Danny Wilson hailed an ‘important step’ for Hearts in their march towards the SPFL Championship title as Dumbarton were dispatched 4-0 at Tynecastle on Saturday.
The captain was among the goals in a poignant day for the club, as Heart of Midlothian said goodbye to one of its proudest and greatest sons, Dave Mackay.
Post-match, Danny spoke passionately as he revealed just how much it means to him to follow in the footsteps of the late, great Mackay.
“It’s a huge thing just to play for Hearts,” said Wilson. “I’m very proud to be captain of Hearts, especially on a day like this, but it’s a sad day as well. Someone has passed away, and their family needs comfort for that.
“I’m just full of pride to be here, to know a player like Dave Mackay was captain here, and that I’m now club captain too, is nothing other than a huge honour.”
With the emotional backdrop to the game, there was a danger that things could get overwhelming for the players, but after a difficult first half, the team responded brilliantly to blitz the Sons with a second-half slaughter.
“It was important for us to get a win today,” said the skipper. “It was an emotional day, a legend of the club passed on and we marked our respects with goals, which is the best thing we can do.
“Having said that, at this stage of the season, we’d take a win in any way that we can. The gaffer made the point to us that it was important to try and win well today.
“At half time, we came in at 0-0, a bit frustrated. You just want that first goal to settle you down. Once we got the first one, it’s a case of how many can we get?”
Wilson’s headed goal after 68 minutes was his fourth of the season, and the captain joked that he had now overtaken Alim Ozturk as the number one goal threat from central defence, as the Turk lies on three goals - albeit from an accumulative distance of over 100 yards.
“I’ve been joking with Alim that he needs to try and catch up with me now, so he’ll be shooting from everywhere. In fairness, he scores from further out than I tend to.
“I’m delighted the ball came to me, although I’ve had stick saying I could hardly miss. I feel I should have more this season, I’ve won a lot in the opposition area, but I’m happy with my tally, and our defensive record too.”
Lastly, the former Liverpool man conceded that the team were counting down the wins needed to secure the league title, but he was adamant there would be no let-up or resting on laurels as the hard work continued.
Hearts face one of their toughest weeks of the season as they face Raith Rovers and play-off chasing Falkirk - the only side to defeat the Jambos this season - with both matches away from home, in the next seven days.
“We’re just ticking off games now. We keep hearing we need X amount of wins, and Y amount of points, but all we can do is win our games, because we know if we win our games, we win the league.
“We’ve got two tough games now. Raith have given us difficult matches this season, and obviously Falkirk beat us, so we know the challenge we face.
“We’ve earned the right to be here at the top of the table, but we need to earn it a few more times as well before we can celebrate.”