Preparations for this fixture have been hindered not only by the weather but by the departure of Craig and Archie. The “exceptional” players, who, on Wednesday were cited as a major factor in keeping the managerial pair at Fir Park, were deserted on Thursday. Craigan talked of a ‘”numbness” in the squad, an understandable reaction but now they have to get back to work.
Hearts are deservedly third after a fine run of victories propelled them up from the middle of the table. In their good run they have five wins on the trot and no goals conceded. The 5-0 thumping of Aberdeen at the weekend brought a smile to our faces but it did us no favours as far as progress in the table is concerned. However, we won 2-0 at Tynecastle not that long ago so our confidence should not have fallen apart just yet.
We do need to raise our game again though as a little edge has vanished from our play in the last few weeks. We have still been picking up points but less quickly than previously and when Humphrey and Murphy are not on top form, we are lacking in creativity. Blackman is obviously firing on all cylinders but Sutton is off the boil and while there seems to be a good player in Gow somewhere, it is hard to figure out just how we should utilise his talents.
Keith Lasley's recent injury has hurt us but a return would surely see him start with Jennings in the centre of the park which would leave Hateley to fight it out with Saunders to play right back.
Hearts have good players and have currently found a formation and selection which gives them the winning touch. We know as well as anyone else though that momentum can be lost very easily and even if we don’t manage to defeat them on this occasion we can be happy with a share of the spoils thanks to a 1-1 draw.