Hearts chairman Ann Budge has urged fans not to protest ahead of their Scottish Championship clash with Queen of the South on Saturday.
The club have learned of a potential gathering at Tynecastle amid anger over their midweek Scottish Cup exit against ring-rusty Highland League side Brora Rangers.
Budge said in a statement: “The board, management and staff fully understand and share the anger and strength of feeling being expressed by our fans following what was a totally unacceptable performance and result on Tuesday evening.
“We can only echo the comments made by Robbie Neilson after the game. He was stunned and embarrassed, as were we all, by our exit at this stage of the Scottish Cup.
“It was, as the manager said, completely unacceptable and fell way below the standards that we set and expect at Hearts.
“We completely respect the right of any and all of our supporters to make their voices heard and feelings known in a peaceful and law-abiding manner.
“However we are aware, from social media, that there is the suggestion of a fans protest at Tynecastle Park on Saturday prior to our Championship fixture with Queen of The South.
“We do not need to remind anyone that we are still in the midst of worldwide pandemic during which our focus has at all times been on ensuring the safety and security of everyone at Tynecastle.
“Nor do we need to remind you that it is unlawful for crowds to gather in public places due to current Covid restrictions.
“We must, therefore, urge all fans, in the strongest possible manner, not to congregate at Tynecastle Park on Saturday.”
Budge added that the club were on the cusp of achieving their priority of winning the Championship and pleaded with fans not to allow “frustration and anger to knock us off course”.
Manager Robbie Neilson promised to do everything to ensure the team improved.
“After a result and performance like we had on Tuesday night I would expect any manager to be under scrutiny,” Neilson said. “You accept that when you come in to the job.
“I carry the can for the team and we didn’t get anywhere near the levels expected of us.
“There will not be anyone driving harder than me to make sure that gets put right.
“We have to look at ourselves in the mirror, all of us in the football department – manager, coaches, players and staff – and see where we can improve to move forward.”
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