Hearts assistant manager Billy Brown has called for the club's transfer embargo to be lifted to prevent Scottish football's credibility being damaged.
Brown claims Hearts could be forced to play schoolboys in their first team if their injury and suspension situation deteriorates further.
Manager Gary Locke has not filled his bench in recent weeks and Jamie Hamill is suspended for Sunday's Scottish Premiership visit of Partick Thistle.
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Captain Danny Wilson missed Thursday's Edinburgh derby defeat with tonsillitis and his continuing absence would leave Locke with only one outfield player over the age of 21 - Ryan Stevenson - when Thistle visit Tynecastle.
Under Scottish Professional Football League rules, the club will not have their transfer embargo lifted until they officially exit administration. That cannot happen until the Foundation of Hearts secures UBIG's majority stake and agrees a sale and purchase deal with administrators who are dealing with the financial mess left by former Tynecastle supremo Vladimir Romanov in Lithuania.
But Brown, speaking the morning after a 2-1 defeat by Hibernian left them one point further adrift than their initial 15-point punishment, feels something must be done to protect his young players.
Brown said: "We have taken our punishment on the chin and, I'm far as I'm concerned, the punishment should end now. We should be able to sign players.
"It's not the people here that's at fault for what happened. The man that caused it has gone, so the punishment should be lifted.
"We have Jamie Hamill suspended on Sunday. And it isn't a bluff, we are within three or four injuries or suspensions of having to put 15 and 16 year olds in. You tell me if that's of benefit to Scottish football.
"Enough is enough, we have got to be given a bit of leeway."
The club were also hit by a Scottish Football Association embargo which prevents them signing players aged over 21 until February, although that sanction is academic given their continuing insolvency event.
But Brown urged the football authorities to look again at the club's predicament.
"They surely know the situation," he said. "Scottish football's credibility is going to go if we have to start putting 15 and 16 year olds in the first team.
"We lost our captain before the game last night. We brought in a 17-year-old at right-back, who has done well. But we can't keep doing that. Kevin McHattie and Jamie Walker are on five bookings, Scott Robinson is suspended for Motherwell.
"We are getting to the stage where it's going to become very difficult to field a credible team."
Hearts and Rangers look likely to meet in the Championship next season as they emerge from insolvency events.
"I never agreed with Rangers' punishment and I certainly didn't agree with this one," Brown said.
"You have got to get punished if you live without your means but somewhere along the line that has to come to an end and it should be now."
Brown was feeling even more aggrieved following a bitter defeat at Easter Road. Hearts had fought back to level through a David Smith goal but Liam Craig netted the winner from the spot after referee Bobby Madden penalised 17-year-old Jordan McGhee's attempts to shepherd the ball away from Lewis Stevenson and out for a goal kick.
Brown said: "At the time I didn't think it was a penalty. I have seen it since and obviously Jordan gave the referee a decision to make. I've seen 100 of them and 99 of them wouldn't have been penalties.
"We are getting to the stage here where we are taking these things for granted. We lost a penalty at Inverness when the ball hit Jamie Hamill smack in the middle of the forehead and he got sent off. We lost a penalty at Aberdeen when it hit Jordan McGhee on the back. We lost a penalty against Celtic at Tynecastle where Danny Wilson had his hands behind his back. It has become an every-game occurrence for us."
Hearts' anger was exacerbated by Madden's decision to book Jamie Walker for diving moments earlier when he went down after skipping past Ryan McGivern.
"I thought when I saw it live it was a penalty kick," Brown said. "I have seen it again and I think it's a penalty kick. Jamie did not dive, there was enough contact for a penalty to be given."