Aidan Smith: Who benefits most from the shutdown? It has to be Hearts

Stendel’s side may have chance to wake up and smell the Bovril

Clevid Dikamona admitted Hearts weren't ready for St Mirren. Picture: Ross MacDonald / SNS
Clevid Dikamona admitted Hearts weren't ready for St Mirren. Picture: Ross MacDonald / SNS

Stegosaurus footprints have been found on Skye … and also in the Scottish football community. I suppose this tweet in defiance of the global pandemic might have been ironic: “No surrender to the coronavirus.” Same with this one: “Football is more important than health, football comes first.” But, this is Scotland. This is, or almost was, Old Firm weekend. Maybe, as Celtic-daft Jolly Boy John in TV’s Burnistoun would have it, these cries were “for real!”

We were looking half-prehistoric, half-decadent before football was suspended, which is a weird combination indeed. We were too slow to react to dramatic events. We were like thick toffs who regarded war as no impediment to partying, which is a bloody annoying accusation to have thrown at Scotland. But anyway, the game’s a bogey for the time being so, trying not to appear too crass, who benefits most from the shutdown?

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It has to be Hearts. I could not believe this headline after the club’s defeat at St Mirren, a game everyone agreed beforehand they simply couldn’t afford to lose: “Our Hearts weren’t in it: Dikamona admits Stendel’s side were ‘not ready’ for biggest game of the season.”

It was big of Clevid Dikamona to admit this, but then you tend to get straight talking from foreign players, and this despite there being a British-wide trend to quickly blame imports for failings while allowing native clodhoppers more leeway. What is less clever for sure is this apparent failure of the team under manager Daniel Stendel to appreciate the gravity of the situation and the gravity involved in the concept of a trapdoor: when your quivering toes are curled round the lip like this, the only way is doon!

Surely, though, this pause will allow them to be shaken to their senses. They don’t have to travel to Livingston today, a near-certain concession of three more points based on their current away form and no mistake. They can wake up and smell the Bovril. St Mirren and Hamilton Accies, meanwhile, will surely be cursing the interruption to their momentum.

The match reports from Paisley last week were damning. I can’t think of another occasion recently when a Scottish team were excoriated to such a degree. Maybe I’d have to go back to Hibernian’s relegation season six years ago, which should stand as the grimmest of warnings for the internecine nearest-and-dearest across Edinburgh.

Hearts too big to go down? Don’t you believe it. The stegosaurus probably thought he was imperishable, too.