Hearts boss Daniel Stendel focuses on positives as he preaches patience

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Daniel Stendel admits Hearts face a long and bumpy road to recovery despite some positive signposts from the lengthy trip to the Highlands.

The Hearts manager saw his bottom of the table team improve on recent league form and lop a single point off Hamilton’s advantage on them in the relegation zone, from five points to four.

Hearts boss Daniel Stendel watched his side draw in the Highlands. Picture: SNS

Hearts boss Daniel Stendel watched his side draw in the Highlands. Picture: SNS

But it was also a night in which the Tynecastle team failed to ignite on the back of a rousing Scottish Cup beating of Airdrie.

Stendel stressed: “I said to the players, we need to take the positives – and we are unbeaten in 2020, three games in a row.

“But in our situation, we all know we need wins to change where we are in the table.

“It’s a long way to go – we are not going to change it in one or two games.

“It would have been better if we won, but we need to take the point and go on to Rangers.”

Stendel admits there was a lack of cutting edge in the display, despite finishing the game with a wealth of attacking options on the park.

He stressed: “I expected a better performance, especially in the first half from our team.

“After the victory over Airdrie on Saturday, I thought we would play with so much more confidence.

“We had problems in our play in the last third and we didn’t really create chances in the first half.

“In the second half, it was better and we had some good chances, but we need to score the first goal.

“Then it is easier for us, but Ross County also had a big chance in the second half.”

Having exited the Scottish Cup to Championship Ayr United in dismal fashion, Count6y co-manager Steve Ferguson was satisfied by a convincing response.

He said: “It was much improved from Saturday. We asked the players for a reaction, and to get back to the principles we believe in.

“I felt from the start right to the finish you could see that in abundance.

“I felt we were really unlucky not to go in at half-time ahead, I thought we were excellent in the first half and created a good few chances without managing to get a goal.

“The pleasing thing for Stuart and I was the intensity we played at, the body language and everything off the ball. We did well on the ball as well.

“We wanted three points. On another day we might have got them, but we didn’t. On the back of what we asked of the players, I don’t think they could have done any more.

“Hearts are always dangerous – they are full of good players and they are a huge club. We always know we are going to need a bit of luck, and we are going to need to defend really well if we are not concede.

“We kept that clean sheet and rightly so. Everybody will credit the back four and goalkeeper with that, but I thought the midfield four in front of that and two strikers contributed to us being really difficult to play through.”

Ferguson felt a little bit of luck might have seen County take full points.

He added: “Collectively, we felt we defended our goal well, so we were pleased with that.

“But I also felt there was a right strong claim for a penalty for handball amid a bit of a ruck in the penalty area.

“You need that bit of luck to win games and that deserted us. Having seen it again on the video again, there was a clear handball at a corner.”