Falkirk Defeat Didn’t Break Hearts, It Just Made Them Stronger!


On the twenty-fourth of January, Hearts suffered their first league defeat of the season. Some thought it could see the Jambos falter thereafter and give hope to title chasers Rangers and Hibs.

But since that day, Hearts have won their next five matches on the trot, while the other two haven’t been able to keep up (especially Rangers who have self-imploded in 2015).

Yesterday the Maroon half of the capital celebrated as the team absolutely hammered lowly Cowdenbeath at Tynecastle 10-0, yes TEN- nil!

I honestly believe that the defeat to Falkirk back in January, could have been the best thing to happen to Robbie Neilson and his squad.

To go throughout the season undefeated in the league is obviously a terrific achievement but it can also be a massive distraction. Games start to become nervy affairs and players find that each and every game becomes more and more mentally draining.

Soon the focus changes from the league title to the unbeaten record, yet that the title should always be the main priority!

Then they lose and cracks start to appear as everyone deflates and it becomes harder to motivate them back to the level that they were producing earlier in the season. They may have still go on to secure the title but the run-in could have been anti-climatic and a hangover occurs early next season too.

But losing in January has actually released a lot of pressure that was on this young Hearts side and has once again given them a freedom to go out and enjoy their football again.

The focus is back on securing the league title and secure promotion. Hearts now lie twenty points clear at the summit of the Scottish Championship and they are charging back towards the Scottish Premiership.

When (it’s not if) they do return to the Scottish top flight, it won’t surprise me to see them continue to impress in that league too. The whole club at Tynecastle from players to fans have been galvanised since Ann Budge took-over the club last summer and have performed marvellously well, both on and off the park.

Nineteen players have scored this term, with four stars banging in eight or more (James Keatings, Osman Sow Jamie Wlaker and Genero Zeefuik).

As well as scoring more than any other team in the Championship this season, Hearts have also conceded less. A lot of that will be down to the experience of veteran keeper Neil Alexander, who really should be playing at a higher level.

It’s become increasingly difficult to see Hearts not finishing in the top six of next seasons Scottish Premiership. They have plenty of talented young stars, who have enjoyed success and plenty of game time this season. The Jambos also have experienced pros that are ready to help the younger players with any challenges that the top flight throws at them. Plus I am sure director of football Craig Levein will add a few canny buys to Robbie’s pool next term too.

But lets forget next season for the moment and just enjoy watching Hearts runaway with the Championship title this year.

On a few occasions a team needs to taste defeat to refocus and reach their full potential. I think that could be true of Hearts this term and boy have they responded to that defeat in the best possible way!

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