Hearts debriefing: Barrie McKay the magician, why Liam Boyce has to be ruthless, replacement delayed

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Hearts goalie Craig Gordon made a key save to stop Jamie McGrath from St Mirren. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

So there was Craig Gordon who did a lot of Craig Gordon stuff. Then there was Barrie McKay’s display as he showed why Robbie Neilson and Joe Savage were so keen to bring the former Rangers attacking midfielder to the club.

The 26-year-old has been involved in all of the team’s top games. In fact, being involved can do him a disservice. He spoke about the best moments of Hearts. Over the course of the 90 minutes, he created four chances, establishing the first game with the help of a deflection.

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When he’s on it, he’s such a fun and easy-to-watch talent. Playing wide, he glides across the field like a skier in the Winter Olympics, trying to avoid obstacles in his path. Every time he hits the ball he’s looking for that killer pass and now he needs teammates to get on his wavelength. Once they do, more chances and goals will present themselves to Robbie Neilson’s men, especially Liam Boyce who seemed to enjoy having McKay behind him.

There was a series of moments. At the whistle for the first half, Richard Tait was ruled offside. Looking at the incident, the decision seems to go ahead, but it seemed very close. A goal then completely changes the dynamics and would have intensified the pressure at home. After the break, in the space of a few minutes, Craig Gordon made three saves, including an excellent one from Jamie McGrath, while in the middle of it all Liam Boyce blocked an attempt on the line. These were key moments that saw Hearts pass Mackay-Steven.

Alan Muir’s decision to expel Joe Shaughnessy angered those in St Mirren’s persuasion, even though Jim Goodwin understood why he did it. Overall, the official should be commended for trying to let the game go as much as possible and not huff every time a player drops after challenging an air ball or those challenges when you see the slightest. elbow kick in the back when the ball is in the air.

Liam Boyce. To pull. The Hearts’ best opening in the first half went to their top scorer with Michael Smith playing his compatriot. In the box, on the left side, Boyce tried to come back to his right instead of showing that ruthless streak and putting his left foot through the ball and back through the goal. It has become a bad habit for Boyce at times. It gets into some great areas but sometimes thinks, lingers, or tries to be too cute inside the box, rather than taking a beating early.

Moment you might have missed

In the moments leading up to the opening goal, Robbie Neilson was preparing a replacement. Josh Ginnelly was stripped naked and briefed by Lee McCulloch on the positions he should occupy in certain scenarios. The main candidate for the player’s departure was Gary Mackay-Steven. Then the winger calmly passed the ball past Jak Alnwick. It was a required contribution by Mackay-Steven, as he had disappointed and frustrated the home crowd up to this point.

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