Craig Halkett admits Hearts missed an opportunity against Hamilton – and knows they cannot afford to let another chance slip against St Mirren on Friday.
The Jambos could have climbed off the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership with a win over Accies last weekend.
But instead they were forced to scramble back from two-goals down to salvage a draw against Brian Rice’s 10-man outfit.
Hearts remain rooted in last place and centre-back Halkett confessed Daniel Stendel’s team were left kicking themselves after failing to make the most of their big chance.
But he insists they will be fired up for Friday’s trip to Paisley – where victory will see them draw level with the 10th-placed Buddies.
He said: “Everyone was really disappointed after the game. Obviously we did manage to salvage a draw but there was a feeling, ‘We’ve missed a big opportunity here’.
“In any other circumstances, coming back from 2-0 down to get a draw would be a good result but in the position we’re in, it felt it wasn’t as great as it should have been.
“It was a game we looked at before and thought we could really push on, get the three points and really start that run everyone has been expecting us to go on.
“It didn’t happen but now it’s got us fired up for Friday.
“I don’t think anyone is unaware of the importance of the situation, especially when you’re playing these teams around you.
“Friday is an old-fashioned six-pointer. You can go level on points with St Mirren – or go the opposite way.
“But I think everyone is thinking we can get the three points and go on that run we need to kick us off on a run to the end of the season.
“All the players know we’re in a relegation dog fight if that’s what you want to call it.
“It’s a difficult situation but maybe one that a few boys haven’t been in before.
“I have a few years ago with Livingston and I know how hard it is to get out of and how hard you have to work.
“But I think the boys all do know where we are and how serious it is.
“However, I think everyone is confident we cans string a few wins together and get away from it.”
Reports this week suggested Hearts’ fight for survival were being hampered by “dressing room tension” amid concerns over German boss Stendel’s communication abilities and his choice of high-pressing tactics.
But Halkett insists there is only one place the finger of blame should be pointed and it is not the former Barnsley coach.
“The manager speaks really good English, he gets his point across in training,” he said. “Training has been good and we all know what he’s been asking us to do.
“It’s just about us taking that on and doing it on the park.
“I think we’ve shown in a games a good few glimpses of how the manager wants us to play.
“The times where we’ve not it’s been individual errors and lapses in concentration that have cost us.
“It’s a risk and reward strategy but to play the way the manager wants to play, everybody has to be on top form and concentrated for the full 90 minutes.
“All it takes is one player in the backline or midfield to be a couple of yards out of position and it makes such a big difference.
“It’s something we have to work on. As players we know it’s that one error that has cost the goals we’ve lost.”
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