After the highs of last weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-final victory, Hearts were sent right back down to earth against Rangers. The Jambos were swept aside with ease, losing 3-1 to the Govan side at Tynecastle.
It was another poor display in the league from Hearts. Fans have sadly became too used to these type of performances from Craig Levein’s men, but they weren’t helped by a couple of big absentees.
Sean Clare pulled out in the warm-up due to sickness. That was a blow, but not half as much as midfield linchpin Peter Haring missing the clash.
The Austrian is such a big player for the Jambos as most people know. He is their key midfielder and is vital to Levein. Hearts missed him during this game and they need him back desperately.
Levein is unsure whether Haring will make it to the Scottish Cup final in just under a month’s time. If Hearts have any chance of winning it, they need Haring to be fit.
Haring is the best of both worlds
Signing in the summer last year, Haring is capable of playing in defence and midfield. His manager Levein has opted to play him as a midfielder for the majority of this campaign and it has worked wonders for him.
He’s been one of Hearts’ better players all season. The Austrian has been man of the match on several occasions, proving himself to be a menace at both ends of the park. He is a great defensive midfielder and can also contribute at the other end, with Haring notching five goals and two assists in the league this term.
There was a big Haring sized hole in the Jambos midfield on Saturday. Sure they may not have won against Rangers had the Austrian been involved, but they certainly wouldn’t have been rolled over like they were against Steven Gerrard’s side.
Haring provides unity in the Jambos midfield, providing a guard for the defence that allows the other midfielders to express themselves. Nobody can do the job quite like him and it showed against the Gers. The opening two goals came from dispossession in the Hearts midfield, something that the Austrian would have prevented.
His athleticism at the other end was a miss too. Hearts didn’t’ have the physical presence from set pieces like they usually do with Haring in the team.
The Tynecastle side have to protect Haring in the remaining matches. If that means he doesn’t play much between now and the 25th of May, so be it. To alleviate what has been a poor league campaign, a cup win will be needed. They will be underdogs in that clash, and they might not have a chance at all without Haring.