Gary Mackay: Support off the pitch matches success on it
The togetherness right through the football club has been wonderful over the past couple of weeks and needs to be applauded.
I’ve been really heartened by the response from everyone connected with Hearts, and Saturday’s game against St Mirren was a really uplifting occasion for anyone who cares for this great club.
It was rousing atmosphere at the start and although there were lulls at various intervals in the game, it really picked up again after the goal. It was great to see so many people there and that the club acknowledged the amount of money these amazingly loyal supporters have raised, but let’s be under no illusions. Although £500,000 is a huge amount of money in anybody’s eyes, there’s still a long way to go in terms of raising the £2 million or so that the club say they need. It’s a real big ask of the supporters to expect them to keep on putting their hands in their pockets to make up the shortfall, so that’s why I think the Foundation of Hearts group is the only way forward for me in the long term.
The great thing about the Foundation is that they are not a reactive group, they have been very proactive over the last couple of years. Within their own circle, they’ve been working away diligently over time so that if a situation like this arose, they would be in a position to save our football club.
On the football side, although it took a deflected goal to win the game, we more than merited our victory. The thing that really pleased me about Saturday’s performance was that, in addition to having a solid defensive performance, we looked a lot more mobile in terms of our attacking play. We didn’t create too many clear chances, but we had a real youthfulness and vibrancy that I’ve not seen for a while. The performance that really stood out for me, though, was that of Marius Zaliukas. He’s not always my favourite player because for a player who has the ability to play at really high level, I think he lets his standards slip too often. On Saturday, however, I thought he led by example and produced a real captain’s performance.
Given the way the league table was before kick-off, it’s a very big three points for us, especially with Dundee winning at the weekend. We’ve got some really hard games coming up in the next few weeks and our squad is certainly not the biggest, so as a group of supporters we’ll need to retain a sense of realism in terms of our expectations.
On a more sombre note, I was deeply saddened to learn that my old Hearts team-mate Sandy Jardine is battling cancer. It was actually Sandy who gave me the idea for the Fighting Fund which Scott Crabbe and I launched last week, as Sandy was the man behind the Rangers Fighting Fund. It shows you the quality and class of the man that he took time out to encourage me to go down this road just a week ago at a time when he had far more worrying matters on his mind. Sandy sold me on the Fighting Fund, as he said it would provide longer-term support to the club. (ie. it is not just for today or tomorrow) and that the funds will be made available no matter who the custodian of the football club is. I wish my old friend all the best in his battle.
• Further to the launch of the 1874 Fighting Fund, we are still in the process of formalising the committee, but we will have a secretary in place very soon who will make sure that anyone who donates to the fund will be kept in the picture with regards to all funds raised and spent.
As we revealed last week, several high-profile players, as well as Harry Redknapp, have already kindly pledged to the Fund. Any supporters wishing to donate can send funds to the following bank account as of tomorrow: Sort code 80-22-60 Account 10795065.