Before The Hibs Game

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Jefferies

I donít know what Jefferies is thinking. But that doesnít matter. What matters is

that I donít think he knows what heís thinking.

Does he have a tactical formation he wants to play, always? Or does he want to switch and change, depending on who the opposition is? The first thing he did when he arrived at Tynecastle was to play 4-4-2. This was roughly the formation that worked for us in 1998 Ė though McCann made such a rigid structure more flexible, which was a weakness and a strength. But earlier this season JJ seemed set on playing 3-5-2. Itís a more attacking formation, but far riskier; it needs a lot from the wide men (Naysmith and Flogel) and it helps if the team has the ability and especially the confidence to survive a lot of pressure and then hit on the break. It needs quality all round, and ther have been too many players this year who have simply not played well enough. 4-4-2 is the safer bet.

Adam

When he got his new contract I had a suspicion heíd signed, and signed off. Nothing much has happened to make me think thatís changed. Heís lost his desire.

Ritchie

Has been pretty poor all season, given that heís meant to be a very good player.

I donít know why Rangers think heís good enough for them. Hearts donít need him.

Rousset

Rubbish.

McKenzie

When we drew 1-1 against Celtic when Quitongo equalised, McKenzie made some outstanding saves but could catch a cold, and looked vulnerable to any challenge, legal or otherwise. At the shareholdersí meeting six months later, Jefferies was asked if it wasnít a priority to get a goalkeeper in reserve to put pressure on Rousset. This was answered by heavy murmurs of dissent from the audience, and Jefferies used that as the response, feeling it was ridiculous even to make such a suggestion. Well, Iíd like their names and addresses now, and we can point our fingers at them, and laugh.

Locke

What is it about Jefferies? Locke has never, ever, ever ever been good enough. Iíd been saying it for five years, so Iím not going to repeat it. But Locke has never, ever, ever, ever been good enough.

Fulton

No matter how great he was, he isnít now. And so much of his greatness was because he and McCann played so well together. Cameronís absence last year was his last hope gone. Some people think he still has a role at Tynecastle. And I think itís got bacon and brown sauce on it.

James

Uh-Oh. No.

Jefferies Again

So getting back tot he start, the deficiencies of some players have contributed to the bad players of others. McSwegan hasnít always looked great because no-oneís up there doing it for him, or with him. As a consequence he is having to do two jobs Ė leading the line, making intelligent runs through the channels, AND hopefully put the ball in the net. We could do with another just like him. So when things go wrong, his head goes down, he loses the place, he gets booked, and eventually he stops caring. But itís not his fault.

Jackson plays well if the team is playing well. He adds that extra 20% that turns a good team performance into a great one. But since Hearts are playing shite, Jackson looks as though heís putting nothing in. The people who shout abuse at him (rather than other players, or the manager) are either those who wonít ever forgive him for playing for Hibernian, or the sort who shouted at Glenn Hoddle for not tackling back enough.

But back to formation. Naysmith prefers 4-4-2; fine. But whereís Leclerq meant to play? Is he really a right-back? Pressley seems to get mucked about and told to get on with it. He seemed happy enough earlier this year: hopefully he and Petric will get on, just as the Wolfman got on well enough with Dracula in a 1940s film I once saw. Unfortunately Abbott and Costello were there, too, and thatís too painful a memory for those of us whoíve been watching Hearts this season.

Happy New Year.