Hearts focused on cup clash

PA Sport
Paulo Sergio

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Paulo Sergio

Hearts manager Paulo Sergio is determined to focus on the William Hill Scottish Cup tie with St Mirren despite admitting frustration over the club's handling of wage problems.

The club issued a statement on Friday laying some of the blame for another delayed payment on fringe players who chose to "stagnate" and take money for nothing rather than leave in January. The players, who lodged an official complaint with the Scottish Premier League in December, have only been told they will likely be paid by the end of the month.

When asked about the official statement, Sergio said: "I think it's one more thing that doesn't help. Some things are not in my control. We spoke about that and it's my job to guide their minds to the places I want. One thing our players know is that things change very easily here. We will see what happens at the end of the season."

Sergio does not expect another official complaint - the SPL dismissed a charge against Hearts in January after the club proved they had made payments on the 16th as scheduled.

"They had a meeting and the moment is to be focused on Wednesday's game rather than about other things that can take away our focus," Sergio said. "I don't want that.

"Those responsible have asked us for a few more days. I believe by the end of the month we are going to get paid. I work with facts, if our board say to us they need a few more days, we have to believe that."

Defender Darren Barr admitted wage delays had left a sour taste on the season but he refused to discuss the prospect of another complaint.

"I don't want to comment on that, especially before this big game," Barr said. "We can't focus on that, we have to focus on the game against St Mirren and that's it. There is no point even thinking about that."

Progress to a semi-final against Celtic would provide some financial respite as Hearts bid to live within their means but Sergio is more concerned with the glory.

"We know that brings money but my focus should not be on the financial problems, it should be and it has to be on football," the former Sporting Lisbon manager said. "I'm doing my job but I know if we are champions it can solve our problems."

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