Interview by Chris McPherson.
As we approach the half way point of this season, I've asked Ian McClory, student at St Andrews University, to give us his opinion on how the squad is progressing. He's been a season ticket holder for five years, and his favorite player is Dennis Wyness "because I felt sorry for the unreal amount of criticism he has had to take, he's scored some sublime goals as well."
I'd say that there is no standout "Best player" as we've played well as a team more than winning through superb individual performances. The stand-outs are fairly obvious, mainly due to their workrate - Pressley, Maybury and Hartley. Though Hartley's contribution in terms of goals and points has been crucial, and his goal against Braga is the best I've seen this season.
Gordon has played well in most games, though has perhaps been at fault for a few goals (such as Mehmet's against Dunfermline) but he's never cost us as game and is improving steadily. He is a player who has replaced Niemi, something which many players would not be capable of - although sometimes too eager to rush off his line, he is, however, a fantastic shot stopper and organises the defense well, he could play at the highest level. McAllister hasn't really done anything wrong, nor has he set the heather alight, but I expect him to improve as our left back rather than left midfielder. Webster continues to improve every season, his distribution is much better. Neilson has improved on last year, however I still feel his lack of positional sense and distribution have cost us a few goals this term. Maybury is a player who has improved immeasurably over the past few seasons, he is good going forward and sound defensivly, though he has played out of position for most of this season he has been reliable.
Stamp has been disappointing due to injury and a general lack of the goals he created and scored. Michael Stewart has been a great disappointment, because he's got a lot of natural ability but seems to lack the desire to apply it, and I can't say we'd miss him if he left us in January. Kisnorbo looks out of place in midfield, he is a clear centre-half, he cannot pass well enough for midfield and gets caught out a lot on the ball. Joe Hamill has been another one of the players of the season, he's weighed in with some very good and important goals (Hibs, Dunfermline) as well as creating a lot of opportunities for other players, he is a bit too left footed, and lacks a bit of confidence, but hopefully this will improve with time. Its an utter disgrace that he's not played in the Scotland under-21s, or that he isn't highlighted in the media as being a potential star, as we lack good, natural wingers. Hartley is our best non-defensive player, his popularity amongst the fans is a sign of the work he does, and considering his Hibee past that makes it even more impressive, a good passer of the ball, with lots of energy and commitment, again, his goals have won us some important games.
De Vries is injury prone though his contribution to Hearts' success in Europe has been vital. The media often overplay his importance although without him and Pereira, the team were firing blanks on a regular basis. Pereira on the other hand, isn't a goal scorer, but provider, he maybe needs to calm down a bit though and stop diving! Wyness has improved a great deal under Robertson and has even started to silence the boo boys. Weir has looked ineffective for the most part, and it wouldn't surprise me if he left at the end of the season.
And how does Ian see us progressing for the rest of the season under our new manager.....?
I see us finishing 3rd with hopefully a cup final or two - hopefully!