For all that Hearts have had a poor start to the season, currently sitting joint-bottom of the Premiership, they have had to deal with injury struggles.
Their most recent worry was Steven Naismith pulling out of Scotland training with injury prior to the Russia game (The Scottish Sun).
Craig Levein has also confirmed that John Souttar and new goalkeeper Joel Pereira might not be fit enough for their next match against Motherwell (Edinburgh Evening News).
Injury means Hearts can’t build any momentum
On this season alone though, he hasn’t been able to field his strongest team yet. Naismith, Michael Smith, Peter Haring, Souttar, Pereira, Jamie Walker, Callumn Morrison, Ben Garuccio and Craig Wighton have all been out with an injury.
At least six of them are regular starters when fit. Losing the experienced influence that the likes of Naismith and Smith bring to the table saps leadership skills from the team.
You lose pace down the right with Morrison and Walker out injured. Souttar is arguably the club’s best defender when fit, so you miss his physical influence at the back.
Haring’s miss has been a big one. Without the Austrian in midfield, teams have waltzed through the Jambos engine room with ease. It’s only in the past couple of games since the introduction of Glenn Whelan have they looked stronger in that area.
Because of these injuries, Hearts can’t build momentum. It’s hard for any team to build a run of form with so many stars out, never mind one under serious fan pressure.
Levein will be hoping the Tynecastle treatment room gets progressively quieter as the weeks progress.