Form Is Temporary - 25/10.14
May 24, 2017
The old saying goes that form is temporary but class is permanent. As it pertains to Hearts in the Edinburgh derby this weekend, I believe what normally serves as a compliment will likely become a uniquely two pronged insult .
The voices have been loud this week, particularly among those whose achievements this season will be dependent on Hearts recent run of form being simply that, a run which will soon end resulting in the Tynecastle club being dragged back into the pack. Interviews conducted at East Mains and Murray Park have been full of bravado and even more jam packed with references to the Jambos.
Scott Robertson thinks a gap of 14 points is false. Alan Stubbs insists high flying Hearts are beatable. Ally McCoist and Nicky Law condescendingly wish Rangers had the ability to be, wait for it, as ‘half-Hearted’ in their approach to diddy cups. Oh, and Fraser Aird would rather watch Corrie.
The irony of Danny Handling singling out the motivational nature of a solitary tweet by Prince Buaben which was recently pinned to Hibs’ changing room wall, while making his own contribution to Riccarton’s new wallpaper was obviously lost on the forward.
Incidentally, Prince’s tweet doesn’t even actually say the word Hibs, but apparently referring to the pack of clubs currently trying to catch Hearts as ‘chasers’ was disrespectful enough to be seized upon by Liam Craig. The same Liam Craig offering square go’s in the car park to the entire Hearts squad back in August.
The point of this list is not to complain about the focus, on the contrary, it’s nice for us Jambos to be involved in these mind games again. The club has been through so much over the last year or so that it feels like a lifetime since we were deemed a serious threat by anyone.
The uniqueness of the current situation however is that, in the face of such focus from our rivals, Robbie Neilson’s team talk tomorrow would normally consist of something close to ‘win the game and shut them up’. To say that this time would serve simply to mislead his players.
To our rivals a Hearts win will be representative merely of one more win on the run of form. It simply serves to ensure that bubble is just that little bit bigger and the ‘inevitable’ burst that little more spectacular. The form may last a little longer but it’s still temporary.
A loss proves that we are, in fact, beatable and brings with it the potential for a crisis of confidence that they have been gleefully predicting, with their fingers secretly crossed, all week. The form is over, the class definitely proven never to have existed.
This all serves to reinforce my belief that the most important thing for Hearts supporter in the aftermath of this derby, no matter what the result, is to maintain perspective.
A win doesn’t prove that we’re class, though it may begin to point towards it. Equally a loss could be the form, the class simply surpressed for the first time since that demoralising draw at Dumbarton.
The point is it is too early in the evolution of this Hearts team, and indeed Hearts as club post administration, to know if we are witnessing the birth of structure and mentality that will see us challenge in the SPFL again far quicker than we could’ve imagined or simply an enjoyable 3 months on the route to mediocrity with a detour through glorious failure.
That sounds negative, but it’s really not. In actual fact what it actually means is that when Kevin McHattie replied ‘Why not?’ when questioned on the possibility of an unbeaten season, he had more justification to his answer than anyone who has commented on Hearts this week. The reason being that the evidence, limited though it may be, is in Hearts’ favour at this stage.
That may not be so unequivocally the case after the derby. Maybe then Hearts players can join the party and voice the spurious logic that supports the ‘inevitable’ collapse of our rivals. It seems only fair.
Maybe not. After all it’s important to remember that, even if a loss is what the derby gods serve up on Sunday, Hearts’ record will still be superior to anyone else in the league.
The question I’m left to ponder is when do we know whether we are witnessing form or class?
The more compelling question though, is whether anyone outside of Gorgie will be willing to accept it if we find that it’s the latter?
The only thing I know for certain is that Scotland’s tabloid football journalists hope not.