ANDRAZ STRUNA insists he is hurt by accusations he and his fellow new signings do not care enough about Hearts.
The Slovenian internationalist was one of nine fresh faces drafted in during the January transfer window by head coach Ian Cathro, with most, like him, penning just short-term deals.
That has led to some questioning whether recent defeats to Hibs in the Scottish Cup Edinburgh derby and Partick Thistle at the weekend mean enough to the new players.
However, Struna, who has been in largely impressive form in the eight games he has played so far, is adamant there is no shortage of suffering amongst all the players in the Tynecastle dressing room when things go against them.
Asked if it was hurtful being accused of not caring, the 27-year-old said: “It is. Maybe somebody sees it like this or it seems that we don’t want it. But we do want it.
“Firstly, it’s you who is disappointed, then everybody around you. You want it.
“We try, we discuss a lot, we speak a lot between ourselves, trying to find solutions. We know that it’s not good.
“We know that something is wrong because, at the end, when you see the results, they are not what we want.
“But still, we care and we fight. That’s most important.”
Not only has it been suggested that the lack of a Scottish core is a problem, but also that players signing short-term contracts do not develop enough of a feeling for the club to spark the kind of commitment supporters demand.
But Struna, who spent nine months without a club before joining Hearts, insists the opposite can be true, that temporary moves can bring out the best in players as they try to secure a more stable future.
Ahead of Wednesday night’s home clash with Ross County, the former Cracovia and Giannina defender added: “The player who signs only for six months maybe wants to prolong his contract, so he must show himself.
“Maybe, after six months, he will be without a club, without security, salaries and all this.
“So I cannot agree with this. Like sportsmen, everybody wants it. This is not a reason at all.
“You cannot live if you are not happy. Who wants to live if he is not happy? And we are not happy now.
“Nobody is happy with these results. We are sportsmen, we live for this. It’s hard.
“We must be together. We know that we are together in this. Now, even more, we must step together and be like one.
“Only like this can we do positive things. This is very important now. Don’t be distracted by what’s around us.
“Everybody has been in this situation in history. We know how to deal with this. The most important thing for me is that the team and everybody at the club is together.”