What a difference to the day two years has made for Hearts

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Rewind two years back to early March in the 2013/14 Scottish Premiership season and Hearts were 20 points adrift at the foot of the division.

A 15-point deduction at the start of the campaign for entering administration to address funding shortfalls meant the Tynecastle club effectively had just six points with 10 matches remaining. Even without the deduction, they would have still been bottom.

Some 13 players had already been released prior to the start of the season, whose appearances in the previous campaign totalled to the best part of 300 between them. Among those to go were key defender Andy Webster and top-scorer John Sutton.

No players were brought in to replace this raft of departees. Even a strong finish to the season failed to prevent Hearts facing the drop alongside Edinburgh rivals Hibernian.

Two years on and Hearts are a changed team. Promotion was secured by a lofty margin back to the top table last season, with the Bidco group currently controlling the club until a supporters group is ready to take over the reins.

In the current Scottish Premiership season, Hearts are sitting third in the standings, with a victory in their game in hand taking them to within 10 points of top spot, with as many matches remaining.

Most of the attention surrounding the title has focused on Aberdeen chasing expected winners Celtic and this has allowed Hearts to sneak along under the radar.

All of those in the title picture are inconsistent, with Celtic dropping points in three of their last five league matches and Aberdeen triumphing in just one of their last three. This provides some hope on further dropped points on the run in that Hearts can capitalise on.

The title looks unlikely though, with only one win in seven away matches against the division’s current bottom five sides a large reason for failing to keep pace.

With Celtic and Aberdeen still to play twice, victory may be needed in all four to be serious title challengers. Either way, the current state of affairs is much preferred to the desperate state the club were in on this very day two years ago.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.