Craig Brown warns wage crisis won’t affect players on pitch

CRAIG Brown expects Hearts to leave all their worries in the Pittodrie dressing room tonight when they take on Aberdeen in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

The Hearts players appeared to shrug off their on-going troubles surrounding non-payment of wages to beat Motherwell 2-0 at Tynecastle on Saturday.

The Dons manager believes Paulo Sergio’s men, like the majority of footballers, find solace from most problems on the pitch.

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“The players will leave their worries off the park,” said Brown. “For most players, their job is their hobby. Players like to play football and it is the best remedy or antidote for their problems off the field. They obviously have worries about not getting paid but playing football is when they will forget them and I expect that to be the same when they play us.”

Brown has some worries of his own after Saturday’s defeat at Inverness. The Dons lost 2-1 with Caley’s goals coming from corners when the post was unattended.

The former Scotland manager was not for apportioning blame to individuals but insists there will be no confusion against Hearts. “We gifted them two goals,” he said. “It was a very even game and I didn’t think a goal would be scored. But we defended abominably and from two corners they got two goals.

“It was a one-off. We don’t usually have those problems and it will be sorted for the game against Hearts and for the rest of the season.”

Despite the disappointment of defeat and a constant struggle to find consistency this season, Brown insists morale and spirit remain “exceptional” at Pittodrie. He said: “The fighting qualities are there, there is no doubt about that. We have come back from two goals down in some recent games and if the Inverness game had lasted longer we would at least have got a draw.

“We have a great support, both home and away and I think we had 2,700 supporters at Inverness which was great. That’s what angered me, the fans having to endure the journey back after the defeat.”

Fraser Fyvie could be back in action for the Dons tonight. The midfielder was on the bench for the defeat to Inverness but his knee complaint meant it was only for “cosmetic reasons”, according to Brown.

Striker Mohamed Chalali remains a doubt with an ankle injury while midfielder Peter Pawlett serves the second of a two-game ban.