"The players do care"; Ann Budge feels heat ahead of Celtic clash

By Euan Davidson

December 19, 2020

Celtic fans aren’t the only supporters angry with their ownership.

Ahead of a historic Scottish Cup showdown, Celtic’s opponents Heart of Midlothian held their AGM, with Ann Budge feeling the heat from Jambos.

Hearts, of course, were ‘demoted’ to the Scottish Championship. The Edinburgh club sat bottom of the league by the time it was ended in March (Sky Sports).

In late November, Hearts lost to Alloa Athletic in the Betfred Cup, as another giant-killing took place (BBC).

The Jam Tarts find themselves in a position not befitting the club’s stature. In a tier below where they feel they should be and out of a cup competition, the Scottish Cup Final offers respite.

Battling: Frimpong during a Celtic v Hearts game in 2019 / (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Up against it ahead of Celtic showdown

In quotes attributed to the Daily Record, Budge told shareholders:

“The Alloa result was disappointing, no question.

I can absolutely assure you that the players do care very much. They are professionals and are committed to the success of the club.”

Budge also responded to questions about the SPFL, claiming:

“I think we have demonstrated over recent months that we believe change is required.

“As we have previously said, we believe there will be a number of changes in the European football landscape.  Indeed we have already seen this with the introduction of the Nations League.  We will keep close to all developments in Europe.”

The narrative of unfairness has been the talk of Tynecastle since the Summer. Senior figures involved with the club have pointed fingers at everyone, including Celtic.

Craig Levein was convinced that the Bhoys played a part in Hearts’ downfall, saying:

“This whole stuff last season with Hearts getting relegated was a nonsense, an absolute nonsense, and part of it was to do with Celtic getting the title so that they could try and break this record of nine-in-a-row.”

With a fascinating subtext in mind, and quotes from ownership that eerily mirror Celtic’s, Sunday’s Cup Final becomes increasingly tantalising with each passing moment.

Meanwhile, we remember the time Celtic nearly pulled the trigger on an international star.