Steven MacLean insists Hearts’ under-performing players have let down under-fire boss Craig Levein.
The Jambos crashed to the foot of the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday after succumbing to a 3-2 defeat against Motherwell, prompting several hundred furious fans to gather outside Tynecastle at full-time and demand Levein’s removal.
Vitriol was also aimed at the board – on which Levein serves as director of football – as they sang ‘Heart of Midlothian; we’re in the wrong hands’ and ‘sack the board’.
However, MacLean believes those on the pitch should be the ones shouldering the burden of responsibility for a winless start to the league campaign and is adamant the dressing room remains united behind their boss.
The experienced attacker said: “It’s difficult to see people at the door (of Tynecastle). The things they are saying are not nice. The manager brought us all here so we are all a part of that and we have let him down.
“Everybody says the buck stops with the manager, but the players haven’t been good enough. We have to take responsibility for that and we feel it.
“We have to stick together and do the best we can to turn this around, not just for ourselves but for him. It’s hurting us all. But we can only change things on the pitch.”
Goals from Declan Gallagher, Sherwin Seedorf and Jermaine Hylton did the damage at Tynecastle, rendering strikes from Uche Ikpeazu and Ryo Meshino futile.
Hearts have now won just four Premiership games in the whole of 2019.
However, MacLean believes the upcoming double-header against Hibernian in the league and a Betfred Cup quarter-final against Aberdeen could turn the tide.
He added: “We have a big derby next weekend. Hibs got beaten as well so it will be a tough game – but that’s the sort of game that can change everything.
“We have the derby and then the quarter-final of the cup. We’ve spoken about that in there (the dressing room) and we know they are two massive games. Hopefully they can be the catalyst to turn our season around.”
Meanwhile, Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson reckons the Steelmen’s victory should have been more handsome.
The visitors struck the crossbar through Liam Donnelly in the first period, while Devante Cole forced a superb save from Hearts goalkeeper Colin Doyle after being sent scampering clear on goal by an Allan Campbell pass.
And the Fir Park boss is buoyed by the knowledge that, despite a third win on the bounce, he thinks there is more to come.
Robinson said: “To come to Tynecastle and create that amount of chances was fantastic.
“I still think there are aspects of our game that can get better. That was the really pleasing thing. We should have won by more and we made life difficult for ourselves at the end.”