Jack Hamilton believes the strength of character at Tynecastle has been the over-riding factor in a resurgence in form that has made Hearts the main challengers to Celtic in the early part of the season.
As Rangers lick their wounds from a derby mauling and unimpressive start to the campaign and Aberdeen try to find a solution to their sluggish opening, Hearts seem galvanised with three straight wins.
They even have the chance to go above Celtic, albeit for 24 hours, if they can win in Perth on Saturday and the new No 1 goalkeeper says Robbie Neilson’s side will only get better.
Hamilton said: “We’ve got a good changing room and all the boys are together but nothing is ever perfect and we’re still building and trying to get better as the games go on.
“The boys are gelling, the new boys that have come in are working well together and hopefully we can continue that.
“We have done well in the past three games and the Aberdeen game before that.
“We went through a bad run where we went out of the Europa League and then lost to Celtic on the first game of the season and got knocked out the League Cup by St Johnstone but we’ve reacted pretty well in the last four games.
“The defeat to Birkirkara was something that hurt. It hurt a lot of the players and it was hard because we wanted to go on and do well in Europe.
“It’s how we’ve reacted to it. We’ve bounced on now and are doing all right. If a poor run was going to happen it probably happened at the right time, right at the start. Celtic was a tough start the league and then to go and kick on from a bad defeat to St Johnstone and get a point at Aberdeen was great, and then the next three games after that have taken care of themselves.”
Sam Nicholson was the game-changer last weekend, coming off the bench to set up the equaliser against Hamilton, win a penalty and then score a sensational winner.
But Hamilton says he is not guaranteed to start against St Johnstone. He added: “He did really well, he’s a fantastic player. Everyone at training works really hard and we’ve got good players that can step in but it’s the gaffer’s decision.”