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Michael Smith says Hearts are improving

Michael Smith believes Hearts have started to turn the corner despite losing against Celtic.

Hearts started and finished strongly without seriously troubling Fraser Forster but lost 2-0 after conceding numerous chances before and after half-time.

However, many fans stayed behind to applaud the effort and commitment shown – four days after Hearts were booed off after Daniel Stendel’s first match in charge ended in a 1-0 home defeat by St Johnstone.

Hearts stayed off the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership by one goal but travel to face the team below them, Hamilton, on Saturday and Smith knows they need to replicate the effort shown against the champions.

The Northern Ireland international, who lined up in central midfield, said: “I think the fact that our home fans clapped us off the pitch even after a defeat shows that we have worked hard and things are starting to turn. And they will turn, I believe that.

“The manager has come in, he is bringing energy and enthusiasm and we are starting to show it on the pitch.

“They scored two goals with real good quality, and we are starting to create a little bit more threat up top.

“Saturday is a massive game but we have got to go into it confident.

“We want to play on the front foot, get in people’s faces and press from the front.

“I thought we started really well, the first 25 we were great and definitely in the game. Obviously they scored and that was disappointing.

“Second half we came out and battled hard and created a bit more and that’s what we need to show week in, week out.”

Smith hailed the fans for their help after Stendel urged them to show more patience and support.

“I thought they were great,” he said. “They haven’t had a lot to cheer and they stuck right beside us. We showed we were battling hard on the pitch and going for every ball.

“We appreciate that as players that the fans got behind us and clapped us off.”