admitted Hearts need to find another gear soon if they are to avoid dropping off the pace in their bid for a top three Premiership finish.
Paterson’s satisfaction at scoring his seventh goal of the season for the Tynecastle club on Monday night was diminished by the fact it only earned a point from the 3-3 thriller at Hamilton Accies.
It was a third successive draw for fourth-placed Hearts, who have now gone four games in total without a league win, and leaves them three points behind Rangers in the race for Europa League qualification places.
Robbie Neilson’s side now face consecutive home fixtures, against Motherwell on Saturday and then Rangers next Wednesday, with Paterson anxious to snap out of their current sequence of results.
“We need to get our foot back on the gas and get some wins again,” said the 22-year-old right-back. “That’s four games without a win now, so we want to get back to winning ways because we want the club to be back up the top end of the table again this season and qualifying for Europe.”
Paterson’s 86th minute goal saved Hearts from defeat after they had trailed 3-1, having opened the scoring early in the first half before allowing Accies to seize the initiative.
“I’m not delighted about my goal, to be honest, because we went to Hamilton to win and we didn’t do it because we weren’t good enough,” added Paterson.
“Yes, we showed great spirit to get back into the game but we only got one point and we went there for three. We probably went off at half-time on top, even though it was 1-1 by then, so to lose a goal so early in the second half as we did was so disappointing.
“If you take your foot off the gas you can get punished and they punished us again when they went 3-1 up.
“We showed good character to come back but it wasn’t good enough, at the end of the day.”
Paterson’s impressive goal return has him on course to match his career best tally for Hearts of 11 which he recorded in the 2013-14 season.
“I’m good at attacking – probably better than I am defending,” he said with a smile. “So I think I’m a threat and thankfully I took another chance on Monday night and that’s seven goals for the season. It’s not my best return but I’ve got a few games left. I said I wanted 11 again at the start of the season because that’s my best return.”
Paterson also relished his role as a right wing-back on Monday night as head coach Neilson, pictured, deployed a new formation with three central defenders. “It was a different set-up for us, we were experimenting, but it worked to an extent,” added the Scotland international.
“We were good defensively most of the night but Hamilton took their chances. Teams are always going to get chances. I like the formation because it’s an aggressive system. We have three defending and the rest attacking. So I quite like it and it’s always interesting to add new strings to your bow.”