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Hearts Should Be Dreaming Of Scottish Premiership Success

Date: 19th September 2018

It’s refreshing to see Heart of Midlothian topping the Scottish Premiership table after five games.

I’ve never been a huge fan of utter dominance, so to see Craig Levein’s side knock Celtic off their perch is a delight. Although I do expect Brendan Rodgers’ side to push on as the season continues.

I also expect Rangers, Aberdeen, Kilmarnock and Hibs to do their upmost to close the gap.

The biggest surprise has been just how good Hearts have been so far this term. They aren’t just league leaders, they are a full five points ahead of last season’s treble winners Celtic and plucky newcomers Livingston.

Levein and his team have yet to drop any points as they’ve went on and won their first five games of the season. It’s not been easy fixtures either; they defeated Celtic at Tynecastle and they’ve also picked up impressive away wins at Killie and Motherwell.

Defensively The Jambos have been magnificent, keeping three cleansheets in their first five outings. It was a big worry that they’d start to suffer after veteran central defender Christophe Berra suffered from a torn hamstring, that should keep him out for six months. But Burnley loanee Jimmy Dunne has came in and done well, while John Souttar keeps going from strength to strength. Souttar has impressed greatly and his top notch performances have been rewarded with his first call-up and cap for Scotland.

Czech goalkeeper Bobby Zlamal has had a very good start to his career in Gorgie and it’s a big compliment that you don’t hear many talking about former number one Jon McLaughlin.

Up top, Steven Naismith has been tremendous! The Scotland forward has banged in five goals and created three assists for teammates. He always walks hard for the team and gives his all. He’s another one who Scotland manager Alex McLeish just couldn’t ignore last week.

For me, the biggest strength Hearts have is their manager.

Craig Levein was a much maligned character after his tenure as the Scotland boss.

Yet he’s stepped back into the managerial hot-seat at Tynecastle and is proving many a doubter wrong, including myself!

The fifty-three year old is making his experience count, both on and off the park.

The team are more balanced than they were under rookie boss Ian Cathro. The side has improved in every position under Levein’s guardianship. He knows what he wants and importantly his players know what he wants and are able to play that way.

To be fair, the manager has always been good at spotting a player. Peter Haring, Olly Lee and Uche Ikpeazu are just three of many summer signings that look to be fine buys.

I also think Sean Clare and Craig Wigton could prove to be astute signings, once they break into the team.

Craig’s ability blend youth with experience is another attribute I like. He had the confidence to play teenager Harry Cochrane and the youngster rewarded him with some fine performances last term.

I think young coaches Jon Daly and Austin McPhee will learn a great deal from their more experienced boss.
Levein’s return to management has come with a ‘don’t care attitude’. He’s now the league’s chief wind-up merchant and it’s fun to watch him getting under the skin of other bosses in the Premiership. It’s almost as if he’s decided he’s now too old to care what anyone thinks and just says whatever comes to his mind, like your gran when she becomes an OAP.

Off the pitch it’s all looking rosy too. Ann Budge is an excellent stateswoman like leader in the boardroom. She’s ably backed up by the Foundation of Hearts, it’s fantastic to see Jambos taking such a interest in how their club is run.

Some will scoff at Hearts supporters who are daring to dream of championship success, it’s only five games after all, but why shouldn’t they?

These supporters have been to the abyss and managed to survive. They are now in a healthy position as a football club both on the pitch and in the boardroom. They’ve got a lot going for them and the team have been tremendous thus far and they all deserve to believe that the unbelievable might actually happen!

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