#043 - Who said you need some sleep?
02/09/2025 -- The transfer window is closed, the pre-season period is over and with the first few matches of a brand new season already played. It was an exciting period for Hearts, but now the time is there to harvest points. Many points, because the board is expecting us to finish within the first five and so qualifying for European football. Forget Rangers, Celtic and even Aberdeen. They are years ahead of us currently. So finishing fourth is probably the best we can achieve under normal circumstances. Which will be a remarkable performance for sure. Realistically spoken we can end anywhere between 4th and 10th I suppose. Hibernian, Dundee United, Kilmarnock, Hamilton, Motherwell and us are quite on an even level currently. I’m already happy when we do better then last year, meaning ending seventh or anything above. But a few upgrades can make a huge difference to be honest. So we had some important things to do on the transfer market since we lost a whole bunch of players because of work permit issues…
The first signing we’ve attracted to join us is called Reegan Mimnaugh. Attributes wise definitely not the best player in Scotland, but over the last three seasons he performed very well at Premier League level for Hamilton (every time an average score above 7.00). Last season he took care for 15 assists! That’s a huge number to be honest and I’m very surprised Hamilton would get rid of him. He was put on the transfer list for £500,000 which we paid to incorporate him. The second new central midfielder is called Liam Laird. A Scottish youngster from Southampton. We loaned him in for the rest of the season, only paying his wages of £1,700 per week. Just before closing day we did one last signing. Not because of we need him that hard, but his value for money looked quite good. 22-year old Daniel Scullion is coming over from Aberdeen for £1,000,000. His physical and mental abilities are pretty damn good and his technical key attributes are all double figures. I will use him as a back-up player in the first place, but if he take his changes as a sub that can be different in a few months. Furthermore we signed a 17-year old talent, but he will not joining the first squad this season.
Okay. Strikers then. We didn’t have anyone yet so we need at least two new guys. The first one is on loan from Celtic. David Easton is still a talented player, but since Celtic is attracting pretty good strikers from all over Europe, their own youth is barely given any chance. We paying him his wages only, which is quite fair. He still looks promising, hopefully he can develop himself in our team. But he’s not the big catch we wanted. That honour is given to Joe Tompkins. A bit of a gamble because he didn’t played that much over the years so far, but his attributes looked incredible and our scouts do believe he will be a future legend. Tompkins was valued at more than £7,000,000 but we paid only £3,200,000 without any future clauses. A big deal for us, but I think he’s worth it. I’m only a bit concerned he isn’t very ambitious, but hopefully that turns around if he can find some happiness again when he is starting scoring goals. He definitely is capable for doing so. Also up front we signed a talented youngster called Ben Masson from Dundee United. He will also join our reserve team or will be send on loan if there is some interest.
I think we did a good job. The bunch of pre-season matches we’ve played looked promising so far. Usually I play around 5 or 6 of them, but now I did eight because of the huge amount of new players who joined us and practicing our new tactic. This new 5-3-2 tactic seems to work good until now, So I have some good confidence in it. Although that can change dramatically after the first run of games! As you probable have seen over the years I like to sign non-foreign players. I’m always trying to achieve at least half the team is from the country I’m managing in. It doesn’t feel right to have 25 players who aren’t English for example like most of the top teams in England for some years around 2010 (although it’s slightly getting better in recent years luckily). So if I have to chose between two more or less equal players with one being Nigerian and one Scottish you probably know which one I pick.
Our first results
After an acceptable run of practicing games the real work has started against Dundee. It’s only 1 match out of 38, but winning the first one is so important. Our pre-season efforts are rewarded, it creates confidence in our working methods immediately and it’s boosting the players morale. So, no matter how, we just need to win this game. And so we did. We played a pretty good game to be honest with Joe Tompkins scoring in his debut match. The game was already over when Dundee scored a late against goal from a corner kick.
We played a draw in the next two games and winning the fourth at Saint Mirren. The draw against Saint Johnstone was quite remarkable. We were by far the better team, but Saint Johnstone was in a 2-1 lead with only five minutes left to play. But substitute Sean Clare saved our ass with a magnificent strike in the upper right corner of the goal just from outside the box. Also the first goals scored by Docherty was a missile from distance. Beside the fact we had to win this game I’m pleased we saved a point. After four matches we are fifth in the league, but that doesn’t say very much with so many games left. The last game we played was our second round League Cup game against Partick Thistle. Because Hearts finished within the first 10 last season we don’t need to play in de group stage, which is a good benefit. We beat them with a solid 3-0 victory. In the next round we are facing Queen of the South.
Note: So far so good, hopefully we can continue our current form! Yeah it was a hell of a job Scott! It took me hours to get through all of this to be honest. But after the good start it was definitely worth it. In the next update I will do one last review from the last years with Spartans (with highlighting some players), and from then on we pick up the pace again with Hearts!