Victory over St Johnstone keeps Hearts’ dream start rolling on

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It is certainly a good time to be a fan of Heart of Midlothian. Saturday’s 2-1 victory against St Johnstone maintained the club’s unbeaten start in the SPFL Premiership, picking up 19 points out of a possible 21 in the process. They sit top of the table – and judging by the way they are playing – they do not look like relinquishing that position anytime soon.

The strength in depth that Craig Levein has at his disposal this season is clear to see. The team comfortably beating the Perth side, even without the likes of Christophe Berra, Aaron Hughes, Harry Cochrane and Uche Ikpeazu, who were missing through injury. Even an influential player like Steven Naismith was afforded an off day, by his high standards. Yet still, Hearts never looked like getting anything other than three points.

It was a tale of two headers of the home side – Peter Haring and Jimmy Dunne netted in either half from Olly Lee corners. Haring’s a looping header that went into the far corner, whilst Dunne’s was a bullet that left Saints keeper Zander Clark with no chance. Ex-Hearts midfielder Ross Callachan netted a consolation to set us a nervy ending on his first appearance at Tynecastle Park since leaving last month. However, the Jamtarts stood firm and clung on to the three points.

Austrian midfielder Haring has been a revelation since arriving from his homeland in the summer. Originally signed as a central defender, he made the switch to the centre of the park during the club’s 5-0 victory over Cowdenbeath back in July and has now cemented his spot. He was magnificent on Saturday. He won the ball back on several occasions, before calming finding a teammate. Everything he did was so effortless and yet so effective. It’s no wonder he is receiving the plaudits that he is right now.

Not enough credit can be giving to the job Craig Levein has done at Hearts since pre-season. It couldn’t have been easy to gel 18 new players with the squad he had already, but he’s done it with maximum effectiveness thus far. In addition, with the exciting prospect of Sean Clare still to come in to the first team fold, it is certainly an exciting time for Heart of Midlothian.

Next week’s match against Rangers at Ibrox will be a massive test as to how far Hearts have come this season. Rangers are another side that look rejuvenated – under the guidance of Steven Gerrard – and many are tipping them for the title. And Hearts should be expecting a reaction, following the Ibrox side’s disappointing 1-0 defeat at Livingston on Sunday. It certainly promises to be an intriguing affair.

Hearts’ Edinburgh rivals Hibernian have gone under the radar so far this season, but Saturday’s hard-fought 1-0 away to St Mirren was the club’s third successive victory. They sit second, five points behind Hearts. And perhaps the most promising thing for Hibs fans is that they are yet to hit top gear. Once they get firing, the rest of the league should be scared.

 

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