Craig Levein heaped praise on club captain Christophe Berra ahead of Friday night’s meeting with Livingston.
The centre-half has returned to the first-team fold in the last two weeks, coming through three games unscathed to play the full 90 minutes of every fixture.
It is an incredible comeback given Christophe missed three-and-a-half months of football with a torn hamstring, suffered in the second league game of the season against Celtic in early August.
“It’s no coincidence our performances have been better in the last three games and I think it comes down to the guys in the changing room looking to the side and seeing him in the team,” Craig said.
“I think it comes down to the opposition getting the team-sheet and saying “Christophe Berra’s back for Hearts”. It maybe reduces the opposition’s confidence a little bit and raises ours. Once we get Uche, Steven, and John back I’d hope to be back to where we were earlier in the season.”
Since Christophe's return, the side have lost narrowly to Rangers, drawn away against St Johnstone and gotten back to winning ways against Motherwell and Craig emphasised the impact of the skipper on the dressing room.
“He’s a remarkable man," Craig continued. "He’s a great person. He will have played 200 games here and there won’t have been one game where I thought he’s left anything in the changing room.
“Everything goes into his performances and I think that’s what the supporters love about him. That’s certainly what I love about him – you can rely on him.
"He’s a very solid person; reliable, wholehearted. He captains the team through his personality and the way he plays. He’s a great example, not just for our defenders but for the rest of our players.
"He’s helped John Souttar enormously. John’s come on a ton in the last year and a half. I’m just delighted to have him back because he helps us.”
To watch all of Craig's press conference, click here.