Olly Lee admits the Hearts players had no option but to cancel their Christmas trip to Prague following last Friday’s 5-0 defeat by Livingston.
The team were due to fly to the Czech Republic on Saturday morning, but that plan was shelved after they fell to one of their most humiliating defeats of their modern era in West Lothian the previous evening.
Midfielder Lee, speaking during the club’s annual festive visit to Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital, said: “We all said that we just couldn’t do it. We knew we didn’t deserve it. It was as simple as that. We all knew we didn’t deserve to be out enjoying ourselves after a result like that. There was never any question, straight away it was off.
“There was no-one who thought we should be going away. We all knew.
“The lads have put a good shift in this season and that can be forgotten after a bad result like that, but we all still knew that we didn’t deserve to be out celebrating. It’s as simple as that.”
The decision to call off the trip was initiated by captain Christophe Berra. “Yeah, Skip took charge of that and said it wasn’t the right thing and, to be fair, everyone agreed,” said Lee. “We all knew. We weren’t thinking about it during the game but afterwards, when we were on the coach, we all knew it wasn’t the right thing to do. It is a shame because it would have been nice to have some team bonding but you don’t feel the same happiness after a 5-0 defeat and not doing yourselves justice.”
Lee admits he has never been part of a team that has had to cancel a social occasion due to a bad result before.
“Usually you get away with it but this time we all knew it wasn’t the right time to be out enjoying ourselves,” he said. “The lads all knew that, and fair play to the lads we have had a hard week this week. We have all worked hard and we will be doing our best to put in a good performance against Aberdeen on Saturday.”
Lee is confident there will be a positive response when Hearts return to action at Pittodrie tomorrow. “We have had some frank discussions and a lot of things have been said that needed to be said,” explained Lee, who is likely to be restored to the starting lineup tomorrow. “We have addressed them as a squad and the manager has obviously led the way with that.
“It has been well-documented that we have had a tough time and the result on Friday was unacceptable and that has been highlighted and maybe we had got to a stage where a few home truths needed to be said.
“They have been said now and we all feel a lot better for having got it off our chest.
“Hopefully we can now kick on through what is going to be a tough Christmas period and for the remainder of the season.”