Craig Cairns looks at how Hearts have scored the goals that have ensured European football will return to Tynecastle next season.
Robbie Neilson’s intercontinental signing policy, complemented with promoting youth, saw Hearts romp to the Championship title last season and then secure a minimum of third place in the top flight this term. Even though they have scored 54 league goals in 2015/16, they have not done so with a 20-goal-a-season striker.
Osman Sow may have got a little closer than his nine goals had he had not left for China earlier this year but Juanma tops their scoring chart with 11. The Spaniard’s goalscoring has been patchy but he does play the facilitator role to great effect. Below him are a group of seven players with between two and seven goals.
While Neilson’s men definitely have a physical dimension to their play, and do like to be direct, the most common method of assist involves keeping the ball on the ground. Eleven goals have been assisted through short passes, two from cutbacks and one from a low cross. Nine goals have come via the penalty spot - eight of those came about through winning fouls, displaying their threat and ability when dribbling at opponents.
In fact, just six of their goals have been assisted through corners and free-kicks, five from high crosses, and they have scored just four headers – further dispelling that myth. Even though he was well over 6ft, Sow wasn't strong in the air and Juanma has only scored one header.
They may be the second-highest scorers in the Ladbrokes Premiership when it comes to goals scored at home this season but they have struggled to replicate that away from Tynecastle.
St Johnstone, Inverness and Dundee – as well as the top two – have all scored more than Hearts’ 21 away goals, while Motherwell, St Johnstone and Hamilton have all managed the same number of away victories as the Jambos.