'Not so pretty in pink as Hearts lack in final third'

Greg Playfair, @OorWeeChat podcast

After being defeated at Dens Park on Sunday while wearing the new fuchsia away kit, Hearts supporters can easily be forgiven for thinking we had decided to turn up to the city of Discovery with the Pink Panther in our side.

Too often in the first half, players were happy to tiptoe around and not take the game to Dundee, hoping someone else took responsibility on the field.

You can imagine that Steven Naismith was flushed after his half-time address to the players and while he made three changes at the break, a case could have been made for any of the 10 outfield players staying indoors.

Naismith’s address appeared to have worked with Hearts starting brighter until a cataclysmic free-kick led to Dundee scoring the only goal of the game. Where do you start with it? Why is Zander Clark out taking a free-kick 40 yards from his goal in the left-back area? Why is he opting to pass the ball five yards to Kye Rowles? If Rowles was complicit in that decision-making, it makes his choice to make another five-yard pass to Aidan Denholm even more ridiculous.

Denholm must take some blame for losing the ball in that situation, but it backs up my point that there was a lack of authority on the pitch for Hearts, especially when opting to play young players like Denholm, Alex Lowry and Odel Offiah.

It’s like in any profession, if you have apprentices or rookies, you need to augment their learning with leaders alongside.

Naismith and Frankie McAvoy have now had seven matches in permanent charge after the seven they had on an interim basis. It’s been five wins, four draws and five defeats in that time, a 36% win ratio. While it’s not as bad as Ian Cathro’s or John McGlynn’s time in charge, it’s less than Craig Levein’s second spell which was widely seen as an unmitigated disaster and had a 40% win ratio.

It's ironic, we are quite like a Levein side as we are harder to break down with three clean sheets already registered but lacking in the final third.

I don’t imagine we will get any attacking reinforcements before the end of the transfer window so it’s up to the management team to get us playing on the front foot, while notching up wins and goals. Not an easy feat, I know.

The PAOK away game is going to be an uphill challenge and progression looks unlikely. Despite looking unconvincing at times at Tynecastle, they are a completely different side at home.

It seems strange to say that while our season won’t be defined by what happens on Thursday evening, if we somehow manage to make it past PAOK then the Naismith era will be soon very much rose tinted.