WHATEVER is about to happen to Hearts will be imposed upon Ryan Stevenson after the forward stated unequivocally last night that he would stay with the relegated Tynecastle side even if liquidation is their fate and they have to start life again in the fourth tier as a newco.
The club going out of business is a scenario that it is hoped will be averted by tomorrow’s creditors meeting in Lithuania, but the outcome of that will not diminish the desire of Stevenson, who scored twice in the 4-2 victory over Partick Thistle yesterday, to play for any Hearts in existence.
The forward also championed the case for manager Gary Locke to be retained in any eventuality.
“I will be staying,” Stevenson said. “I have a year left [on my contract]. When I came back here, it was for the long haul. Whether that is the First Division, Second Division or Third Division I am not bothered. I want to stay at Hearts, I want to stay at Hearts for as long as I can.
“I left [in 2012 to join Ipswich Town] and once you leave you do miss it. That is something for the young players. They are playing for a massive club and they know it is a privilege to play for Hearts.
“Whether it is in the First Division or the Third Division it is a privilege and the young boys know that. Hopefully we can get something sorted. A new deal and I can be here for many years to come.
“Hopefully it is the First Division [Championship] that we are in but we will just have to wait and see what the outcome is on Monday,” he said.
“Hopefully it is the right one and we can regroup and get things settled. I just hope the Lithuanians make the right decision for once and we go and look to come straight back up.
“We have a lot of things off the park, players out of contract and so on. For the manager it is has been a horrific year in his first job. It would be nice for him to get a bit of backing and get his stamp on things.
“We will come back bigger and stronger.”