Hearts manager Daniel Stendel believes his players need to take on more responsibility if they are to move away from relegation danger.
Stendel felt not enough of them showed sufficient commitment during Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Hamilton, a result that leaves the Tynecastle side bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership.
The German praised the attitude of senior figures Steven Naismith – who went off injured at half-time – and Steven MacLean but felt too few of the others did enough for the cause.
And with a vital derby match against Hibernian looming on Boxing Day, Stendel knows there must be improvements and fast.
He said: “I have to convince the players about my work but they need to change things themselves too. We have supported every player in the squad over the past two weeks but what we’ve had back is not enough. The responsibility for the next game is with the squad and with every player.
“Steven Naismith wanted to help the team (on Saturday) but he got hurt in the first half and had to be substituted at half-time.
“We knew it wouldn’t be easy for him on that pitch but he wanted to help the team. Hopefully the other players can see his mentality and what he wants to do for the club. Steven MacLean was the same. He has played a lot of games and isn’t the youngest player in our squad but he gives everything on the pitch, too. I expect that from every player.”
Hamilton boss Brian Rice, meanwhile, praised his youthful squad for earning their first victory in 12 game thanks to goals from Mickel Miller and Will Collar.
He said: “I was looking at our team and when I brought Lewis Smith off the bench that was the youngest Hamilton team in the Premiership. Alex Gogic at 25 was the oldest player in the team.
“We had a 20-year-old keeper, a 17-year-old centre half and other teenagers putting a shift in. I’m absolutely delighted for lads after everything they have been through over the past few weeks.
“We put Mickel in behind the strikers in the second half and there was space for him to run in behind. Over the last six weeks he has got himself fitter and stronger.
“He did well for both goals but I’m a great believer we win as a team and lose as a team.”
Stay updated with the latest news, gossip and football stories by following us @Football_P