B team

Fox: Keen to finish the season strong

21 March 2024

Hearts B head coach Liam Fox says his side will continue to take it game by game, as they look to build on their five-game winning run as the Lowland League season reaches its conclusion.


With just four games to go, the Wee Jambos currently sit second in the table, behind only runaway leaders East Kilbride. While a second placed finish would indicate a very successful season for the men in maroon, Fox admits the squad will continue to focus only on the next game, following the process that has brought them the success to this day. 


Speaking to the Official Hearts Website, Fox said:


“For us, having young players who are pushing to get into the managers first team squad, we have to take it week by week.


“Everybody knows the position that we have managed to get ourselves into in the league, but that is because we have kept the same process and preparation throughout the season. How we plan, how we play and how we review games. 


“We can’t start throwing in what ifs as football has a funny way of coming back to haunt you over stuff like that, when you least expect it.


“So, there will never be anything other than looking at the next game for us, and I know that is a football cliché, but from my experience, as soon as you look beyond that next one, you can find yourself getting caught out.”


It’s a trip to Gretna this weekend for the men in maroon and Fox admits that despite the Black and White’s enduring a tough campaign, he is still expecting his players to face some difficult in-game challenges.


“Like we do with every team, we treat them with the same respect that they all deserve. We do our preparation and our video work, but a lot of the time we focus on ourselves and make it about how we perform.


“Every game that we go into, we look to impose our game, and first and foremost, win the game.


“That isn’t always easy when you are playing against good players and well-coached teams. So, we’ve faced different challenges on a weekly basis as a group, whether that’s to do with how the opposition set up, or how they play, and we need to find solutions to overcome that.


“I can’t make the decisions on the pitch, so we do our preparations and then the players are given the freedom and responsibility to go and make the decisions on the pitch.


“We’re looking to go down there and win the game, we know it’s going to be difficult, but it’s a good astroturf pitch and it’s a game we’re really looking forward to.


“We’ve got four games left in the league and we want to go out and perform in all of those games. If we do that, then we will give ourselves a good chance of coming out of those matches with three points.”


The Wee Jambos will be without Bobby McLuckie for the trip to Raydale Park this weekend, as the winger is on international duty with the Scotland Under-19s.


The head coach hammered home the importance of players being ready to take their opportunity when it comes along, whether that be players coming into the B Team squad, or with Steven Naismith's side. 


“Huge congratulations to Bobby,” Fox added. “He has worked extremely hard to get himself back in the team, after a spell out, which is another aspect of learning for him.


“You see that you are not always going to have good times and they need to be able to fight their way through these hard times. It’s my job and the staff’s jobs to help them and support them through those times. 


“In terms of the group as a whole, it comes back to that consistency. I always try to be as consistent as possible in my messages to the players every day. It’s important that they don’t look too far ahead, they need to work every day and maximise every moment that they have.


“Over a period of time, the players have rolled with that message and their attitude and application has always been spot on. In any environment, those attributes are the absolute must haves and that can only come from the players, that is on them.


“They need to train properly every single day, so that for example, when a Bobby McLuckie goes away on international duty, we have players who have been training properly every single day and are ready to take their opportunity when it comes along.


“The manager and the first team staff have made it clear from day one, that if players work hard, those opportunities in the first team environment will be available.


“My job is to make sure that the players are as ready as they can be take them, because you might not get two, three or four chances, so you have to be ready.


“And that comes back to how you live your life and staying hungry. We can never promise a player an opportunity, but if you work hard and continue to have a good attitude, the pathway is there.


“You can have all the other things in place, but you need to have a manager that has the belief to put the young players in. The manager has shown that he will do that, which gives them the confidence and keeps them hungry, because they know that chance will come if they work hard every day.