Why Barrie McKay is comfortable with Hearts fans' high demands

Barrie McKay made his professional breakthrough at a club where defeat is considered a dirty word and the pressure is always on.

Since leaving Rangers he has experienced life at clubs whose standards are not quite as exacting. But, the Hearts winger says that the response of the Gorgie faithful to the team’s first league defeat of the season, away to Aberdeen last weekend, left him in no doubt of the expectation levels at Tynecastle.

“When you’re at a bigger club, one defeat feels like the end of the world. That’s the pressure we have to deliver for the fans. They pay their money so they can have their opinions but it’s about bouncing back and showing them we can get back to winning ways.

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“Since I’ve come in, I’ve seen first-hand how [Hearts fans] really get behind the team. Whether it’s positive or negative, the fans always make themselves heard.

Heart's Barrie McKay is enjoying life at the Tynecastle club. Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group

“I have been at places where maybe the fan base isn’t as high and if you lose a game you can just get on with your life. Here, you play under that pressure and that’s where you want to be as a footballer. You want to be playing under the pressure at the bigger clubs, where every time you walk over the white line you need to perform.

“But stuff like that comes from inside. When I left Rangers I still played for big clubs and everyone wants to win. As I said you don’t go out wanting to get beat or draw games. So, if you’re not winning, you’re disappointed.

“Everyone was hurting after the loss but it was just an off day when nothing seemed to click and you just need to put it down to that. I’m sure we’ll bounce back.”

Insisting that one defeat will not define their season, McKay has thrived on the style of play that leans heavily on the front players and offers the 26 year-old plenty of opportunity to express himself but now he wants to add goals to his contribution and would love to start against Dundee United, today.

Looking to convince Scotland boss Steve Clarke that it is worth adding to the solitary cap earned in 2016, McKay is hoping Hearts can quickly recapture that form and build on it.

“It’s important that you play football in the right way and have an idea of how to play and we’ve done that. You can see with the way we move and pass the ball that every player is buying into it. That’s important. All the players trust each other as well.

“I think I’ve been playing well but I’ve been disappointed that I’ve not been able to score or assist as much as I’d have liked to. But, it’ll come. I’ll just keep playing my own game.

“Since I’ve come in, I’ve created chances and I’ve had a few chances to score myself, but just not been able to put it away. Hopefully that clicks soon.”

Back in front of the Hearts support, at Tynecastle this afternoon, the greater ambition is to get back to winning form after the unbeaten run was halted by Aberdeen.

“It was probably going to come at some point. I’ve got no problems with the boys bouncing back. They’ve been brilliant all season.”

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