Hearts full-back Michael Smith was deployed at centre-back during the weekend’s match with St Mirren and he looked pretty solid.
He helped the Jambos keep a clean sheet as they drew 0-0 with the Buddies. In the centre of a back three he looked very comfortable.
It’s a promising sign for Hearts amidst recent injury worries.
Smith can deputise as Hearts’ makeshift centre-back
Craig Levein currently has to do without John Souttar and Craig Halkett, two of the club’s finest defenders. With Christophe Berra needing rested from time to time as he gets older, options become scarcely thin.
The Northern Irishman was deployed in central defence with Aaron Hickey to his left and Halkett to his right in Paisley. Throughout the game, he looked like he had played there for years.
His reading of the game was exceptional and he managed to move the ball pretty efficiently too. Smith won all the required headers and tackles, plus he prevented Junior Morias from breaking through on goal.
Some of the right-back’s qualities from his natural position came to the fore too. At points, the Northern Irishman stepped forward to bring the Jambos up the park or make positive passes.
If Levein wants to keep deploying three at the back, Smith will be key to its success just now. Ideally, he’d like to have three natural centre-backs, but Smith is proving to be a suitable remedy to that problem.
Hearts’ dependable full-back is proving to be a handy option at centre-half at a pivotal time for Levein.