And while the players showed their respect with a guard of honour at the end of the match, they did little to help raise the volume in the stands in the preceding 90 minutes.
Unable to gift the Voice of Tynecastle a victorious send-off, a makeshift side – missing a number of key faces – did stretch the club’s unbeaten run to 10 matches and, more importantly with the upcoming Scottish Cup final in mind and the squad down to the bare bones, they came through the 0-0 draw with Ross County with no additions to the injury list.
The off-field fanfare provided a bit of a diversion as the on field efforts did little to enthral. The home side huffed and puffed and struggled to find the right weight of pass, or execute ideas as Ross County worked hard to close them down.
It left Robbie Neilson’s men looking for openings and trying to pass through the eye of a needle. Shy of top form, that proved difficult.
There were a few golden opportunities but Josh Ginnelly ballooned one of them over and Liam Boyce uncharacteristically wasted another two. Barrie McKay also found the side netting.
To be fair, this was a game that had more hanging on it for County in the cinch Premiership. While Robbie Neilson’s men have already guaranteed themselves European football, Ross County are one of three teams battling it out for the remaining two UEFA openings.
The point in Gorgie leaves Malky Mackay’s side occupying the fifth and final spot ahead of a pivotal head to head with the chasing Motherwell next weekend.
They could have been even better placed ahead of that battle had the officials not chalked off Jordan White’s first-half ‘goal’.
The visitors had threatened early on, with a low, long-range shot from former Jambo Connor Randall, and Blair Spittal had an effort blocked before he sent in an inviting 33rd delivery which was deftly diverted beyond Scottish Player of the Year nominee Gordon in the 33rd minute.
But, the flag was up by the time it hit the net. White protested and it did seem a very close call which is why clubs are so keen to welcome VAR next season.
By then County manager Mackay could be back at Tynecastle as a derby rival as his achievements this season have not only seen him listed as a candidate for the manager of the year, but also listed by the bookies with a vested interest in the search for the new Hibs boss.
Having engineered three draws and a narrow defeat to the nation’s third best team this term, he is a credible option.
Hearts improved in the second half of this one and the guests had to up the energy levels to keep them from finding their flow.
But without the first choice backline – Stephen Kingsley was still not up to a return and John Souttar and Craig Halkett are expected to need a couple of more weeks at least – and the likes of Cammy Devlin sitting it out and Ellis Simms and Andy Halliday limited to late sub appearances, that was not entirely surprising.