Gary Mackay: Lack of fight risks driving Hearts fans away

Alexandros Tziolis (left) heads clear under pressure from Celtic's Stuart Armstrong. Picture: SNS
Alexandros Tziolis (left) heads clear under pressure from Celtic's Stuart Armstrong. Picture: SNS
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I feel I’ve been very supportive of what Hearts have done over the past few years and I’ve been disappointed by some of the comments about the club from outwith, particularly in relation to the appointment of Ian Cathro.

However, I believe there is now genuine reason for concern about what we’ve been witnessing over the past few months. We signed nine players in the mid-season transfer window and the way things are going, we’ll probably have to sign a lot more in the summer. Heart of Midlothian are a massive club in Scottish terms but I think it’s increasingly looking like we have become some kind of experiment, with too many players who are not accustomed to the demands of our league and a host of young coaches with no experience of managing at the top level.

We are in a really important period in the history of the football club because we are building a new stand and working towards fan ownership. To keep the supporters onside for the long term and make all of those steps worthwhile, we need to maintain harmony and momentum.

Unfortunately, that is not happening at present. Put bluntly, if the team was performing as it is just now under Lithuanians, the fanbase would be up in arms. Five defeats in six is not befitting of a Hearts team with one of the biggest budgets in the country. Our performances recently against the likes of Hibs, Partick Thistle, Inverness and Ross County have been pitiful.

Our opponents on Wednesday, St Johnstone, had two men sent off for fighting with each other on Saturday. While I’m not condoning it, or suggesting our players should be fighting one another, at least it shows they care. Right now, I just don’t see any fight or spirit in this Hearts team.

It’s all very well saying Celtic are on a different level, but we still have several international players in our squad and should be capable of standing up to them better than we did yesterday. It was no surprise that the fans left early in their numbers because they were understandably scunnered by the gutless reaction to falling behind against the run of play.

I just hope, for the sake of a club which has come a long way since administration, that the sight of loads of empty seats is not a sign of things to come when the capacity of our stadium increases next season.