Hearts and their bipolar behaviour just gets worse and worse. Their latest episode, the loss to Hamilton, highlights just how badly their league form has suffered as of late.
They’re even struggling at Tynecastle, a usual fortress and a place deemed difficult to go. Why is this the case? What is happening at Hearts?
Inconsistent selections lead to inconsistent results
Constant changes game by game aren’t helping Hearts find any sort of rhythm. In 2019 alone, the Jambos have made 35 changes to the team in 12 matches so far; an average of nearly three per match. Craig Levein has named an unchanged team just twice this season.
After beating their Scottish Cup semi-final opponents Inverness Caledonian Thistle 5-0 in the Betfred Cup, the exact same XI was tasked with winning at Hamilton on the opening day, which they did thanks to a 4-1 victory after they fell behind.
The only other occasion was when the Jambos sealed their place in the Betfred Cup semi-finals thanks to a 4-2 win over Motherwell in the quarter final at Tynecastle. The same side beat St Johnstone 2-1 in league action in their next match again in the capital.
How can Hearts not know their best starting lineup when we’re in the business end of the season?
Many will point out the varying injuries to key players at different parts of the season. Football is a contact sport, you know players are going to get injured so Hearts maybe needed to have been more active in January.
Signing a struggling striker
But it’s mid-March, January was there for Hearts to cover key areas of the team which needed covered. However, when you look at the January arrivals you also notice why Hearts are struggling.
David Vanecek has certainly not hit the ground running in the way that he claimed he would. Levein’s comments after the Dundee match are an accurate summary of his Hearts career in the five games he’s featured in – rubbish. He seems a long stretch away from being 100% fit, in fairness.
Up for the cup but looking lost in the league
Cup exploits seem to be papering over league cracks. Hearts have won just one league match since the 1st of February – a win away at Kilmarnock that night was eventually followed by a scrappy 1-0 victory up at Dundee last week.
Yet, Hearts will have reached two cup semi-finals, the first time since 2004-05 and for just the third time in the club’s history. Still five points off third, there’s no consolation if Hearts miss out on a cup victory and/or a European spot.
With Aberdeen, Rangers at Ibrox and Hibs all to play within a week of one another, that week could define the Jambos’ season.