'Kent's influence clear as Hearts secure pressure-easing win'

Greg Playfair, @OorWeeChat podcast

Hearts head coach Steven Naismith will be pleased with last Saturday's win over Aberdeen for several reasons.

Firstly, watching his side bounce back from recent poor performances to pick up the first three points at Tynecastle this term was pivotal, both to ease any pressure of his stewardship and to kickstart the season.

While Naismith may argue that it’s a 100% winning record under him given the fact he was officially appointed during the international break, the team have not been good to watch recently – the two European home matches aside – and he had been facing questions about whether the club should be bold and look at other managerial options.

The extended break without games and extra time on the training ground appears to have worked but I must say that Aberdeen side was one of the worst teams I have seen at Tynecastle in recent years.

I can’t really compliment us for having a definitive playing style or marked improvements because the Dons were so poor to the point that I thought the Hearts Masters side would get a runout in the second half to help increase the scoreline. Had Colin Cameron appeared for a cameo, I’d half expect him to be the best midfielder on the pitch in a match that was bereft of any real quality.

Another positive from the weekend is this was our fourth clean sheet of the campaign and I’m hopeful we will better last season’s total of nine in all competitions.

Frankie Kent is rightly getting the acclaim for his influence on the backline and it’s clear that is getting the best from our much-maligned Australian defenders. Nathaniel Atkinson and Kye Rowles - who got the man of the match award, which will help his fragile confidence - were solid throughout.

I don’t think you can single out faults with any of the Hearts players from Saturday with every player making a positive impact, including the substitutes. It's true you can only beat what is front of you and I genuinely wish we had a triple-header lined up against the Dons.

Instead, the next three matches in September will see us on the road as we travel to St Mirren, Kilmarnock and Ross County; all fairly difficult fixtures but we are capable of grinding out a victory at each ground. The question is, can we sustain a run of positive results from the three?

Would I take a point in Paisley and Dingwall if it meant beating Kilmarnock in the League Cup to take us to Hampden?

Absolutely, but I hope Naismith is of the same mindset as myself and looks to pick up maximum points in the Premiership while having Hearts supporters and players excited about going to Hampden.