There was a period in the second half of the Scottish Cup quarter-final at Cappielow on Monday night when, from the outside, it began to get a bit antsy for Heart of Midlothian. Greenock Morton had upped the ante and intensity, they had a sniff of an upset. More balls went into the box, more pressure was exerted.

Hearts stood firm with Craig Gordon demonstrating that none of his goalkeeping powers had waned during his long stint off with injury in 2023. In such situations, a big match in front of a raucous home support who had begun to believe, teams could get dragged into a very awkward situation. One where nerves turn to fear and a good cup draw, on paper, turns into an embarrassing exit.

Not for this Hearts side. They went onto progress to the Scottish Cup semi-final.

They have, over the course of the season, developed into one of the most composed and patient teams in Scotland. There is something quite alluringly unemotional about the team in how they go about their business. Hearts are an extension of their manager. They don't tend to get too high and they don't get too low. They are rarely flustered. They rarely get drawn into a game they don't want to play. 

Patience is a virtue.

READ MORE: Steven Naismith Q&A: Hearts away form, Yan Dhanda, Kingsley, semi-final tickets

"Monday night was a good example of that," Naismith said. "We knew it was going to be direct, they parts you can't control, they are going to put balls in your box, whether it be throw-ins, corners, set plays, direct play, at times you can’t stop it. You need to deal with that, but when we have it, at the start yes you’re trying to score but as much as that you’re trying to tire the other team out, move them about and constantly ask them to defend and work out solutions to the problems we’re causing them."

Naismith's message was clear and consistent from the touchline. Move the ball. Move the ball across the pitch. Move the ball quicker. The aim? Control that then leads to either the opposition dropping deep or as the game progresses getting stretched.

"That takes time," he said. "And then as the game opened up we probably had four or five really good chances which we should score. And some of our league games have been similar."

Livingston in Gorgie was the best example of such a situation. Control and patience.

That mantra and mentality is even more important at Tynecastle Park. Take the recent win over Celtic. When they went down to 10 men Hearts could easily have lost their shape and structure, veered away from their game plan and got caught up in the occasion. Instead of sticking to the process, they could have chased the game, tried to take advantage of the extra man. But they didn't. They stuck to the plan, the process.

The Hearts crowd are expectant. They are emotional. They can get restless. But increasingly over time, there has been a greater understanding of the factors at play. A trust that Hearts will find a way to win.

Now, it would be foolish to believe everything is perfect. At times it can be frustrating, the slow burn, working teams out, wearing them down. It is understandable if supporters would like to see a bit more tempo and intensity, even if that means chaos. Chaos thrives within the confines of Tynecastle. There is certainly a belief amongst some that Hearts are at their best at home when the game is harum-scarum, open and there is a sense of anarchy. But ultimately it is rewarding with games won in the second half.

That control and patience, not to play the game the opposition want, has developed throughout the season.

READ MORE: Hearts, Premiership's youngest team and the four squad categories

"It was harder at the start of the season because if you’re not getting results to get that buy-in and the players to say this is good you need to see some progress," Naismith explained. "What helped through that period was a couple of the games we lost were down to individual mistakes that cost us. It wasn’t the way we were playing. We still dominated in both boxes but we’d lose a poor goal and we maybe wouldn’t finish the endpoint but we would create chances. So that helped.

"But now, like everything, we are learning every day in everything we do, we’re showing them video and having constant meetings, it’s the best way for me to learn. And the strides we have made over the course of the season have been really good."

Hearts have still not dropped points from a winning position since losing to Aberdeen back in December. They have gained eight points from losing positions in that time.

Fitness, both physically and mentally, has played its part. It wasn't given any extra focus during the summer, just another tenet of the way Naismith wants his team to operate, keen to push the players to their limit. Something the head coach admitted has admitted has perhaps played a part in the injuries picked up during the season. 

READ MORE: Hearts give Frankie Kent and Calem Nieuwenhof timeline - Kingsley Scotland hope

"I had an understanding of how I wanted to work and how I worked throughout my career, where I felt best and what the numbers looked like, effectively," he explained. "That’s what we have worked to, so we do work really hard. And we’re pushing everybody to the limits. But we’ll be better for it in the long term.

"It ties in with the fact we have a good squad, we do play everybody, we have everybody involved because at times like now we have a fair few injuries and that’s an opportunity for others. Some of the injuries have been unlucky from games and tackles and things you can't control, others have come from boys working to their maximum and giving their all and have maybe gone too far. But I’d rather we perform the way we are just now and on that side of it rather than holding back.

"Fitness has played its part, but it’s an enjoyable fitness, I think."

It has culminated in a Hearts side that don't panic, don't stress and don't allow external factors to influence them. They stay calm, maintain composure and stress patience. It is a process that continues to deliver.