NI defender Michael Smith urges Hearts fans to stick with team until players click

NI and Hearts defender Michael Smith. (Image: Hearts FC)
NI and Hearts defender Michael Smith. (Image: Hearts FC)

Northern Ireland defender Michael Smith insists Hearts can still reach the Scottish Premiership’s top four and has implored fans to stick by them until they click.

The former Ballyclare and Ballymena defender asked for patience following Saturday’s goalless draw with Ross County at Tynecastle Park – a game Hearts dominated without forcing a winning goal.

Michael Smith

Michael Smith

Some supporters jeered at full-time as the club’s winless run increased to five matches, but Smith stressed Hearts’ performance was the best for some time.

Craig Levein’s side are currently in seventh place and seven points behind Rangers, who occupy fourth spot. “At a club like this, it’s top four. I believe we can get there, 100 per cent,” said Smith, who hails from Monkstown.

“We ask for patience. We’ve got quite a few new players in and we’re still gelling. We just need things to click for us on the pitch. Then we’ll be off on a run. I think we’re so, so close. I’d ask the fans to stick with us. If we’d won on Saturday then spirits would’ve been really high going into next week. We could’ve probably won 4-0. Their keeper has made a couple of great saves. Even the one from Don [Cowie] at the end, it’s hit him on the feet and he had no clue where the ball was. He’s had one of those days.

“We just couldn’t stick the ball in the back of the net, but it’s probably the best we’ve played in ages so we’ll take positives from it. We were a bit downhearted after the game but we had so many shots on goal. We’re disappointed not to score because we absolutely dominated.”