PROVING to the Hearts supporters that he was worth a three-and-a-half year contract is just another challenge that midfielder Malaury Martin plans to confront head-on.
Just like head coach Ian Cathro, the Frenchman has endured an inauspicious start to life at Tynecastle after arriving from Norwegian outfit Lillestrom as one of nine January recruits.
Martin has not been involved in the first eleven since being replaced at half-time in February’s painful 3-1 William Hill Scottish Cup defeat to city rivals Hibs and has only started a total of three Premiership matches.
The team’s underwhelming performances have merely compounded his woes. Convincing the Hearts fans that he is worthy of pulling on the maroon jersey, however, is further motivation for a player who was told that his career was over following two serious knee injuries.
“How’s it been? Not easy,” admitted a candid Martin, who is hoping to be involved in today’s Ladbrokes Premiership clash at Rangers.
“Sometimes when you go through tough moments you see your personality and character. And I hope I have showed that these few months.
“It has been difficult for me because I have not been happy with my performances on the pitch.
“It was not what I expected when I arrived.
“I will not give up, it is not my mentality.
“I have had cruciate operations on my left knee and my right knee, once when I was 21 and then when I was 25.
“I was out for eight months one time and six months the next and everybody told me I was finished with football because not many players have come back from two but I am still here.
“This is my mentality. It makes me stronger. And this is the same.
“It is part of football when you don’t play as much and as well as you want, and you have critics.
“But you have to continue to fight and believe you can be better and you can help the team.
“I like proving people wrong. When you have tough moments you always learn and they always make you stronger, that’s how it is.”
Hearts supporters have not been shy in venting their frustration over the team’s performances, with the Tynecastle side now facing an uphill challenge to catch fourth place St Johnstone and secure a Europa League place.
Martin, however insists having fans that are passionate about their club is positive.
He added: “I’ve only been here four months but I know the history and I know what these fans have done for their club.
“It’s normally that they have expectations. But don’t think the players lose a game then go home and party and enjoy ourselves.
“We don’t like to lose. At every big club like Hearts fans have expectations and if things are going wrong they have to protest and put pressure on us.
“That gives us motivation to show people that they are wrong. But it’s fine.
“I would rather play in front of passionate fans than fans who don’t give a s***.
“It’s always full at Tynecastle and that’s fantastic. Sometimes it’s difficult and they boo us but when we score we enjoy it a lot because your hear the people cheering.”