Barrie McKay waits to break Hearts duck as he calls for Celtic performance to be taken into Livingston

Barrie McKay is a creative force. No player in the Hearts squad makes more chances more regularly than the 26-year-old.

Barrie McKay's influence is growing at Tynecastle. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Barrie McKay's influence is growing at Tynecastle. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

His vision is unmatched amongst team-mates. He sees passes that are not only difficult to execute but to the naked and normal eye don’t seem on.

McKay’s main job is to create. To get into those pockets to cause trouble and unease within opposition defences.

When he arrived in the summer, there was also an expectation that he would chip in with goals. He is yet to get off the mark, going the closest he has to doing so in the loss to Celtic on Thursday night.

McKay in action against Celtic. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

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Latching on to a loose ball after Gary Mackay-Steven had tripped himself, McKay had head in hands in the away end at Parkhead, as well as living rooms and pubs across the country.

“When I played Gaz through I fancied him to score but obviously he lost his footing and it fell to me,” he said.

“I was just thinking about getting my head down, making contact and keeping it low.

“It was a tight angle and the keeper and defenders were coming out as well. It was just past the post and probably summed up the chances we had. We just couldn’t convert.

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“The good thing was we created them. With the players we have in this team we will do that.

“Kingsley had a great chance and if he gets more on it he probably hits the target and scores and we are right back in the game.”

‘Wasn't meant to be’

The loss to Celtic was a captivating and, at times, thrilling encounter with both teams having chances.

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The Hearts performance was much improved on the 3-2 loss at Parkhead in the Premier Sports Cup, albeit overshadowed by officiating, with the winning goal appearing to be offside, and objects being thrown at McKay.

“A bit of disappointment,” the winger said. “We obviously had chances to get something from the game. It just wasn’t to be.

“They had chances as well and Craig has pulled off some great saves.

“We went out there after half-time and we chased the game.

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“We got into every game looking to win and that’s what we tried to do in the second half. We had chances and we limited them more.

“But they have quality and get through, but that’s why we have Craig in goal.”

He added: “You could see it on the screen in the stadium that he was offside and then you see it again after.

“The way our defenders reacted you could see they knew, and then you see it on the screen and it does look it.

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“You can’t change it after the ref has made the decision, you need to move on.

“That’s what we did in the second half, we put it to the back of our mind and played our own game rather than worrying about decisions.”

Now attention switches to Sunday's clash with Livingston and taking the second-half performance into the match in West Lothian.

“You take confidence from the way we played and the chances we created,” McKay said.

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“We go everywhere and want to implement our style and the way we play. We want to play to our strengths and we’ll look to do that on Sunday.”

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