Under-fire Robbie Neilson insists Hearts’ current slump must be placed in perspective.
The Jambos boss has been heavily criticised by sections of the team’s support after a run of four cinch Premiership games without a win, the latest a 2-1 defeat away to St Johnstone.
While Neilson admits they have not been good enough in suffering back-to-back league defeats against the bottom two of Dundee and St Johnstone, he stressed that Hearts – third in the league and in the last eight of the Scottish Cup – are still in a good position overall despite their recent form loss.
“I have to look at the bigger picture,” he said. “We came up from the Championship and we are a big club and are expected to win but we are still building as a team.
“Two years ago we were bottom of the league and had only won four games, now we’re sitting clear in third place.
“There’s massive negativity because we lost last week and this week but we’re going to lose games. As a club, we have to stick together and push forward and try to cement that third place.
“We know we will have ups and downs. We aren’t going to go full level the whole time so when we go into these dips, it’s about how quickly we come out of them. That’s where we are at the moment.”
St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson believes his relegation-threatened side are ready to enjoy a strong finish to the season after they continued their upturn in form with victory over the Jambos.
After a run of 10 defeats in a row, Saints appear to have turned the corner with two wins and three draws in their last six games.
Davidson, whose side are now just four points behind 10th-place Ross County ahead of next Saturday’s meeting between the teams, believes his January transfer business is bearing fruit.
“I believe in the players and I’ve seen this form coming,” he said. “They’ve proved before that they’re a good team. They lost belief in November and December but the new players have come in and helped them.
“The performances have been coming and I’ll be looking for us to repeat this next Saturday. If we can keep performing like we did against Hearts, I’ll be a happy man because we’ll climb the league.
“Saturday was probably the first time I’ve had to leave players out in my tenure here and hopefully we get two or three more back for next Saturday.”
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