Hearts detail reasons why Steven Naismith will lift Championship trophy - but no fanfare
Hearts have confirmed captain Steven Naismith will lift the Championship trophy after Saturday’s fixture with Inverness CT.
There has been speculation as to whether the players will leave it on the stand due to demands from fans.
Sections of the support were keen for the club to send a message following the circumstances around the team’s relegation from the Premiership by collecting the medals but leaving the trophy standing on the platform
However, in a statement, the club detailed the reasons why Naismith will lift the title, notably out of respect for the players and staff who have helped the team back into the Premiership and also out of respect to the opponents.
The club also noted there would be “no fanfare” and the players won’t pass the trophy around.
“Saturday will see Heart of Midlothian host Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the final home match of the 2020/21 campaign,” it read.
“The Jambos head into the game having already won the Championship title in what has been, undoubtedly, the most challenging year in living memory.
“The campaign has seen its ups and its downs. There have been some memorable moments and there have been some tough periods. What is beyond doubt, however, is that Hearts are worthy winners of the league and this is a feat that we are delighted to have achieved, given how competitive the division has been, and we now begin to look forward to our return to the top flight.
“Not having our fans inside Tynecastle, for the entirety of the season, has been a big blow and the club is extremely thankful and grateful for the support we have received from afar.
“We understand the views of some supporters that we should not lift the trophy on Saturday. However, our players and backroom staff deserve to be recognised as the group that took the club straight back out of, notoriously, the most difficult league in Scotland to win promotion from, in the most challenging circumstances imaginable.
“At full time the first team will collect their winners’ medals and our captain, Steven Naismith, will lift the trophy – respectfully and to honour the players’ achievement – before returning to the dressing room. There will be no fanfare, there will be no passing around of the trophy and there will be no party on the pitch, given the absence of our fans.
“This act will be an act of respect. Respect to our players for the ‘hard yards’ they put in over the course of the season, respect to our opponents who would love to be in our position and respect to the fans who continue to back the club in an unprecedented fashion.
“We will always conduct ourselves in a manner befitting this great club. We will always do the right thing, no matter the circumstances. We are Always Hearts.”
Tomorrow’s fixture is the penultimate of the season for Robbie Neilson's men and he expressed his view on the situation.
He said: “When you have a title celebration, it’s with the fans, for the fans. When you don’t have any fans in the stadium, what are you doing it for? We have our own celebration as a group together but we’ve not got the fans to enjoy it with.”