The hearts may have just completed the puzzle: will Hibs, Aberdeen and the rest be able to catch them?

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Hearts are currently in third place, and it seems likely that they will be there by the end of the season.

But, at Hearts, there’s reason to be optimistic as they look ahead to a week that could cement their third-place finish at the end of the campaign.

Up next are tough, test matches against closest rivals Motherwell and cross-town rivals Hibs, who haven’t given up hope of hunting down their enemies and repeating last season’s league finale.

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However, both teams have lost key personnel in the transfer window and while there have been additions, they are still a work in progress.

Beni Baningime impressed off the bench for Hearts against Celtic.

Hearts, with the advantage of a strong summer window, have had less to do and, sitting high up in the league table, they are doing so from a position of strength.

Until now, unwilling to let one of their main assets go early, they have also focused their efforts on addressing the area of ​​the team that lacked depth. Based on the evidence of 45 Minutes in Gorgie on Wednesday night, they have successfully pulled it off.

all the puzzle pieces

Already the best of the rest behind the big two, while some clubs have come to this stage of the season looking like a puzzle box with the wrong pieces included, the signing of Ellis Simms could complete the picture on the lid of the box. of Hearts, with each component seems to fit very well.

Everton loanee Ellis Simms was impressive when he came on as a substitute in the second half.

It makes them a dangerous proposition.

A difficult team to beat, they have only lost five of their 22 games in the Cinch Premiership this season, but with half a dozen draws, some of which could and should have turned into wins had they shown a sharper lead.

But while there is pace, breadth and creativity in the ranks, there has been a heavy reliance on Liam Boyce to lead the attack and get to the ends.

Adding options to the final third

Everton loan Simms looks like he may relieve some of that pressure. He entered the fray at the start of the second half in the Celtic game and despite only joining the club hours earlier and never having the benefit of a training session with his new team-mates, he quickly found his place in a game that swept at a breathless pace.

He showed desire, physicality and aerial prowess, but the 21-year-old’s pace and intuitive link-up play offer the Hearts more variety in how they can move the ball forward.

As the central focal point or as part of a two-man front row, along with Boyce, he looked comfortable and gave the visionary Barrie McKay another teammate to target while making perfectly weighted passes or throwing crosses to be attacked. .

In the right place at the right time, he drew Boyce’s defenders away, giving the Northern Irishman more space to score the Hearts goal, while at the same time giving him an option if he had decided to square it.

Instead of or alongside, if the Englishman can add goals to his early display, he should take some weight off top-scorer Boyce and ensure Hearts still have clout should injury force him to sit out more games between now and the end of the season.

Along with the return of Simms’s Evertonian teammate Beni Baningime for the first time since November, there was desire, drive and vision in the way Hearts attacked Celtic in the second half.

If they attack every game with that level of purpose they will be hard to contain and while they will have a hard time catching the teams above them, the teams below them will have an even harder time catching the men from Robbie Neilson.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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