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Round 16

Hearts 1 - 1 Livingston
2019-12-04 19:45 More Reports
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Season Guide
2019/2020

Hearts

In


Craig Halkett (def) Livingston; Jamie Walker (mid) Wigan Athletic; Conor Washington (att) Sheffield United; Aidy White (def) free, Steven Naismith (att) Norwich City

Out


Arnaud Djoum (r)(mid) Al-Raed; David Vanecek (sp)(att) Puskas AFC; Marcus Godinho (sp)(def) FSV Zwickau; Connor Sammon (sp)(att) Falkirk; Ryan Edwards (sp)(mid) Burton Albion; Aaron Hughes (sp)(def) retired; Malaury Martin (sp)(mid) free, Steven Naismith (k)(att) Norwich City - end of loan; Conor Shaughnessy (sp)(def) Leed United - end of loan; Demetri Mitchell (r)(mid) Manchester United - end of loan;

Hearts suffered yet another unspectacular season under the stewardship of Craig Levein last year, finishing sixth in a campaign of poor football. The Jambos have moved to make some big summer-signings this summer. Still, however, fan discontent is at an all-time high as Hearts struggled in making it out of their Betfred Cup group. The most exciting of the lot is Jamie Walker, who will immediately come in and add some quality to either left-wing or the number 10 position. It gives Levein some flexibility now, with a lack of a real natural number 10 evident last season. Another big addition is that of Craig Halkett, who wowed so many at Livingston last season and adds real quality in depth to the defensive ranks. Both Christophe Berra and John Souttar can now be rotated with, hopefully, no drop in quality at centre-back. But the football continues to be too route one for many Hearts supporters. The problem Hearts have is they don't have sufficient quality up top to play that game at the moment. They have re-signed Steven Naismith, this time permanently, and he'll now be hoping to take up the striking mantle that nobody else has. Ryan Edwards, Arnaud Djoum and Connor Sammon have also left, reducing the quality Hearts now have in going forward. They'll hope that Conor Washington can prove to be a source of inspiration up front, but he could need to battle with Uche Ikpeazu for the striking role, as Levein continues to persist with a one-striker formation. Hearts still look a soft touch going forward heading into the new campaign, but expect them to be as resolute as ever at the back with Halkett's signing.

Target


Craig Levein has plenty to prove to the Hearts support. Finishing above their Edinburgh rivals will be on many supporters' minds, but Hearts will want to challenge Aberdeen and Kilmarnock for third this season.

Season Review
2018/2019

№6: Hearts

It's a season that promised so much for Hearts but ultimately delivered on so little. Craig Levein recruited wisely in the summer. Luring the likes of Demetri Mitchell, Zdenek Zlamal, Steven MacLean, Uche Ikpeazu, and Steven Naismith to Tynecastle looked promising. And the start of the season showed just that too. Hearts managed to go unbeaten in their first 13 games, and even topped the Premiership with their sensational form. A 3-1 loss at Ibrox on game 14, with back-to-back wins against Aberdeen and Dundee suggesting that Hearts were the real deal this season. And they might have been, had it not been for long-term injuries to Steven Naismith, Uche Ikpeazu, and John Souttar respectively. That coincided with some terrible form that saw them knocked out of the Betfred Cup by Celtic and drop way down the league and out of the title race. Their run of just one win in 10 was due to the injuries to key players, and Levein knew he had to do something in January to get Hearts back on track, particularly if they were going to challenge for Europe. A lack of quality coming in the door in January didn't help, however. Hearts continued to be inconsistent in their run towards the split between January and April. They managed just four league wins before the split, but also secured four Scottish Cup wins in that time to reach a final against Celtic. Just three defeats in 10 home games was effectively what saved Hearts' top six blushes, but their form after the split was ridiculous. Despite getting the likes of Souttar and Ikpeazu back, Hearts managed to lose four of their five post-split matches, drawing just one and winning none. The Scottish Cup final performance against Celtic proved they had one big performance left in them, but it still wasn't enough, ending in a 2-1 defeat. Hearts go into the summer with a raft of changes likely to be made. Levein needs to get some fresh impetus into several areas of his squad, with not enough quality cover available. All the while, holding onto the likes of Ikpeazu, Souttar, and Christophe Berra is essential. A poor sixth-place finish and no trophies to go with it. A season that promised so much for the Jambos ultimately blew up in their face.


Player of the Season: Steven Naismith

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