ANDREW DRIVER admits that Hearts supporters have every right to feel short-changed by their side right now.
The Jambos winger knows that he and his team-mates have let themselves, and those in the stands, down this season and that a lack of positive results has driven many fans away.
But he believes that the trip to Inverness tomorrow could be the ideal opportunity to start giving their backers value for money once again – and bring more cash through the turnstiles.
The Tynecastle side have created chances without converting them and have won just three of their 12 league matches so far, slipping towards the bottom of the SPL as a result.
However any misery the Hearts fans felt at that descent down the table paled in comparison to the reaction which greeted the statement released on the official website on Wednesday which claimed that the club could go out of business in less than a fortnight unless they receive major financial backing.
Driver knows it’s boom or bust both on and off the pitch.
The club’s statement begged fans to return to Tynecastle in their numbers for next weekend’s league game against St Mirren in a bid to rescue them from the brink and Driver is keen to get them back on side this weekend with a positive result in the Highlands.
He said: “This is the team I support now. I’ve been here for ten years, since I was 13 years old and come all the way through the ranks and got to know everyone.
“It is going to be a horrible situation for everyone if the club does go under. We have got to try to do everything to stop that happening.
“You can’t blame some fans for not coming along because we have not been playing well, but hopefully we can get the support back on side. We need it at the moment.
“We need to have a positive outlook and try to entertain the fans as much as we can as well as getting the right results again. They deserve that.
“I think that has been the most disappointing thing for the players this year. We have been so up and down and have lacked in consistency.
“Hopefully we can turn what seems like a massive negative for the club into a positive on the park and go up to Inverness and get a good result.
“We know that we need to start getting some results together and that we have let ourselves down a bit this year. We feel that we are going into every game in the right frame of mind but, obviously, it has not been turning out that way.
“Hopefully we can find that bit of consistency starting from tomorrow and look to climb the league.”
While a positive result at the Caledonian Stadium is a must for Hearts, Driver knows that Terry Butcher’s side won’t show them any sympathy.
He added: “Inverness is always a difficult game, and they are flying at the moment. We know it is not going to be an easy game but we have to go up there and give it our all.
“A few times this season we have done really well in games and still come away with nothing. We don’t want to be in that situation again tomorrow night.
“We have not been scoring too many goals but we have been creating chances, so I think we are not too far away. It just hasn’t quite clicked for us yet, but hopefully this game against Inverness can be the catalyst for us.
“We need it all to come good for us now more than ever.”
The Hearts players were informed by text message on Wednesday that the club was about to go public with their fears for the future and Driver admits that he and his footballing colleagues have been rocked by the news.
He insisted, however, that the playing staff are more concerned about the effect that redundancies, or a complete closure, would have on those who work behind the scenes at the club.
“It is obviously not the greatest situation for us as players”, Driver conceded.
“It’s not a good feeling for the club to be in this situation at all and it is very worrying but, hopefully, with a big drive from everyone we can get ourselves out of it. We will all talk to one another, but we have got to have our fingers crossed that things take a turn for the better.
“It’s not just about us, it’s worrying for the other people who work at the club. There is a lot more to Heart of Midlothian than the guys who play football for them.”
The players remain very much in the dark over what the future holds for them at Tynecastle, but Driver is keen to see them turn the worst of situations into a positive driving force.
He continued: “We have just got to concentrate on playing football. We have got a game at the weekend and hopefully that will take our minds off of everything else and we will deal with situations as they come.
“I think that we have shown in the past few years that our results have probably been better when we have had adversity to deal with.
“I think it makes the players realise that we are playing football, doing a job that we love to do. You’ve just got to go out there and do your job.
“This is a worrying time but football is a good way to take your mind off of it.
“We are not due to be paid until next Friday and the club has been totally transparent with us. A few years ago we didn’t know anything. Even last year we weren’t told, but now they tell us a lot and hopefully we will have a meeting with the powers that be. But until that point we only know as much as everybody else does right now.”
Driver was representing Hearts at the draw for the semi-finals of the Scottish Communities League Cup, which were held at Broughton High School in Edinburgh.
The Jambos were paired with Inverness in a match which will be played at Easter Road, while St Mirren will take on Celtic at Hampden.
Those matches are not due to be played until January and there is a genuine fear that the Tynecastle club will not be around to fulfil that fixture.
Rangers players took wages cuts and deferred their pay in a bid to save their club and Driver reckons that the Hearts squad would also bite the bullet if it meant a lifeline for the Jambos.
He continued: “Obviously that is a major fear, not only among the players, but with everybody. We are in a situation that we have got to get ourselves out of and hopefully as a collective we can do that.
“I think that there are a lot of roads that the club can go down. I am not a mathematician or an accountant so I don’t know if we can get out of it by everyone pulling in the right direction, but I hope so.
“If the club is close to closing down you have no other option but to talk about it and we will have to take that step when it comes to us. You would need to speak to your lawyers and the union. There are a lot of things that you would have to do. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that but we will have to wait and see.
“The one good thing about Hearts is that it is a tight club and everyone feels like they are in it together. Hopefully they are pulling in the same direction as us to try to get us out of it.
“But this is going to be playing on everyone’s minds, lots of them have families, some of the boys in the team have got families and they are the ones that I am most worried about.
“Christmas is just around the corner, so hopefully we do get ourselves out of this.”