After the debacle that unfolded last term, the last thing we needed this time round was to be in a position where our season is effectively over in early March
It speaks volumes about where we are that Steven Naismith is talking about making sure we get into the top six and Christophe Berra is already looking towards next season. After exiting the Scottish Cup at Motherwell and then having our lingering European hopes killed off with a meek performance at Easter Road on Friday, we now face a grim couple of months with little to play for and a fanbase exasperated with the situation.
Put simply, the loyal Hearts supporters have been short changed for the second season running. In our current predicament, where we are able to sign players like Kyle Lafferty, Christophe Berra and Steven Naismith, nine wins from 30 Premiership games is not good enough.
We have all the resources to at the very least be competing with Hibs, and, in our third season back in the top flight, we should also have been in a position to challenge Aberdeen.
Yes, we’ve changed managers, but that was over six months ago. Look at the swiftness with which Steve Clarke transformed Kilmarnock from relegation fodder to a team that now look better than us on a fraction of our budget.
With the players in our squad, we should have become more than simply a hard team to beat. Yes, we’ve had injuries, but every team gets them. We’ve also pitched in lots of youngsters, but we’ve also had plenty senior players sitting on the bench while playing the kids. That, to me, highlights that recruitment hasn’t been good enough.
Why, for instance, can’t Malaury Martin get a game ahead of 16-year-olds? That is a pretty damning indictment of a guy we felt merited a three-and-a-half-year contract.
The next few weeks are going to be a real test for the football department as they battle to win back the goodwill of the support. The very fact that our top-six spot is not secure at this stage is reason enough to question, once again, the level of progress being made by a club heavily reliant on the ongoing backing of its supporters. With yet another rebuild on the cards in the summer, the current situation is as depressing as it is worrying.