THE factors are different but the decision and the reasoning is ultimately the same for Steven Naismith. Eight years on from the most difficult days of his career, he finds himself in an unenviable position once again.

In 2012, Naismith was one of a group of senior Rangers players that took a 75 per cent wage cut in order to save jobs at the club. They were the public face, but those that they helped were very much behind the scenes.

In recent days, Naismith has had to make that same call once again. He will forego half of the salary that he is due from Hearts in the coming months as his cash goes towards keeping the lights on at Tynecastle and keeping those that work there in employment during the Coronavirus crisis.

“It’s helped having that experience,” Naismith, the Hearts captain, said of his time at Ibrox after he accepted Ann Budge’s proposal to take a 50 per cent pay cut. “The initial situation creates a lot of uncertainty and worry. You saw how long things progressed at Rangers.

“You have got time to sit and take a breath and understand the full situation. When something like that get thrusts upon you it is a shock to the system.

“You also know the process that has to happen for it to happen. But this was a discussion with Ann and it was clear that she was trying to do the best for the club and everyone associated to the club.

“Ann just painted the picture pretty clear in terms of what could happen if we don’t do anything. It might get to the point everyone’s hands are tied and lots of people lose jobs. She didn’t want that to happen.

“It’s definitely helped having a bit more experience in this situation. It’s so far from our normal day to day lives as footballers that it can be hard to deal with in some respects.

“You totally can [learn from the things you did right and the mistakes you made]. Back in those days you were much more naïve. What you feel you’re doing is definitely the right thing.

“I think it proved to be the right thing in terms of giving the staff the best chance at the club back then. How it’s perceived can be totally different to that.

“There are different aspects to it that you take – good and bad. Like everything in life you do learn from experiences.”

The issues that Rangers faced eight years ago did not come out of the blue but the Covid-19 pandemic has quickly swamped Scotland. Life now is not as anyone knew it even just a couple of weeks ago.

Hearts were the first club to go public with their financial concerns in this crisis but they will not be the last as Scottish football fears for its future.

Naismith said: “Ann isn’t looking for sympathy but I think it’s been misconstrued why she’s just doing this. Every club in Scotland outwith maybe Celtic will come into hard times here.

“It’s inevitable it’ll happen. Ann is just trying to be proactive with that. People are saying she’s doing this or the club goes under. She’s not saying that. She’s trying, as an intelligent businesswoman, to minimise the risk of people losing their livelihoods.

“On top of that, anyone can have their opinion on the management or the board at Hearts but at this moment in time it’s not about that. It’s about saving jobs.

“People saying they’d tell her to stuff it? Well ok, if that happens, numbers of people lose their jobs, the club struggles to survive depending on how long the situation goes on for. What good is that for anybody involved? It’s no good for anyone.

“The people who love the club and love working for the club lose their jobs. Scottish football potentially loses a big club that brings great experiences for games in the league and plays at a fantastic stadium.

“There’s no winner there. With everything regarding the coronavirus – league finishes, what happens to the game – all that needs to be put on the side to an extent outwith the people who need to come up with the solution for that because it’s not about that.

“It’s about getting through this pandemic with minimum damage to everyone’s day-to-day life. That’s the biggest thing here.”

As club captain, Naismith knew he could lead the way in accepting the pay cut that Budge put on the table last week as she looks to safeguard Hearts’ future.

He also understands that he is fortunate enough to be in the position to do so after a career at Ibrox and south of the border. Not everyone at Tynecastle can afford to follow suit.

Naismith said: “If you try and stick to it as a group then the conversations can become pretty tough and you can put people in vulnerable positions, especially the younger ones who might think they can’t speak up in a group.

“They might not feel comfortable doing something but don’t speak up about it and before they know it they’re agreeing to something they’re not totally comfortable with.

“For every player you need to be making these decisions in a comfortable and safe environment, with your family. The squad has hard working guys who know the right thing to do and will come to the conclusion they feel is right for them and their family.”