Aaron McEneff focused on Rangers as Hearts midfielder hails 'world class' Craig Gordon for digging out Jambos

Aaron McEneff insists Hearts can handle the boos – because they have a “world class” goalkeeper to keep them steady on their feet.

The Jambos were met with jeers from the 3700-strong maroon army at half-time of Sunday’s 1-0 win at Livingston after a first half wobble in which only the brilliance of Craig Gordon prevented them falling behind.

By the final whistle the travelling supporters were toasting the veteran goalkeeper’s heroics laying the foundation for Liam Boyce to pop up with a second half winner.

McEneff isn’t surprised in the slightest – he sees the Scotland number one’s unbeatable brilliance close up at training every day.

The win propelled Hearts five points clear in third spot and ended a six-game winless run on the road. In stark contrast they’ve still to taste defeat at fortress Tynecastle in 10 home games this season.

And with Rangers heading to Gorgie next, McEneff is focused on extending that wonderful home form to make sure the fans are cheering rather than jeering on Sunday night.

With Gordon in the form of his life there’s every chance Rangers could leave Gorgie empty handed just like Celtic earlier in the season.

The Irishman heard the boos at the Tony Macaroni Arena but said: “As a player it’s important to stay calm. It’s not going to be nice and rosey every game.

“You have to rely on defenders sometimes and you have to rely sometimes on a world class goalkeeper to dig you out.

“Obviously you don’t want to rely on that but that’s football. Sometimes you have to grind it out.

“When we got in at half time at 0-0 we were well in the game and we made changes to the system for the second half.

“As long as you stay calm and trust your ability you know you will get chances. Boycey’s finished his chance.

“We’ve started well this year but we don’t focus too much on what’s around us. We try to focus on ourselves.

“We’ve got a big game on Sunday against Rangers. So we will prepare properly this week and focus on that.”

The pick of Gordon’s saves came midway through the opening period when he blocked Andrew Shinnie’s effort before touching Jason Holt’s drive onto the crossbar in a sequence that saw four Livi attempts on goal repelled in 30 astonishing seconds.

McEneff said: “It was two saves, two posts, and two blocks. Something like that.

“He is just unbelievable. He does it every day in training. I stay behind in training most days and hit shots at the big man.

“Sometimes he’s lying on the ground before the ball is even hit and he’s just plucking them out of the air. He’s different class.

“We didn’t really come out of the blocks in the first half. For whatever reason we didn’t get going and Livingston were well on top.

“But we have a top class goalkeeper and he kept us in it. Then we changed our shape a bit and when we got in at half time 0-0 we knew we had to lift ourselves and I think we did that.

“We came out in the second half like a different team.

“We missed a fair amount of chances to go more in front and the boys at the back took care of it defensively.”

McEneff, who moved to Tynecastle from Shamrock Rovers on deadline day in February, has seen game time limited this season.

Aaron McEneff focused on Rangers as Hearts midfielder hails 'world class' Craig Gordon for digging out Jambos
© SNS Group Aaron McEneff after Hearts’ defeat to Brora

But after starting the last two matches he’s hopeful of nailing down his position in the engine room – although he’s kicking himself not to have added to his two goals for the season at Livi.

He said: “It has been difficult at times being out of the squad and being on the bench. You want to get a run and keep yourself going. I’ve started the last two and hopefully I can kick on from that.

“To be honest, I don’t know how I haven’t scored against Livi.

“But we’ve probably played better away from home than we did against Livingston and dropped points.

“So it’s a great feeling to pick up three points away from home.”

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