DANNY Grainger has revealed that he still frets about the financial problems facing former club Hearts, even though the St Mirren full-back admits he is relieved to now be at a club where his wages will be paid on time.
The 26-year-old wrote himself into Tynecastle folklore when he scored one of the goals (a penalty) in last year’s 5-1 Scottish Cup final victory over derby rivals Hibernian.
Although he missed most of last season, including the Scottish League Cup final against his new employers, after sustaining a serious knee injury, he claims that the Tynecastle club will always have a place in his heart. However, his concern is based on the fact that the decisions which will shape the club’s future will be taken in Kaunas rather than Edinburgh
“Hearts is a unique club – there’s nobody else like them,” he said. “Getting paid on time here is definitely a bonus, though. What went on behind the scenes at Tynecastle obviously wasn’t right but I hope they pull through. The problems didn’t really get to the players, though, because we reached two cup finals in the last two seasons and you can’t knock that – most clubs outside the Old Firm would have taken that.
“We stuck together as a group and whenever there was a fresh crisis at the club it seemed to spur us on.
“I still worry about Hearts because I have a lot of close friends who are still there and I would hate to see anything bad happen.
“You can see by how the fans get behind the club what Hearts means to them. I think it’s really important for Scottish football that they stay in the top flight.
“Unfortunately, while things are going on in Lithuania, there is only so much that the administrators and the bidders can do.”
Grainger has gone back to basics with the Buddies, revealing that manager Danny Lennon had played a formative role in his development as a teenager.
And, while Paisley was not his preferred destination when he left Hearts, he is content with his lot. “I was hoping to move down south but it’s just not as easy as that because there are a lot of players out of contract nowadays,” said Grainger, who played in Tuesday’s 2-0 friendly defeat by Newcastle. “But once I spoke to Danny Lennon and saw the facilities and the training ground I was more than happy to come here.
“St Mirren like to play football. Danny was my youth team coach at Gretna and his philosophy has always been the same.
“He tries to instil confidence in his players so that they pass the ball and that was another positive thing for me.
“I spoke to Danny after it became clear my contract at Tynecastle wasn’t going to be renewed. He asked me if I wanted to join them and I told him that if I was going to stay in Scotland it would be with him.
“That was the plan from the start. I also spoke with a couple of teams down south, including Carlisle, but this was the right move for me.”