St Mirren boss Lennon criticises Hearts' Beattie signing

Beattie (right) celebrates his goal in the 2-0 win over Hibernian
Beattie (right) celebrates his goal in the 2-0 win over Hibernian

St Mirren manager Danny Lennon has criticised Hearts for signing Craig Beattie while delaying the payment of wages to players.

Hearts escaped punishment from the Scottish Premier League in January after players complained about delays.

Yet they added Buddies target Beattie to the squad the following month.

"Now Beattie can actually compete tomorrow evening against a club that was in for him. It just doesn't sit right," Lennon told BBC Scotland.

The former Celtic, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City striker signed for Hearts despite the Edinburgh club having terminated the contract of Calum Elliot, loaned fellow forward John Sutton to Central Coast Mariners and allowed midfielder Ryan Stevenson, who had deputised up front at times, to join Ipswich Town while citing a need to reduce their wage budget.

Now Hearts travel to Paisley for their Scottish Cup quarter-final replay three days after Beattie scored the opening goal in a 2-0 Edinburgh derby win in the league over Hibernian.

Lennon and captain Jim Goodwin hope the Cup bell tolls for Hearts in Paisley
Lennon and captain Jim Goodwin hope the Cup bell tolls for Hearts in Paisley

And that success on the field came as the Tynecastle club again announced that monthly salaries were being delayed.

"It is a wee bit frustrating that Hearts are a club that can pay three or four times what we are paying and yet they can't afford to pay their players' wages at this minute in time," said the Buddies manager.

"It is no disrespect to the Hearts management team or the playing staff, but they must get their house in order. It just doesn't seem fair."

Lennon is taking inspiration from Kilmarnock overcoming the odds to defeat Celtic in the Scottish Communities League Cup final on Sunday.

"This takes you back when I see the photos of 87, almost 25 year ago when the club had last won the competition," said Lennon as he reminisced about St Mirren's last Cup triumph.

"Six Cup finals, three times they've won it. I'd love to make it four.

"Kenny Shiels and his team on Sunday, a wonderful achievement, just whetted my appetite even more.

"I thought they were fantastic on the day.

"They didn't concentrate on what Celtic's strengths were, they had a game plan, they believed in themselves, so took their own philosophy out there and I thought they were terrific throughout the 90 minutes.

"And it just shows you that, when you believe in something, it can happen and that's the wonderful romance of any Cup competition."

However, St Mirren go into the game on the back of a 3-0 home defeat by St Johnstone.

"The players have been absolutely fantastic during the course of the season but let ourselves down and our supporters down very much on Saturday with a very poor result and performance," admitted Lennon.

"And it's something we have to improve on 100% if we are to go to a major semi-final."

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