John Hughes has expressed his “sincere” hope that beleaguered Hearts manage to pull through on and off the pitch this season – despite his delight at steering Inverness Caledonian Thistle to victory at Tynecastle last Saturday.
The former Hibs captain and manager celebrated his first match in charge of the Highlanders with a 2-0 victory that kept the home side marooned at the foot of the Premiership, 14 points adrift of Ross County and firm favourites for the drop.
Thrilled as he was by the result, the 49-year-old says he receives no pleasure in seeing Hearts struggle in administration and fighting what looks an increasingly futile battle against relegation.
He said: “If you look behind the scenes (at Hearts), there is a lot of turmoil, but I really hope that they can recover from it. I feel Scottish football is at its best when we’ve got all the top teams in the top-flight – and that includes Rangers and Hearts. As a coach and a manager you want to be playing against the best.
“So, from a guy coming from the other side of the city, I really pass on my best wishes to them. I’m sincere in that. I’ve locked horns with them many, many times and I love taking their scalp, but there comes a time when you have to stand back and look from the outside in and give respect to people.
“One or two will say they deserved their punishment and their medicine. Aye, but I’m just really hopeful their recovery is quick and that they can get back to business.”