Hearts manager Craig Levein has said that his team are the equivalent of a patient recovering in hospital, having been in intensive care.
The odds on Levein becoming the next dugout casualty had shortened considerably after a crowd of irate supporters protested outside Tynecastle in the wake of the September 14 defeat to Motherwell.
However, a morale-boosting victory over city rivals Hibernian and Betfred Cup quarter-final penalties success against Aberdeen in the last seven days has at least placated the majority of the fans for the time being.
However, Levein, whose team travel to St Mirren today, is not getting carried away by his side’s renaissance.
“We’re out of intensive care, I think, but we’re still on the ward,” said Levein.
“People ask why we’ve been struggling. And my experience tells me we’ve been struggling for certain reasons.
‘“These aren’t excuses. I’ve just been trying to explain what I think, explain the problems and say how we can fix them.
“Having faith in the players is something that gives me a lot of confidence to talk about these things in a clear and concise manner.
“My role in the last few weeks has been not to look down on the players, but to be underneath, supporting them. Because they’ve been struggling.
“One of the things about having done this for a long, long time is recognising situations that have happened before – and understanding that it was maybe dealt in the wrong way by me, pushing the wrong buttons or whatever.”
Experience has also taught Levein that the mental and physical energy expended in the last two games will be as much as a threat to Hearts’ prospects of taking all the spoils as the danger posed by this afternoon’s opponents.
“The previous two games had big emotional baggage, the derby match and then the chance to get to a semi-final at Hampden.
“That excitement and almost a little bit of fear at times, is draining.
“So going up there twice is difficult but we need to go back up there again a third time.
“If we can do that we’ll have a really good chance of winning the game.
“We’ve really tried in the last couple of days to keep our focus on this match, not get too excited about what has happened in the recent past.
“It’s about finding a mental fortitude to go out and find the focus, the energy required to go again.”