Comment: Hearts took the Dundee battering off the pitch - and can you blame them?

It didn’t take long. Twenty-eight minutes to be precise, between the full-time whistle at Tynecastle on Friday night and a tweet on Hearts’ account laying into their already battered opponents.
Hearts towered above Dundee on Friday night.Hearts towered above Dundee on Friday night.
Hearts towered above Dundee on Friday night.

If you’re on social media, you’ll have seen the craze, the “how it started, how it ended” fad with a picture of the past and the picture of the present. Well, Hearts’ social media team definitely won Twitter with their version that was as good as a seventh goal against a Dundee team they had just eviscerated 6-2.

The first image read with a headline from April, “Dundee set for SPFL vote U-turn which will likely consign Hearts to relegation with reports of being offered ‘lucrative’ friendlies”, while the second image was a screenshot of the SPFL Championship table as it stood at 10.14pm on Friday – Hearts top, Dundee bottom.

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By close of play on Friday, it had been retweeted 3,781 times and liked by 9,166 people. One suspects not all of them were Hearts fans; Partick, Stranraer, Brora and Kelty followers probably got involved too. After all, these were the clubs who were affected the most when the Scottish leagues were called “as is” and demotions were dished out after an SPFL resolution.

The validity of it all can be argued all day. Those happenings are done, deeds chiselled into the tomes of Scottish football. Bitter and rancour, however, remain. Dundee were not the only club that engineered the early conclusion of the league due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they played a huge part. They surely knew this was coming. The first meeting against Hearts in the new world was going to be tasty. Punches were going to be thrown. It was just whether they would land.

By god, they did. A mortified James McPake faced up to the press looking like he’d been told he’d have to walk back to Dundee from Edinburgh. The Dark Blues manager – emphasis on dark – could barely answer questions. The pictures of Dens Park managing director John Nelms, socially distanced in the Tynecastle main stand, told the whole story. Not even a face mask could hide his despair. And then, the barbs towards them flowed in Twitterland. River upon river of glee from Hearts fans, flowing into the ocean that was Hearts’ tweet.

Hearts fans, and the club, will feel they are owed this. Yes, their team last year under-performed so miserably given the resources at their disposal last season and yes, the odds were stacked against them in their quest to overhaul a four-point gap at the foot of the Premiership when the 2019/20 campaign ended. But the way their exit from the Premiership happened, with months of in-fighting and statements, bottled up so much emotion and pain. It was released, the cork shooting right into the belly of Dundee, after months of fermentation. The club’s tweet was questioned by a few – but liked by so many.

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These two meet at least twice more this season. Punch-drunk Dundee will need to haul themselves off the canvas. But for now, this is Hearts’ moment, the perfect start to Project Return. They’ve done their talking on the pitch – and off it. And that tweet will get a few more likes before the weekend is out ...