Gary Mackay: Chaos - but Hearts send out message

Rangers' Nicky Law battles with Hearts pair Genero Zeefuik (front) and Morgaro Gomis
Rangers' Nicky Law battles with Hearts pair Genero Zeefuik (front) and Morgaro Gomis
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While it was disappointing on a football level that Friday’s match fell victim to the elements, my main concern was the contempt shown to the Hearts supporters throughout what was a sorry night for Scottish football.

Not once throughout the evening were the fans – the lifeblood of the game who will be there long after players and managers pass through – taken into consideration by the authorities.

We had cars and busloads of Hearts fans stuck on the M8 due to the conditions, yet there was no attempt to delay kick-off to allow them to get in on time, hence a load of empty seats in the away end when the match started. Then, when the match was eventually abandoned, adequate security was not in place to let the Hearts supporters return safely to their cars and buses, resulting in some pretty distressing incidents.

The fact there wasn’t even an orange ball available in the stadium just underlined the whole farcical episode.

While my main concern was for the Hearts supporters, the game going ahead was also a clear safety risk for the players of both sides. Although it was the right call to abandon it, it was disappointing that such a high-profile match wasn’t able to go ahead as planned.

From a football perspective, the one thing that encouraged me was that, in a game we didn’t necessarily have to win given our lead of 13 points at the top of the table, the management opted to go and take on Rangers in their own back yard with two strikers. That speaks volumes about the confidence levels and mindset at the club just now. It will also have been a real boost to the players’ morale that their manager has enough confidence in them to feel he can go to Ibrox and set up in a 4-4-2 formation. That will also have sent out a bit of a message to Rangers.

Now the focus turns to our home game against Falkirk, and that is unlikely to be straightforward. They’ve really picked up over the last couple of months and gave us a bit of a fright in the second half during our last meeting with them at Falkirk Stadium.

Either way, hopefully it’s football we’re discussing rather than the type of shambles we witnessed on Friday night.