Malaury Martin keen to stay at Hearts but future is uncertain

He has one of the best seats in an impressive new main stand. Yet Malaury Martin is every bit as frustrated as those supporters around him.

Malaury Martin is focused on regaining fitness and fighting to regain his first-team place. Picture: SNS.

In fact, make that more so. The injured Hearts midfielder longs to be a part of the action. He is desperate to help his team-mates out. While he can at least see light at the end of the tunnel he is still unlikely to be fit enough for first-team action until early next month. Even then there are no 
guarantees.

The last time he started a game for Hearts was last season. The manager who displayed enough faith to hand him a three-and-a-half year contract has since been sacked. Ian Cathro left earlier this season after four Betfred Cup games. Jon Daly took over as interim manager before Craig Levein decided to return to the dugout.

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Martin simply shrugged when pondering all this flux. “It is the way it is in football,” he said. He once had four managers in a single season at Monaco.

But Martin was one of Cathro’s statement signings in a short-lived spell as manager. Nearly 12 months down the line from this arrival, Martin knows he cannot take Levein’s support for granted. “He has had a chat with every player, including myself,” revealed Martin yesterday. “I know what he wants.”

Whether he has a future at Tynecastle is less clear. “You have to ask the manager. He has his opinion. I have a long contract and I want to stay but I don’t know his opinion.

“He wants to bring players in but I have to focus on my injury and try to come back to help the team when I am fit.

“I honestly don’t look at January at the moment. It’s about my injury first and then we will see. I didn’t have a talk with the manager about January so I don’t know his opinion. I want to be back fit and try to help the team.”

Even Cathro seemed to question whether the clearly skilful Martin was cut out for Scottish football. The French player started this season on the bench, appearing four times as substitute. Martin’s attempt to settle at a new club in an unfamiliar city was then completely disrupted by an injury to his femur.

“We can say it’s a sh*t injury because it’s a small thing which puts you out for almost three months,” he lamented. “I broke my femur tendon at the top of the quadriceps.”

It has kept him on the sidelines and means he is cutting an unhappy figure in the stand. He isn’t, of course, the only one as Hearts struggle to put together a run of decent form and results.

Martin was asked whether he is surprised by Hearts’ struggles. “This is a good question. Surprised? It’s difficult to say but it’s a tough period that is for sure. Frustration is a good term for everybody, even myself because I cannot help the team. I see my partner, my friend, my colleague, they are obviously not happy with what happened in the last few weeks and everyone wants this first victory in front of the new main stand. Hopefully it will arrive this week 
[v Motherwell]. It’s a bit like a striker going through a tough period of not scoring, he scores one then ten in a row.

“I think that’s the same with us, we need this first victory because everyone was expecting it. We’ve had some problems with the stand and everyone was talking about the new stadium and now we’re here we need this first victory. When it arrives I think many more will come.”

Saturday’s home 1-1 draw with Hamilton Accies was the latest disappointment even if a point, in the circumstances, was a welcome one. Martin was sitting just behind where Craig Levein and, later, assistant manager Austin MacPhee were sent to sit after being sent to the stand by Bobby Madden. The referee had already shown a red card to young Hearts full-back Jamie Brandon.

“I have been involved in games that are crazier many times,” said Martin. “It’s normal. When you know you need points the tension is there but it’s not a big deal.”

No one can accuse Martin of withdrawing into his shell. He has been offering the team stout support. “I’m there for every game and have been going to some away games as well,” he said. “It’s better to see the game than on television because you see many more different things.”

But it’s clear he wants to play a more active part in Hearts’ future. Whether he is invited to remains to be seen.