Gary Mackay: Hearts’ dignity remains intact

Dejection for Gary Locke. Picture: SNS

Dejection for Gary Locke. Picture: SNS

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Relegation has been pretty much inevitable for Hearts since last summer, but it was always going to be sore when it eventually came.

However, the players, coaching staff and supporters can take nothing but pride from the way they’ve conducted themselves throughout this season. It is testament to everyone involved that Hearts have got stronger as the season has gone on and now look like they’re finishing with a flourish.

The improvement in the team since the start of the season shows the impact that Gary Locke, Billy Brown and Robbie Neilson – all guys with a good professional football background – have had on the players.

I’ve always been critical of the lack of professionalism within the Hearts academy but I think it makes a big difference when you’ve got the young players being looked after by someone like Robbie, who’s come through the ranks and knows what it takes to carve a long-term career as a top-level footballer in this country.

You’ve also got Billy, who played a big part in nurturing Gary Naysmith, arguably Hearts’ most successful homegrown export of the last 20 years.

They’ve worked away diligently to get the youngsters to a level where they now have a proper knowledge of what is required to play at the highest level in this country and it is showing in their improved performances.

It bodes well for next season if we can keep everything together in the Championship. But I don’t want to get too carried away about that until I find out how things pan out for us off the field.

Last summer’s events, when we entered administration, dictated how this season unfolded, so we can only hope that what happens in the next few months won’t have an adverse effect on our hopes of moving forward with a bit of positivity next season.

What happens in Lithuania is pivotal to what direction we are heading in. I really hope the meetings bring good news and we are able to get good Hearts people back at the helm to start leading the club with the type of pride and dignity that the team and the supporters have shown in spades.