HEARTS’ preparations for the Edinburgh derby have been disrupted by another wage delay, with players told they will not receive any salaries today. However, the former Tynecastle manager Sandy Clark believes the issue will allow the squad to adopt a siege mentality before facing Hibs on Sunday.
Players were addressed by Hearts’ Lithuanian director Vitalijus Vasiliauskas after training at Riccarton yesterday and told not to expect any wages today. They are due to be paid on the 16th of every month but Vasiliauskas could not give a reason for the delay and said it would be about a week before he could ascertain when salaries would be processed.
Although players are irked at the latest failure by the club to pay on time, Clark feels the problem will actually galvanise them. Hibs arrive at Tynecastle on Sunday and Clark stressed that the squad will not allow missing wages to distract them from the task at hand.
“The players know they are going to get paid, and they will probably get paid in the next week or so,” he said. “It’s not ideal by any means but if you’ve been at Hearts for the last couple of years you will be partially used to it.
“This will galvanise the squad and give them a cause to bond together. I really don’t see it having a negative effect on the Hibs game. If they lose the game on Sunday, I don’t see Paulo Sergio blaming the wages problem. I think they’ll be able to shrug it off.
“It’s not like the situation at Rangers, where they’ve gone into administration to everyone’s surprise. It was a long time ago that Hearts were first late paying wages, and maybe it might have had an adverse effect back then. But I don’t think there’s one person at Riccarton who will be surprised at this happening now. If the players have any sense, they will be safeguarding things and keeping money aside just in case.
“I don’t see it having a big effect on the derby because it’s nothing new to the players. Hearts have proved that, whenever they go out on the pitch, the money doesn’t come into it. That’s the case for any player, as I know from experience. It’s great after the game if you’ve got a win bonus but that doesn’t make you try any harder.”
Hearts failed to pay their squad on time last October, November and December, eventually prompting 14 senior players to lodge a complaint with the Scottish Premier League. The club was then charged with “failing to behave with the utmost good faith to the SPL”.
Ryan Stevenson walked out of because of the matter and subsequently joined Ipswich Town. However, during the longest delay of almost a month through December and into January, Hearts compiled an impressive run of five wins and a draw in all competitions as the financial problems saw players pull together in the face of adversity.