'We deserve better' - How a day of unrest unfolded for Hearts as team, board and manager slammed by fans
Hearts’ Championship fixture with Queen of the South on Saturday was always going to be an intriguing one.
As soon as the full-time whistle blew at Dudgeon Park on Tuesday night to signal one of the all-time cup shocks as Brora Rangers beat the Tynecastle Park side 2-1, it added more weight to what happened at Tynecastle Park.
Hearts went down 3-2 to Queen of the South in madcap fashion.
The action, however, started before the match.
By the morning of the game, stickers calling for Robbie Neilson and Ann Budge to leave the club had been plastered on the Main Stand.
Come 1.45pm, a group of supporters had started to congregate on McLeod Street and a banner was unfurled at Foundation Plaza. It read: “Budge & Levein stole our club”.
As the game neared kick off, more fans had arrived and the protest moved on to Foundation Plaza complete with a ‘We deserve better’ banner.
Barely two minutes had passed following Gavin Duncan's whistle signalling the start of the game when Mihai Popescu passed to Stephen Dobbie, who set up Connor Shields for the opener.
Disaster was still to follow with Shields grabbing a second.
Hearts would bounce back before Andy Irving’s own goal summed up a torrid last week for Neilson and his team.
It is a result which prompted even more disgruntlement on social media as fans reacted to another debacle:
@PantsShaton: “I hate seeing someone so closely affiliated with the club failing. It’s painful. I also think sacking managers prematurely is the most common mistake in football. But surely this is the end of the line? These players are a disgrace and should hang their heads in shame.”
@ThisMyStoryPod: “Let’s end it here with this. Well done to Stevie Kilgour of the federation of Hearts for having the balls to call it as it is. @The_FOH “grow a set” as he said and start leading for the fans. Change has to happen and it has to happen NOW. Not another penny until it does.”
@lauriedunsire: ”Probably sums up Heart of Midlothian recently when you see 36-year-old player/Reserve Team Manager Willie Gibson strolling two matches against us. Well done to @OfficialQosFC but that was grim viewing as a Hearts fan.”
@mattleslie74: “Both manager, team and board are very lucky there wasn't a crowd inside the stadium today. I remember Cathro's last game - not the most pleasant atmosphere.”
@JamboDes: “Was hoping on his return RN could rekindle the spirit of his previous stint. Not to be. Only Hearts could turn winning a league into an absolute train wreck.”
@HoofballPod: “At least we can support the Man United and Man City boys away on international duty instead Would never have expected to beat QotS so I am perfectly happy with what's happened here.”
@graha1874: “Pathetic. Utterly, utterly pathetic. Numpty teams like Alloa, Brora & now QotS who haven’t beaten us in about 200 years combined before this season turning up and not just beating us but doing it while we reply with a whimper. Atrocious.”
@notsobigbryan: “Well we wanted a response. Some sort of statement. We got one. If the statement is 'we are stale, over paid, not interested or motivated, and not playing for a manager who is in deep trouble'. Only us.”