Unfortunately for the club captain, sidelined by injury for the rest of the season, it took 45 minutes for his message to get through to his team-mates. By that time Motherwell were in a commanding position, thanks to early goals from Michael Higdon and Nicky Law, the main protagonists in their 2-1 midweek victory over Celtic.
It's difficult to conceive that Hearts, who had interim manager Gary Locke in charge for the first time yesterday, are the same club which just 10 months ago led rivals Hibernian a merry dance in the William Hill Scottish Cup final.
Even the approaching Scottish Communities League Cup final against St Mirren in a fortnight is doing little to lift the mood. This was Hearts' fifth league defeat in a row, a rotten run that has left them second bottom of the SPL.
"I think we can be pretty positive about our second-half performance, but I told the players we can't just have that for 45 minutes,' said Locke, sitting beneath a picture of jubilant celebration at Hampden last May. "I was surprised it took that long. We stressed to the players during the week how important it was to get off to a good start."
While for Hearts it was a 13th loss of the SPL season, Motherwell had cause for celebration after recording two successive wins for the first time since September.
As was the case against Celtic, midfielder Law was the driving force, with the 24-year-old instrumental at the heart of the visitors' play for the duration. With James McFadden being deployed on the left flank, the Englishman has been moved into central midfield alongside Keith Lasley.
The pair continuously worked in tandem yesterday to both nullify the creative threat of Mehdi Taouil and Ryan Stevenson and break quickly in support of Higdon. The striker netted his 20th goal of the campaign yesterday, steering the ball beyond Jamie MacDonald from the edge of the area after just three minutes. Five minutes later, Law was the architect for the second, bursting through the Hearts defence to drill a low shot at MacDonald and then reacting quickly to the save to fire the rebound goalwards for Dylan McGowan to somehow bundle the ball into his own net.
The former Rotherham United playmaker is just one of many who could walk away from Motherwell in the summer, with the support at Fir Park understandably keen on him prolonging his stay in Lanarkshire.
Following a first half which Motherwell's midfield controlled – it took Hearts 27 minutes to register a shot on target – Locke changed things in the second period as his side began to utilise their 4-4-2 formation and aerial threat of front men John Sutton and Michael Ngoo.
The half-time appearance of Arvydas Novikovas off the bench put the visitors on the back foot as his quick feet down the flanks drew the away side's wide men, Chris Humphrey and McFadden, deeper and deeper.
It was the little Lithuanian's corner that brought the breakthrough for the home side, allowing former Motherwell forward Sutton to nod the ball beyond Darren Randolph after 58 minutes. The away camp's incandescence at the decision to award Hearts the throw-in on the halfway line that led to the corner seemed justified.
Sutton's goal did trigger a response as the Tynecastle side, bolstered by the fresh legs of substitutes Fraser Mullen and Billy King, pinned Motherwell further back as the game went on, with Omar Daley's fluctuating wing play failing both to alleviate pressure and find a killer third goal.
Ultimately, Hearts' efforts were futile as Stuart McCall's men held on for the win that takes them three points clear of Inverness Caledonian Thistle in second place. "All managers ask for a good start," the Motherwell manager said. "We started well with some good football, and we knew it was always going to be a battle in the second half.
"It's a big result as I felt as low as I ever have last week [after a 3-0 defeat at Ross County]. It just shows you the highs and lows of football."