Hearts manager Craig Levein insists the worst is over after admitting that a season of unprecedented disruption has been stressful for the players.
The Gorgie club finally played their first Premiership game at Tynecastle in last weekend’s draw with Partick Thistle following delays in the construction of the new £12 million main stand.
And in waiting for their home to be finished, Hearts played four matches at neighbouring Murrayfield.
The squad also had to get their heads around August’s dugout reshuffle after director of football Levein was appointed to his second stint as manager following Ian Cathro’s disastrous eight-month reign.
Throw in the high turnover of players during the summer and former Scotland boss Levein, whose team host Ross County tomorrow, admits this season has been anything but plain sailing.
He said: “The worst of it is over and now we’re back dealing with normal stuff.
“I think it was more about the disruption and the stress associated with everything that has gone on this season; management changes, changes with players, changes in just about everything – playing away from for so long and getting that comfort of playing every second week at Tynecastle.
“All of these things are underlining problems for us.
“It’s hard sometimes to make people feel really confident and good in themselves by flicking a switch. That’s difficult to do.
“We had a lot of problems, a lot of changes and all the away matches, and there’s been a lot of things that have happened to the players this season that have been difficult to deal with. They’re not feeing at their absolute best just now.”
Having initially oversaw an upturn in the team’s fortunes after replacing Cathro, Levein’s side are again on a frustrating run of form after picking up just one point from a possible four.
Levein is planning changes during the January transfer window and is in no doubt that the supporters in the redeveloped 20,000 seater stadium will once again have a team that they can be proud of.
He added: “Once everything is fine and fixed and financially we are back on an even keel, we’ll be in a brilliant place.
“We have got a whole load of excellent players coming through as well.
“So I see my job in the next couple of years to get us as high up the league as possible.
“Now is the time for patience. We will get to the point where we want to be – regularly competing at the top level.”
Cathro presided over the arrival of nine new players at the start of the year and although Levein knows he needs to add reinforcements, the 53-year-old admits it will not be as crazy as the last January transfer window.
He added: “No, that’s not going to happen again.
“The point is we have a little bit of time to find out exactly what we need in January.
“Obviously we need to make sure we move one or two out to create some headroom as well for bringing players in.
“We need to fix some things, that’s apparent.”