A tough season for the Hearts support can only be mended with strong top flight performances, according to goalkeeper Craig Gordon.
The Scotland keeper understands that the 2020/21 campaign has been tough for the locked-out fans, despite Hearts clinching the Scottish Championship title and an immediate return to the Premiership.
The team’s performances dipped during the campaign with the lowest point a shock 2-1 Scottish Cup defeat away to Highland League side Brora Rangers.
That sparked small protests outside Tynecastle Stadium with a clamour from some fans for manager Robbie Neilson and chairwoman Ann Budge to resign.
But Gordon, 38, believes the supporters can be won round amid hopes that they can start to return to games next season.
Asked how tough it would be to earn back their trust, he said: “What we can do is play well on the pitch.
“There have been a lot of different factors which have made it a difficult season for everyone.
“The fans have not been in here [at Tynecastle] and had to watch us on TV at home. At that point they are right beside their computers and phones and able to write about it right there and then.
“So you get an awful lot more opinion than if there were 20-odd thousand inside the stadium and talking about it with their friends.
“Right now it is all online and everybody can see it.
“I just want everybody to get back to enjoying football, being together as a support here at Tynecastle.
“And the players on the pitch have to put in performances for them to be proud of.
“I’ve not got long left in my career now so I want to make the most of that and have everybody here cheering us on in a good atmosphere.”
Gordon returned to his boyhood club last summer after 13 years playing at Sunderland, then Celtic.
The vote to end the 2019/20 season prematurely due to the pandemic brought a sixth Premiership title of Gordon’s time at Celtic Park but he monitored closely the impact on Hearts who were relegated with eight games to go of the scheduled season.
He said: “It was such a difficult thing for everybody to accept, being relegated in those circumstances.
“Obviously I wasn’t here at that point but as a fan looking in I found it incredible that it was allowed to happen.
“For the sake of four points with that amount of games still to go to decide relegation, which is such a huge thing.
“It is different with a title – I don’t think they would have awarded a title with just four points between the teams.
“That is not going to make or break the clubs [in a title race] but to send somebody down to the other division was a huge call.
“I think it is one that everybody here still doesn’t agree with.
“We had to go out there and make sure it was just one season and we’ve done that.
“I think we can get together and really go and show what we are capable of.
“I am feeling excited about it. I’m sure we will have an even stronger team going in to next season and go and give a good account of ourselves.”