Season 15/16 Review - 22/05/16
It would be fair to say that we have laid the foundations for a prosperous few years ahead and no one can argue that the club are in a more healthy position on and off the park compared to just two years ago but the steps taken to achieve this are currently dividing sections of the fans. Whilst most would agree that Robbie Neilson possibly "got the fear" after our first half capitulation against the Aberdeen back in September off the back of shipping 3 goals apiece to Hamilton & St Johnstone, there would seem to be two trains of thought on whether Neilson has shown signs of learning from previous errors. The signings of souttar & kitchen along with improved results against our nearest rivals from the north east would suggest so but we must acknowledge that for us to continue to progress more work on the training field and transfer activity in forward areas need to be carried out in time for first europa league tie on June 30th.
Neil Alexander – 7
Still a very capable shot stopper and in certain matches was difference between 1&3 points but it has become very apparent that his inclusion in team is part of our general frailty at the back during set plays. Leaves the club with everyones best wishes.
Jack Hamilton - 6
Has been involved in the odd cup and dead rubber match this season. Not been involved enough to warrant number one position and needs a loan season at championship club to prevent stagnating and becoming another roddy mckenzie or mark ridgers.
Callum Paterson – 7
Quite a stop start season for Callum. It would appear from the stands that he has been instructed to concentrate more on his defensive game this year which has continued to improve. Injuries and the odd erratic game ( v obidayi) have contributed to a seasons performance which may in turn lead to Callum staying on at the club for at least another 6 months. Still our most likely player to ply his trade down south in future. Deserving of his scotland call up.
Alim Öztürk – 7
Like Callum has not enjoyed luck in terms of injury and tinkering with defence over the season. Had a very shaky 45 playing in anchor role but since return from injury has shown good leadership qualities and continues to shine in possession. Question marks over aerial ability still exist from last season however.
John Souttar – 7
World's worst kept secret that we coveted the services of John since Levein and Neilson took control at the club back in 2014. 18 months of non progress at Tannadice has worked in our benefit. Souttar has already started to work on physical game to compliment his ball skills but as evident in Celtic match further improvement is still required.
Igor Rossi – 8
Has grown from "meh" signing to mr dependable during first season at the club and rightly awarded with a contract extension. Will be vital in making sure Younger centre halfs continue to improve and grow.
Juwon Oshaniwa – 5
The term "fish out of water" would be very apt to describe the god fearing left backs maiden season in Scotland. Has shown that in right system (3-5-2) could prove to be a valuable player and has suffered I feel from not being trusted in the derbies but decision making is skittish at best. Really needs to get out th blocks this season.
Błażej Augustyn – 6
Very shrewd one year deal agreed to see if player could overcome previous injuries and reputation for erratic decision making. Dominant aerial displays during winter months but lack of pace and poor distribution skills had Robbie looking for upgrade in Souttar.
Jordan McGhee – 6
really feel for the u-21 scottish captain. A mix of Thomas Flogel syndrome and an agent looking to turn his head has led to Jordan not coming along further in terms of development over the past 3 seasons. Still feel that he will turn into a very good centre half but don't think it will be playing in maroon.
Liam Smith – 6
Very capable with both feet and shows a maturity beyond his years. Like Souttar needs a bit further work to deal with physical element of the game but will be a very useful squad addition for the coming season.
Prince Buaben – 7
Model of consistency and quite rightly one of the first names on team sheet this season due to positional discipline and efforts to contribute to team. His tendancy to slow down play can be frustrating at times. Could be one who makes way in clubs quest to make step up in quality but still a key squad player.
Arnaud Djoum – 8
Like Rossi, his short term deal was greeted with a lukewarm response. A month into his spell and his quality started to show. Away at firhill and most home performances proving to standout in a very impressive debut season. Benefits from playing in deeper role compared to number 10 position. Along with Walker offers us flair and guile. More to come I suspect.
Perry Kitchen – 7
Already fast earning his Cult hero status by managing to shut Liam Craig up last week. Has settled into team and is already showing signs of a future captain. Some have attributed our poor form to his arrival but that is a very short term way of thinking. His inclusion should allow centre halfs to bring ball out from the back and eventually lead to Neilson being able to play 3-5-2 system more often.
Morgaro Gomis and Miguel Pallardó – 5
Hugely valuable contributors in the Championship, a combination of injury and age made both players too rusty to ever really get up to pace in the top division. A real shame, as Pallardó in particular theoretically has the deep playmaking ability that this team would really benefit from.
Danny Swanson and Don Cowie – 5
Both good performers as wide midfielders in SPL seasons past, both came to Hearts recast as potential answers to the lack of central creativity in the team. Both found limited opportunities and rather underwhelmed when they did get on the pitch. One left, one is still here, both remain palpably unexciting. Cowie hopefully will have more to offer as an influence off the park next season.
Sam Nicholson – 6
The biggest victim in our change of priority during the season. Has now shown at various stages of the past couple of years that he is capable of being a mainstay in the team but is suffering from the cliched young winger inconsistent gene. Has stopped using both feet so often and seems to be suffering from lack of confidence. Whether this is a dip in form or the rumours of a fractured relationship with management are true remain to be seen.
Billy King - 6
You have to feel for Billy. Last season was viewed as our third best wide option even though he had more goals and assists to his name than the lauded Scott Allan. This season is pushed out of the team further due to our reluctance to play with two widemen in 4-4-2 system then Move to Rangers has not worked out due to their last minute capture of O'Halloran.
Jamie Walker – 7
What to do with Jamie? Has excelled in certain games this season but still not sure where he should start. Just off the striker seems to be his best position but at times I feel that we need a proper specialist number ten in the team. Another stop start season due to injury should ensure that Jamie remains at the club for another season.
Juanma Delgado – 6
Very infuriating character. Has shown at times that he can be unplayable but still has not shown any progress in adapting to scottish game. Worth keeping on for another year.
Osman Sow – 8
I think it has been massively underplayed just how big a miss the big Swede has been for us since leaving in January. Unaurthodox one minute then sublime the next (caes in point that turn in cup game against the dons). Looked to be forming decent partnership with reilly before transfer. Worth noting how toothless certain players like reilly and nicholson have looked in last 3 months. Will always remember that winner at Ibrox. Thank you.
Abiola Dauda – 6
A gamble that has not paid off in the same way as Zefuik last year. Dauda has certainly not helped from the chop change mentality with forward areas after Sow departure. Looks like an intelligent player more suited to playing off a more physical presence ultimately the signing did not bring the short term spike or goals we needed and due to an assumed contract condition of playing most games has also curbed the development of Reilly.
Gavin Reilly – 6
To many the signing of the dumfries lad was viewed as a like for like replacement for James Keatings. Gavin struggled to find form at the beginning of the season failing to impress particularly in a cup match at Forfar. Over the xmas period found his feet providing able back up for Sow. Has barely featured recently and is now a very divisive topic amongst the tynecastle faithful.
Dario Zanatta - 6
To the suprise of many has rose from a promising development signing to a squad regular. Does not have the blistering pace normally associated with wide players but has two good feet and is decent in the air as well. Look forward to seeing more of this kid next season
Robbie Neilson – 7
You could never accuse Robbie of not showing enough attention to detail. Has shown signs of building a squad capable of challenging top end of league over coming seasons and certainly does not let emotion or loyalty affect his rebuilding project ( look at gomis as a prime example of this). Looks to have learned lessons with regards to dons matches and has already fixed issue with anchor role with Kitchen purchase. The downside remains to be our inept performances in derbies ( although for injuries I am certain we would have just snuck past our rivals at tynie). I am confident that next season will see further progress and hopefully a couple of decent cup runs.