Hearts ‘must turn chances into goals’ after Ross County draw

Hearts' Tony Watt (right) sees his shot saved by County goalkeeper Scott Fox. Picture: SNS.
Hearts' Tony Watt (right) sees his shot saved by County goalkeeper Scott Fox. Picture: SNS.
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Let them eat cake. If you were a professional observer of this game there was a selection of sponges and muffins at the interval – as well as the traditional pies. “Do they know the second half is going to be rubbish or something?” quipped one hack. Unfortunately, that was the way it turned out.

The first 45 minutes had been goalless but intriguing. Hearts had created a number of chances but couldn’t find a way past star man Scott Fox – surely the pressure would tell in the end.

On the other hand Ross County were showing the kind of resilience that had won them the League Cup last season – did they have a late breakaway goal in them?

But these questions wafted off in the stiff breeze at Tynecastle, along with what good football there had been up until that point. County couldn’t record their first win in Gorgie in ten attempts. Hearts failed to score for the second week running.

“We have had the same problem in the last two games,” said Hearts’ Cameroon midfielder Arnaud Djoum. “We created a lot of chances but didn’t score. When you look at the league it’s very frustrating. We should have had six points from these games but we only have one.”

The Hearts man tried to stay optimistic. “It’s not as if we are playing bad – it’s just about the little details,” he added. “If we can turn the play into goals then everything will be fine. We have to keep working hard in training and try to score goals.” He reiterated: “Everything will be fine.”

Djoum, pictured right, emphasised that goals were a team concern. “It’s not just about the strikers. Other players can score – midfielders like me or a defender from a corner. Everyone has to focus towards scoring. You cannot put the fault solely on the strikers.” But he still believes Hearts can be Celtic’s closest challengers. “We have a strong team, we have the quality,” he said.

His confidence is impressive. Hearts have packed a lot into this campaign already.

After a tough start there were questions about who was picking the team. They responded with three fine wins but are now in the middle of a mini-goal drought. While their shooting was seriously awry in the second half, however, they have to give credit to the Fox in the box for keeping them out in the first period.

Twice the Staggies’ keeper denied Tony Watt while Conor Sammon and Igor Rossi could find no way through either.

County’s Jonathan Franks praised his keeper’s performance but said they’d come to expect fine displays from him. “Foxy has been brilliant. He had a good game last week [in County’s draw at Ibrox]. He has a good game every week. When we’ve needed him he’s been there to keep us in contention.”

Asked if he was the best in the league, the midfielder said: “I don’t know. He’s really good, he’s got to be up there. He’s obviously been involved with Scotland and I was surprised he wasn’t in the last squad.

“It gives the whole team confidence knowing we can rely on him.”