Hearts players out to repay fans
The Hearts players have decided to defer their wages and are determined to repay the fans' faith in Saturday's Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with St Mirren.
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Captain Marius Zaliukas and Scotland internationals Andy Webster and Darren Barr have been key figures in the squad as beleaguered Hearts battle for their future.
And midfielder Dylan McGowan insisted the decision made by many members of the squad, manager John McGlynn and some of the coaching staff to defer their wages, which had been due on Friday, was made easier by the fans digging deep to help the club in their current predicament.
The 21-year-old Australian said: "If we can defer our wages for a little bit to keep this club alive we will do.
"When you see the fans rallying around like they have done it was the least we could've done. None of the boys had any issues with doing it.
"We want to show the fans that we're worth keeping around and that this club's worth having. We'll try our best, that's all we can do."
Last week, when a £450,000 tax bill was revealed and a winding up order was issued, Hearts suggested the St Mirren fixture could be the 138-year-old club's last.
But Hearts and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs agreed this week to a deal to extend the deadline for payment, which is just one of many financial issues at Tynecastle.
"It's not the ideal preparation for footballers to go out and play a game," McGowan added.
"The gaffer's kept us really focused on going out and getting three points and playing well.
"It's a difficult period for all players, but when we see the fans supporting us as they have done, it's a lot easier. You realise how big this club actually is."
McGowan was on loan from Hearts at Gold Coast United in his native Australia when their A-League licence was revoked and the club folded, after just three seasons.
"I was on loan to Gold Coast United last year when they went bust; it's not that unfamiliar to me at the moment," he added.
"There are similarities with struggling to pay bills. Here you can see how much a fan base really does matter to a football club.
"Here's a much bigger club and to see the fans rallying around like they have done is really heartening for all the boys.
"We're very confident and hopeful we'll be around for a long time to come."
While his elder brother Ryan is a mainstay of the Hearts first-team, McGowan is on the periphery and has made three substitute appearances in the SPL this term.
McGowan hopes his brother, who played for Australia in South Korea in midweek, will remain at Hearts for the remainder of the season, but knows if players are sold in January he may get a chance to emulate his sibling.
McGowan added: "He's one of the first names on the teamsheet, the fans seem to love him. He's important to the club and he's done hugely well to get to where he is.
"It's a great achievement for him to be in the international set-up and that's through playing for a club like Hearts."
Hearts are without a win in three in the SPL, with scoring a problem.
McGlynn said: "We've not put the ball in the back of the net enough for the amount of the ball we've had, the amount of possession, the amount of good play. That's the only thing that's been missing.
"The league's very, very tight and you can climb that league table with two or three victories.
"Every game's hard, it doesn't matter who you play. That's the same for our opponents. St Mirren have lost five in a row, they're desperate for points as much as we're desperate for points."