Gary Mackay: Nobody can ever question our fans’ loyalty

Marius Zaliukas fires the ball home to level the scoreline for Hearts

Marius Zaliukas fires the ball home to level the scoreline for Hearts

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At the end of Saturday’s draw in 
Inverness, the Hearts fans sang proudly “We’ll support you ever more”, and that has to be the motto as we strive to come through this difficult time in our great club’s history.

It’s an old-fashioned song, which other clubs have also used, but it’s especially pertinent to Hearts’ situation at present because the backing, loyalty and togetherness of the support has been truly phenomenal over the past week or so.

Nobody can ever question the loyalty of the Heart of Midlothian fans. From helping fund the Wheatfield Stand, to the Save our Hearts campaign, to the way they stayed loyal after George Burley’s stunning sacking in 2005, the Hearts fans will never desert their team. I was in the club shop getting my tickets for the St Mirren game and it was humbling to see the massive queues of people waiting to plough their money into the club. It really is wonderful. The strength of support for this great club of ours was further highlighted by the incredible turnout at the club’s Remembrance Service yesterday. It was great to see so many people there, including Sergejus Fedotovas, as respecting the fallen heroes of war is a massive part of Hearts’ proud history. It was also nice to see Hibs chairman Rod Petrie there. That was a nice touch.

I wish I was in a position to write this column exclusively on football matters, but sadly it’s impossible to do that at present. We have a huge game this weekend against St Mirren, but let’s not forget our players will be going through turmoil, given all the uncertainty. After all, they are due to get their wages on Friday, and the way things are going, there’s no guarantee that will happen. That is bound to be preying on their minds all week, so it will be a factor the fans will have to bear in mind come Saturday.

As supporters, we just need to make sure that we give our unconditional support to the team and the club. This is not a time for turning on players or anything like that if Saturday’s game doesn’t go as planned. There shouldn’t be any problems if they show the same spirit as they did up at Inverness on Saturday, though. The display at the weekend wasn’t great, and our league position isn’t particularly attractive, but the players kept going to the end and showed tremendous character to come away with a point against a side who are clearly full of confidence.

We had a very difficult first hour, but the last 30 minutes was much-improved. We just seem to be struggling to get any consistency of performance at the moment, though. We’ve had a settled back six of Jamie MacDonald, Ryan McGowan, Danny Grainger, Marius Zaliukas, Andy Webster and Darren Barr, which is the same half dozen that started the Scottish Cup final, and that has generally showed in the way the team has defended reasonably well again this season.

However, the same can’t be said of the more creative and attacking area of the team, where John McGlynn has had to do a lot of chopping and changing as he strives to get the best balance. That has manifested itself in the lack of potency we have shown this season, but I’m confident John will find the right blend soon enough.

My joy at Hearts’ late equaliser on Saturday quickly turned to sadness when I got the news that Roger Turner, who played a huge part in Tollcross Hearts Supporters Club, had lost his fight for life. Roger was an unassuming, classy man who was a devoted Hearts fan and his passing once again brought life into perspective.