Friday, August 21, 2009

Yes, another bad night

Is there any point in dwelling on it?

We endure bad result after bad result.

We wonder how much more we can take.

How much more of Dougie Donnelly looking crestfallen? How much more of being laughed at?

And then we think: "Actually, no, stuff this - we’re not as bad as people are making out."

But suddenly, look out, a sucker punch.

Even by the miserable standards of this summer Hearts were bad last night.

They went to take on a decent – but not exceptional – side and suddenly the Tynecastle players didn’t appear confident in their teammates or in their own ability.

Up front was one of the few professional sports people outside of Japan that I would be confident of beating in a 100 yard dash. But not only was Nade slow – an affliction that can make him more appear more clueless than he actually is – he looked like he didn’t care. The Hearts fans should find that unforgiveable.

Was it a surprise? Not that Hearts lost. But that the tie should be so comprehensively over after the first leg is a bit more of a shock. This is, after all, the side that have most consistently been the “best of the rest” in Scotland.

The Romanov money may no longer flow down the Tynecastle terraces but they still pay reasonable wages and are enjoying a welcome period of stability. They will have expected more. And their fans should have got more.

The loss of an early goal is always difficult. But Hearts lost that goal through a series of individual mistakes. Not only did they fail to respond but they continued the same way. Individual performances were riddled with errors. The collective was blunt, shapeless and ultimately spineless.

Scotland, Falkirk, Aberdeen, Motherwell, Hearts. The list grows and grows.

This year has been exceptionally bad. But how much more catastrophe can we take before this becomes a habitual pattern?

A last 16 place in the Champion's League for Ranger or a Europa League run for Celtic is not enough. We need to look into these problems, find a solution and put it into practice. And we need to do it pretty quick.