I usually sit in the Wheatfield Stand when I go to Tynecastle these days but a friend of mine, Billy Ramsay, who was on my testimonial committee, kindly offered me his ticket so I could sit in the old main stand for one final time.
It was disappointing that such a momentous occasion resulted in such a poor performance, but every Hearts supporter already has a wealth of positive memories from that stand – they won’t be defined by what happened yesterday.
My main concern at the moment is not how we failed to give the stand a fitting farewell – it is the general state of the team, and where we are heading in the short term.
There seems to be an acknowledgement from the club that the January changes haven’t worked, and that major changes are needed in the summer. I just hope that, over the close season, Ian Cathro is able to get the right type of players in who will respond more positively to what he’s asking them to do because, to me, it looks like the current players are, for whatever reason, not playing for him. That is not me having a go at Ian – it is just the way it seems to me from the sidelines, having watched several limp performances from Hearts over the past few months.
Apart from our goal, the Aberdeen goalkeeper wasn’t worked at all yesterday. With a European place at stake, and in front of a full house, that’s not good enough. I feel for Ian because I’ve been in a similar position when I was in charge at Airdrie. I used to take results home and beat myself up about, and I decided from an early point that I wasn’t cut out to be a manager. I struggled to command a dressing-room and I found I was more suited to coaching at boys club level.
Ian seems to maintain full confidence that he will turn things round, and I just hope for everyone at Hearts that his belief is vindicated and that he turns it round for the start of next season. I defended his appointment when others were having unnecessary digs and, like every Hearts supporter, I’d love to see Ian get his own players in, have a good pre-season with them and oversee a swashbuckling team next season. Right now, however, it’s hard to be massively optimistic.