Hearts Receive Another Fine For Indiscipline
Hearts have received yet another fine from the SFA, this time for their disciplinary record in the SPL last season.
Once again our team were, when it comes down to the statistics at least, classed as being the 'dirtiest' side in the league, with more cautions being given to their players than anyone else. As such, a new £40,000 fine has been imposed on the club.
I think we would all acknowledge that Hearts have had disciplinary problems in recent years. This is a natural symptom of a lack of leadership, which the team has unfortunately suffered from badly since George Burley left in 2005. However to say that the team was 'dirty' would sadly be way off the mark - I wouldn't actually have minded if this £40,000 fine had been merited due to us being a physically intimidating side, but the sort of bookings we're generally talking about with Hearts players have tended to be through petulance and frustration.
Hearts were far from being the sort of team who could bully their opposition off the park last year in a way that say Craig Levein's sides used to do, so it's more than disappointing that the club ends up with a fine when they haven't even made the most of their reputation. What I mean by this is, if you're going to get loads of bookings and red cards, then you may as well do so by adopting an aggressive attitude and trying make the prospect of a match against your team a frightening one, rather than 'wasting' cautions by kicking the ball away in anger or speaking out of turn.
There have been a few reasons for the poor disciplinary record of course, with only one of those being the aforementioned lack of leadership. This definitely has to be the main problem, but another of considerable significance has to be the attitude employed by match officials towards Hearts players last season. The inconsistencies suffered by Hearts at the hands of the men in black really did reach new depths, and it even got to the stage where several west-coast newspapers saw fit to comment on the obviously biased treatment on display. When these guys are reporting this in such a fashion, then you know that something isn't quite right, and we can only hope that while the Hearts players are being given lessons in professionalism by new manager Csaba Laszlo ahead of the new season, the refereeing fraternity are being asked to have a good look at themselves when it comes to impartiality, too.
Another interesting statistic from last season is that both Rangers and Celtic were apparently amongst the 'cleanest' teams in the SPL. What WERE the chances, eh?!