MARIAN KELLO believes achieving European qualification this season would be the ideal way for Hearts to generate much-needed finance. The goalkeeper is aware, however, that as a prized asset he could be sold to offset mounting debt.
Whichever scenario unfolds, Kello only wants the best for Hearts. He is settled and happy in Edinburgh but will sacrifice himself and accept a transfer if the club need him to do so. His contract expires in June and he is expected to leave then, if not before. But Kello stressed today he is in no rush to depart.
Celtic are monitoring him with manager Neil Lennon an admirer of the Slovakian internationalist. However, there has been no contact between the two parties regarding a move to Glasgow.
“Sometimes somebody says something but if nobody says anything to me it means nothing,” said Kello.
“The situation is my contract is up in the summer and right now I am not concentrating on what happens then. I am concentrating on doing my work each day, each game is important. I just want to help the team. And if I can help the team, for example, by helping them raise money by selling me then I am going to do it because the club needs money. Hearts gave me an opportunity to come here and it has been an honour. If I can give them something back then I would definitely accept this situation to help the team.
“I don’t know what is going to happen to be honest. I am just waiting for a phonecall from my agent and then we will see what happens. I am happy here, that’s the first thing. I am not bursting to get away from here. The best thing would be for Hearts to finish second in the league by winning every game and we have enough money to be okay for the next three seasons.
“But it’s going to be very difficult. I don’t think we have that target now, actually. I don’t think we can aim that high. Maybe in two or three months if we do really well we can maybe consider attacking second spot. But right now I don’t think that’s our target.”
The immediate target is to continue a fine vein of form which took Hearts into this afternoon’s match with St Mirren on the back of four wins and a draw in their last five games. Despite financial uncertainty and delayed wages in recent months, the resilience of the Tynecastle squad is clear for all to see.
Kello admitted tension was evident a few weeks ago, however since then the players have rallied impressively. “It definitely wasn’t easy because you would go into training and see all the boys and you knew some were thinking about things which are important for living rather than football,” he said.
“But for me, I think I am experienced enough to cope with the situation. I have been in similar situations before so it wasn’t a big problem for me. I was still able to motivate myself.
“It happened to me when I was younger in Slovakia. My club, Kosice, had very big problems and after a while they went bankrupt. I did not see any salary for seven months – and I haven’t seen anything from them yet. I have suffered delays at each club I have been at, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
“In my country that can happen because we don’t have such a powerful associations to deal with that kind of stuff. So if a club goes bankrupt what can you do? But I don’t think that will happen to Hearts.
“At the beginning of the bad situation here all the players were much more frustrated than they are now. They were not ready to deal with something like this and we didn’t cope with it very well. You could see the frustration at training, it was the same in games as well.
“That’s why it wasn’t that good at the beginning. But recently we have settled down with the situation, things have got better. And I think the boys have come together and started to work at training and have showed that on the pitch when we have played.”
Kello revealed that foreign players at Riccarton were more relaxed over wage delays than Scots. “It was difficult in the dressing-room because for the Scottish players this was not acceptable at all, it has never happened here,” he continued.
“It was all new for them and that’s why they needed more time to sit down and talk about it and that’s why there was more frustration. So in the dressing-room there were some players who had experienced this before and who were convinced we would see our money.
“And then there were the Scottish players, who were arguing more with the staff. But we were all fighting for the same thing.”