Gary Mackay: Hearts must fight despite inevitable

Hearts' Paul McCallum battles with Keith Lasley
Hearts' Paul McCallum battles with Keith Lasley
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After a good run of recent form, Saturday’s performance was pretty disappointing and confirmed, if there was any lingering doubt, that we are heading for the Championship next season.

I think from pretty early in the season, it’s looked likely that we’d get relegated and even though we’ve had a good run over the past month or two, I don’t think anyone really thought we were back in with a shout of staying up.

As a team, you can’t give up until it’s mathematically impossible, though, and it’s important that we don’t go down without a fight.

We could still have two 
Edinburgh derbies left to play this season, so it’s important that we retain our pride and dignity in the games that remain.

The last thing we want to be doing is losing the fans long before the end of the season. I don’t expect that to happen because the players have shown huge amounts of fight throughout the season.

Some fans will have criticised the management and the players for Saturday’s performance and, as people who love the club, they are entitled to do that. It doesn’t mean they have an agenda, just as when I criticise certain aspects of the club, it doesn’t mean I have an agenda.

All I want to see is the best for Hearts and I think on Saturday we saw yet another example of the type of costly mistakes the decision-makers at the club have overseen in recent years as John Sutton scored his 14th goal of the 
season for Motherwell against us.

I know John wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I’m baffled that anyone, at the tail end of last season, could have looked at our squad and decided that we’d be better off letting a player of John’s experience leave. It typifies the lack of foresight that has led us into such a grim position as a club.

It’s going to be a tough rebuilding job for Gary Locke and the new owners. We’re now into March and we’re hearing it could yet be a month or two before we can start thinking about negotiating players’ contracts. We need a short, medium and long-term plan to get the club back to where it should be, with particular emphasis on the long-term as I don’t think there is a short-term fix.