Hearts boss Stendel calls for more consistency in relegation battle

Hearts manager Daniel Stendel has urged consistency from his side as they bid to bring themselves off the bottom of the Scottish Premiership table.

They go into tomorrow’s game against eighth-place St Johnstone just a point behind Hamilton, who host Celtic on Sunday, meaning a win would take Hearts off the bottom and within three points of the Saints.

The Tynecastle side go to McDiarmid Park off the back of a fine 2-1 win over title challengers Rangers and Stendel is looking to build on his first victory in charge.

Stendel said: “After Sunday, we had a good result, but it doesn’t mean that the next game is the same. We need to do the same again.

“We have done a lot of things in the past three weeks in training and outside of the pitch with team building events but the most important thing is that we win games, that we have positive results and I hope this was the last step for what we need to play consistently in our style.”

Both of the meetings between St Johnstone and Hearts have ended in 1-0 wins for the Perth side. The first match in October was former manager Craig Levein’s last while their meeting in December, was Stendel’s first. The German is expecting a different Hearts side from the one that played that afternoon.

He said: “My first experience was St Johnstone. I think it was our worst game from when I started here. I wanted to change things, the players were motivated to do this, but the idea wasn’t so clear at that moment and I think St Johnstone deserved to win the game.

“I think this is a different game on Saturday and we have a different team.”

One of the new recruits, Toby Sibbick, had his first experience of Scottish football on Sunday and said that Stendel sold him on a move to Hearts, having worked with him at Barnsley.

Sibbick said: “The manager was a big part in me coming here, because he brought me into Barnsley and there, he played me in every game and really trusted me. For him, putting faith in me as a player gives me all the confidence in the world to perform for him.”

Sibbick believes that his experience at AFC Wimbledon has prepared him for the challenge of a relegation battle.

The 20-year-old said: “I was ten points adrift in January with Wimbledon and we stayed up on the last day. I’ve been in that position before and it’s not the best feeling in the world, knowing that you could go down.”

Peter Haring, Jamie Brandon and Aaron Hickey are definitely out of Saturday’s match in Perth while Michael Smith is a doubt.

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