RELENTLESS. That’s the most commonly used word by Hearts fans on social media to describe their team’s successful Championship campaign and, if there were one man in the team who epitomised that quality, it would have to be Morgaro Gomis.
Whether the venue has been the Indodrill or Ibrox, Central Park or the back of beyond, the French midfielder has applied himself meticulously. His work may not be as glamorous as that carried out by others in his team or elsewhere in the division but, when it comes to performing at a consistently high standard, he has few, if any, rivals.
Mind the gap. That’s the hashtag the club’s supporters employ to revel in the lengthy lead their team has over Hibernian and Rangers, and here too, Gomis’s attitude has been exemplary. Not because he ever took time out to indulge in premature celebrations, but because he has carried out Robbie Neilson’s instructions to the letter as the head coach sought to ensure his team kept up their levels of concentration despite the destination of the title having seemed a foregone conclusion for months.
“We always worked hard every single day,” Gomis said this week. “That was the message from the manager. And that’s what we did.
“We kept going. He didn’t want us to be getting slack. He said the gap is big but, if you lose one then two games, the gap will suddenly shrink. So we all worked hard not to do that. That’s why we are champions.
“It’s great, because it’s been a long season and we’ve been working so hard in training to achieve this. We never really thought about winning it until it was won.”
Last Saturday’s win at Falkirk took Hearts to the brink of the title, and Rangers’ win at Hibs the following day wrapped it up. Neilson said that he would rather his team won the league by beating Queen of the South at home this afternoon, but that did not stop Gomis and his team-mates from celebrating when Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller got the goals at Easter Road.
“We were all watching the game at Tynecastle and we were all just so happy,” Gomis continued. “We were hugging each other and having a few drinks.
“I’m not going to lie, I was cheering when Rangers scored their goals. They played well against Hibs and I was so happy. When the fixture list first came out, I looked at the last game of the season against Rangers at Tynecastle – I thought that may be the decider. But to win the league with seven games to go is amazing. But we deserve it. We did really well.
“It’s been a great week, a great past few days. To be champions with seven games still to play feels really amazing. It’s a great achievement.”
A greater achievement, according to Gomis, than winning the Scottish Cup, which he and Hearts team-mate Prince Buaben did with Dundee United five years ago. And he knows the achievement will be all the greater if the champions keep on winning from now until the end of the season, a feat that would take them to 99 points, and possibly beyond the 100-goal mark – their current total is 84 from 29 games.
“It’s not going to be easy, but we want to win all of our last seven games. We want to score goals for the fans. We want to give them something to cheer.
“It would be nice to get 99 points and 100 goals, but it will be hard because other teams will want to beat us. So we are going to have to keep our levels up and keep performing.
“The fans are going to be turning up at Tynecastle in their numbers. We can’t just sit back. We need to go out there and play and win with style for them.
“Winning the cup was great, of course, but there’s more games in a league. To win one is so hard. It’s more special because it’s a long season.
“And I think when we lost to Falkirk that day [in January] people were questioning us and saying that was it, our bubble had burst. But we kept winning games after that and we showed our character.”
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