Craig Gordon urges Hearts frontmen to be more clinical

The Hearts skipper reflected on Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Dundee at Tynecastle. Jamie McIntosh reports. 

Photo Credit – Ross Parker/SNS Group

It’s definitely a fair assessment of Saturday’s match between Hearts and Dundee to say that the men in maroon threw away two points. 

As the game entered the final 10 minutes with the Jambos only leading by a single goal, courtesy of John Souttar, and after hitting both the post and bar, Dundee, somehow, remained in the contest. 

Squandered chances from the Jambos allowed Dundee to grow in confidence, much like Hearts did at Ibrox seven days earlier and just like Robbie Neilson did last week, his opposite number James McPake threw on attackers in the shape of Danny Mullen, Cillian Sheridan and Jason Cummings. 

You could feel the nerves inside Tynecastle, almost as if the home supporters knew what was coming and when Cammy Kerr’s long throw was glanced in by Cummings, Hearts were punished for their missed chances.

The goal itself is an embarrassing one to concede, but Craig Gordon admitted the uncharacteristic sloppiness that led to Dundee’s goal, wouldn’t have been as important if Hearts had been more clinical up the other end of the pitch. 

“We could do with scoring a few more goals,” he said.

“We’re creating the chances, we’re playing well enough to get the chances and I’m sure the guys we’ve got at that end will be notching a few before too long, but we just left them in the game today and that’s always dangerous at 1-0. 

“We need to try and add a few more goals to our game, but we certainly controlled the game and created enough chances to win it, without being at our best. 

“We are still undefeated, that’s us on 20 points at the moment. We have made it to top of the league, it just wasn’t the result we were looking for.

“There were a few things in the game we could’ve done better. We’ve been very good defensively, so that’s disappointing and uncharacteristic, but we’ll learn from that and try to make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

“I still felt we were fairly comfortable in the game. I don’t think we were troubled that much during the game, but the chance they did get, they’ve managed to take. 

“On another day we could’ve been two, three, four goals up, but that’s what happens. Last week we done it when we stayed in the game and managed to get a late goal, and today, it’s happened against us.”

With Rangers and Celtic still blowing hot and cold and Hearts having some very solid players on their bench or even missing out on the matchday squad altogether, there was some small talk starting to circulate that Hearts could push the Old Firm all the way this season. 

The Hearts skipper highlighted that consistency for the Gorgie side, particularly against teams outwith the Old Firm, is key to a high league finish.

“If we want to maintain our standards up the top end of the league, then these are the games we’re going to have to win,” Gordon said. 

“When we put ourselves in such a good position, we’ve dropped a few silly points, we perhaps could have more and that’s the annoying thing. That’s football though – there’s probably one or two points we’ve got against the run of play, but the majority were very well deserved. 

“We’re up there on merit. We wish we could’ve had a few more points, but we’re still up there and we go again midweek.”

Considering that this time last year, Hearts were grinding out a very ugly 1-0 win over Arbroath at Gayfield in their second match of the Championship-winning campaign, the frustration at yesterday’s result perhaps shows just how far Hearts have come in the last 365 days under Robbie Neilson. The Hearts skipper agreed.

“You look at the celebrations of Dundee at the end. They’re delighted with a point coming here. I said that to the boys in the changing room – we’ve transformed ourselves back into a big team. 

“That’s credit to everybody with the effort they’ve put in so far this season, but with that comes responsibility to go out and do that every single week. Hopefully we can continue to do that and stay at the right end of the league. 

“We need consistency throughout without a doubt, that’s how you mount a challenge. We need to turn a few of those draws into wins if we’re going to keep that going, so that’s what we have to concentrate on doing. 

“Making sure we’re grinding out wins when we don’t play so well, putting on good performances and scoring big when we are on form, that’s what we need to do. We’ve put ourselves in a good position – 20 points is good, let’s not get too disappointed about it, but we need to keep going now.”

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