Hearts v Livingston: McGlynn demands Hearts be ruthless
HEARTS go into tonight’s League Cup tie against Livingston in a much-improved state of mind following their 3-0 win over Dundee United at the weekend.
Before a Callum Paterson double and another goal by Arvydas Novikovas wrapped up the points, they had not won since the opening day of the season and had scored just once in their previous five outings.
Having said that, manager John McGlynn remains very wary of tonight’s opponents, who he is convinced will turn up at Tynecastle ready to throw everything they have at his team. “A home draw is obviously perfect but it’s still a potential banana skin like a lot of these games,” McGlynn said yesterday. “Livingston have nothing to lose.
“We need to play at a high tempo and put Livingston under pressure. They’re coming off the back of a 4-0 defeat [by Dunfermline], so I’m sure John Hughes and John Collins will be looking for a response. We should go out and have real ruthlessness about us to get the job done.”
Although the pressure was steadily increasing on McGlynn and Hearts as their run of games without a win grew longer, the manager himself remained confident that the team were not far away from getting everything right. The lack of strikers has been a problem – John Sutton, the only recognised front man with any real experience, continues to misfire – but Paterson’s display at Tannadice has at least presented the manager with one possible solution.
The teenager, who can also play wide right in midfield or defence, will deservedly keep his place this evening. McGlynn knows that the time will come when Paterson needs a break from first-team football, but so far has been extremely impressed by the ease with which he has fitted in at this level.
“He did exceptionally well [against United]. He’s been getting into the areas in the park to miss chances and that’s the first thing you’ve got to do. Eventually they’ll go in. He’ll take a massive boost from that and so will everyone else. It’s just a matter of seeing how he continues and how he develops. He’s still very young and we’ll need to handle him carefully.”
The same could be said for several other members of the squad, but Hearts still have a wealth of talent in their squad, and McGlynn is confident that, if his team do themselves justice, they will take their place in the draw for the quarter-finals. “We can take great confidence and belief from our performance on Saturday,” he said. “Not only on Saturday. I’ve been saying that I don’t think we’ve been playing that badly. We’ve not been getting wee breaks and we were excellent in two games against Liverpool.
“We don’t become a bad team overnight. I didn’t believe that myself, but it’s trying to convince others who think differently. Saturday should have us in a right good frame of mind and attitude going into the game. [It’s] a game at Tynecastle under lights, good atmosphere and a great opportunity, one that our attitude’s got to be spot on for. We’re going to try and play as strong a team as we can. In about three games’ time, there is an international break. I think that’s when we can recharge the batteries. We’ve seen in the past, putting out weakened teams can lead to problems. We’re not taking anything for granted, but the Hearts fans have just been to Hampden and obviously enjoyed that. Whether it’s the Scottish Cup or the League Cup, you want to do well in everything, so we’ll be playing the strongest team that we possibly can.”
Centre-half Andy Webster, who missed the trip to Tannadice because of a back injury, is expected to miss out again this evening, leaving Darren Barr to partner Marius Zaiukas at the heart of the home defence. And German midfielder Denis Prychynenko is definitely unavailable, having picked up an injury in training.
“Webster’s still in the same situation he was at the weekend – there’s no real improvement there,” McGlynn explained. “At this stage, I don’t see him taking part. The subs from the game on Saturday trained yesterday and, unfortunately, Denis went over on his ankle, so he’s going to be out of the equation.”
Meanwhile, right-back Ryan McGowan, who turned down a move to Rangers at the end of last month, is edging closer to agreeing a new contract – something that McGlynn thinks will be well deserved. “Everyone knows that there was the Rangers interest and he turned that down. It would be a massive boost to Hearts to get someone like Ryan tied up on a longer contract.
“Hopefully that was part of the reason why he didn’t sign for Rangers.
“It’s ongoing. That’s positive, I would suggest. He’s been here a long time now. It’s only in the last year or so that he’s actually become a regular. He’s still got a bit to go and I think it would be good for Hearts to continue his development and for Ryan to stay here a bit longer and still learn. He’s got plenty time, but we’ll wait and see what happens.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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