BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
CRAIG WIGHTON has vowed heads will not drop at Hearts after insisting the Jambos proved they could go toe-to-toe with Rangers on Sunday.
The capital club paid for a catastrophic start at Ibrox, conceding two woefully sloppy goals in the opening 13 minutes on their way to a 3-1 reverse.
However, as well as scoring through Jimmy Dunne, Craig Levein’s side forced two fine saves from Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor – with Steven Naismith and Uche Ikpeazu denied – and were a persistent threat going forward.
Wighton reckons the sense of disappointment in the dressing room at full-time sums up the lofty standards being set at Hearts, who remain two points clear at the top of the table, but he is retaining a sense of perspective.
“We created chances and I think we proved we can go there and compete,” said Wighton. “We certainly did that, even when we went down to ten men.
“It’s hard to win every game and it says a lot that we were so disappointed. We don’t want to be a team that goes to Ibrox and thinks ‘it’s Rangers, that was bound to happen’. It doesn’t matter who we play, we go out to win the game.
“I think people saw that at the weekend, despite the final outcome.
“It’s a tough one to take due to the manner it happened – they were poor goals to concede – but other than that, we still pressed them, created chances and there were a lot of positives to take from it.
“I think some people are forgetting we are still top of the league. We would have taken that at the start of the season. We can’t be too damning. The manager [Craig Levein] and Austin [MacPhee, assistant] said that too us after the game – it’s still been a great start.
“We can’t let our heads drop or feel sorry for ourselves. We just need to be ready for the next game.”
Wighton entered the fray as a second-half substitute at Ibrox as he aims to cement his place in the Hearts side following his switch from Dundee.
And he has vowed to use the international break to whip himself into shape when the Jambos return to action.
“I’ll go away and do even more fitness work by myself to make sure I am in the best possible shape,” continued the former Dens Park ace.
“The other boys in the squad have absolutely earned their rest. They have started the season so well and there are boys who have played pretty much every minute of every game. They deserve a few days’ break.
“I’ve not played a lot of football and can’t really afford to keep having these breaks so I’ll keep working hard and really knuckle down.”