The moment of extreme anxiety came when manager Robbie Neilson decided to bring off Tony Watt. The faithful like Watt’s drifting style of play but on Saturday he had drifted right out of goalscoring contention. Mind you, a spirited Dundee having just biffed the woodwork for the fourth time won’t have helped their nerves any.
On came Robbie Muirhead who made the opener for Callum Paterson and later on came Johnsen. “I think the fans have to understand that if someone drops out, it’s not the end of the world,” the American said. “Someone else can come in and help out. They have to understand that none of us is angry about being on the bench. We’re all ready to play and whoever comes in is going to be playing full throttle. A lot of teams don’t have a squad of 20 guys. The fans need to relax a little and see the whole team.”
Mind you, Johnsen was agitated inside. He was wondering how long it would take him to find the net for Hearts. “It was a relief to get the goal and right now I’m happy, excited. It’s always a relief for a striker to get his first goal, it takes the pressure off and makes you not think as much.
“The pressure was just from myself, no one else. When Tony scored his first for Hearts [against Partick Thistle in August] you saw his relief. You want to score and look forward. My goal was a big moment for me and my family. They’ve been pushing me to relax, stay calm and not stress myself.”
Paterson’s goal was a big moment in this game. “They’d hit the post or the bar four times – we needed it,” added Johnsen. His own was a poacher’s effort from a Jamie Walker cross. The 24-year-old, who was born in North Carolina and came to Gorgie via the leagues of Norway (his father is Norwegian), Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria, described it as “crummy” but they all count, especially if it is your first.
It was the product of a nice week. “In the international break we’re not allowed to kick a ball so I went to my girlfriend’s house in Spain and relaxed. I needed it; I’m still getting used to the rain in Edinburgh. This is a big city but we’re quiet people. We like to be in the shadows. So maybe that helped me score the goal.”
Two of Dundee’s efforts which found wood came from Tom Hateley. He skimmed the bar with a free-kick in the first half and skudded a post after the break. The defeat sent his team to the bottom of the league but he refused to be downcast.
“In a progressive way we’ve gone from not creating much in the past few weeks to making a lot of opportunities at a difficult venue,” said Hateley.
“I feel the result was harsh on us but if we keep working hard and creating these chances then inevitably they’ll start hitting the post and going in, or just going straight in. That would be nice.”
“It’s disappointing to find ourselves at the bottom but there’s a long way to go. The fans were great for us here and we gave them a clap at the end to show our appreciation for sticking by us.
“I don’t think many people will disagree that we put in a good enough performance to take something from this game. I’m confident we’ll turn things around.”