Hearts' dry spell is over, but Stephen Kingsley explains why they'll keep kicking on and ticking off
Just a couple of weeks ago Stephen Kingsley was describing a Hearts performance as “embarrassing” and “soft”. Now, buoyed by “dominant” victories over St Mirren and Aberdeen, he believes they are back on track and looking forward to the remainder of the season.
On course for a top-three finish and the reward of European football next term, they also have eyes on the Scottish Cup.
“During a season everyone knows that you are going to have these moments, these spells when it is not going so good. Obviously, we had that ourselves and we knew that the results hadn’t been great before the St Mirren game and we needed to do something about it.
“The most important thing is the reaction to it. You can’t let it dwell for the rest of the season or allow bad habits to come in.”
Ending the run of four league games without a win when they defeated St Mirren last Saturday and they followed that up with another comfortable victory over Aberdeen.
“I felt like the performance even before the man got sent off [in Paisley] was good and then this game was a really dominant performance against a good team.
“But, there can’t be any complacency. It is essential that we don't look too far ahead. We have just been through a dry spell so I don’t think the boys will look at this now and think ‘aye, we’ve done our jobs’. I don't think we can. We just need to keep kicking on and ticking off games as they come and try to finish with as many points as we can.”
Kingsley popped up with the second goal on Wednesday to guarantee the points after defensive colleague John Souttar opened the account.
It was the former’s fifth goal of the campaign, the one against this weekend’s foes Dundee United was another header, the other three have been set pieces.
“I have only scored once from open play and that was last season. Another goal in open play would be nice.”
But first and foremost it is about solidifying the defence and the recent return of Craig Halkett has allowed Hearts to reunite their preferred back three.
“It is massive. I felt a bit for Toby Sibbick who came in,” said the 27 year-old left-sided centre-back. “We play a certain way and have done all season. For a new guy coming in who doesn’t know the rotations… we play to a very certain style and we have the whole season and that is why we have been pretty successful. Everyone knows their job, and we are comfortable in that job.
“Toby came into a harsh environment, when we had had a couple of bad results and we maybe came away from that style. That made it tough for him.
“But Craig [Halkett] has come back in and he's been his dominant self. He is so aggressive when the ball is in the air, and defensively, and not only that, when he has got the ball he then turns into the calm, composed player who knows his role and knows what passes to look for. He has been under-rated this season, in my opinion, when you look at how well he has done and I’m delighted to have him back in the team.”
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