Playing with Heart, and keen to get some Glory

Patrick Naughtin: Congratulations on the win against the Newcastle Jets. How did that feel?

Iain Ramsay: It’s a great feeling to win at home, especially in front of our fans. We were down one-nil as well, so we showed great character to come back from that. We finished the game very strongly and I’m very proud of the boys.

PN: You must be happy with how you played, getting the first goal.

IR: It’s always nice to score, but it’s even better when you win a game. At the end of the match you could see the camaraderie within the playing group and the special relationship we have with the fans. They’ve stuck by us through thick and thin and they deserve a whole lot more.

PN: It looked like everybody was really upbeat at training today, but how has it been throughout that 19-game winless streak?

IR: You can imagine how frustrating it’s been at times. There have been games where we’ve definitely thought we should have come away with more and get three points here or there, but it’s been a rough season where we haven’t taken our chances. Happily we were able to do that last night and you can see the difference that it made. Now at training everyone is upbeat and everyone is enjoying themselves, and I’m sure with more wins under our belt it’ll be an even happier place around here.

PN: As you said there have been games where you’ve been unlucky not to get the win. Do you think luck plays a big part in soccer?

IR: I’m a firm believer that you make your own luck. Yeah, there were some games where we genuinely were unlucky, but at the end of the day you have to take your chances. It’s pleasing that we were creating a lot of good things on the park, but at the end of the day if you don’t take your chances you’re going to make it very hard for yourself, so as I said we did that last night and if we can capitalise on more chances in the remaining games we can creep up the ladder.

PN: It’s now been a couple of weeks since John Aloisi left the club. How has everyone reacted to the return of John van’t Schip?

IR: It’s been very positive and the team has really lifted. The whole playing group needed to stay positive, and when JvS came in we didn’t dwell on past results or people who were here in the past. We’ve tried to move forward and I think that’s exactly what we’ve done. Over the past few performances you can see that everyone is enjoying themselves and we’re playing really good football.

PN: Has JvS been doing anything differently to what Aloisi was doing?

IR: Since he came in he just wants us to play with more freedom. We’ve got nothing to lose, so we should play with freedom and no fear and keep playing football. He even said if we go a goal down make sure that we stick together and keep playing football and the result will take care of itself.

PN: How important are the supporters that continued to turn up despite some not-so great performances on the park?

IR: They’re the most important thing to the club. Without them the club would be nothing. We’re all very grateful to them for sticking with us through thick and thin. It hasn’t been the best of seasons of late, but you can see from the win last night how much it means to them, and I really hope that we have a lot more wins like that under our belt.

PN: Another big positive out of last night was the return of Heart’s international marquee player Orlando Engelaar. What does he bring to the team?

IR: Quality. He brings a lot of quality. And height, I’ll tell you that much. He’s tall enough to be a basketball player (laughs). He was very unfortunate to cop a bad injury at the start of pre-season so it’s great to see him back after a quick recovery.

PN: Hopefully he’ll be fully fit for the round 18 match in Albury against the Perth Glory. Have you been to Albury? IR: I haven’t been to Albury before, so it’ll be the first time for quite a few of us I think. So we’re all really looking forward to that and hopefully we’ll see plenty of Melbourne Heart fans make the trip to support the boys.

PN: Perth has defeated Heart twice this season already. What have you learned from those two matches that will help you get the win in Albury?

IR: Take your chances. Last time we played them I felt we dominated most of the match, but then they finished strong, so credit to them.

PN: Thanks a lot for talking to The Border Mail, Iain. We’ll see you in Albury on February 9.