The latest bon mot arrived yesterday when Scott Robinson mulled over the effect Ryan Stevenson's knee injury will have on the Tynecastle club. "We can't sign anyone right now so he can be our new addition in January," said the midfielder.
It was an attempt to poke fun at the problems which continue to cripple the Edinburgh club - the effects of administration and a registration embargo still have Hearts in a chokehold - even if the visit of Aberdeen this afternoon suggests that it is really no laughing matter. The tone of the conversation during an earlier team meeting had been far colder; Gary Locke reminding his young side that they can ill afford to become embroiled in petty feuds on the pitch given the risk of suspension is too high for a team which only comprises two players over the age of 22.
Robinson is still just 21, but has been required to grow up fast. Coping with life as a Hearts player places a heavy demand on a player's maturity and the midfielder has been roused to the harm which can be caused when that message is ignored. That came as a rude awakening last season when Robinson queried a lack of game time under the then manager John McGlynn, an episode which resulted in questions then being raised about the youngster's commitment to the club.
"I think it maybe came out the wrong way," said Robinson, who has started each of Hearts' matches this season. "John was sticking with the same team even if we weren't getting results. It came out that I didn't want to play for this club but that wasn't true at all. After that we sat down and spoke and everything was fine."
The talented midfielder has seemed settled under Locke, too, the feeling of being a significant member of the squad enlivening his sense of imagination. There were further signs of that in his choice of inspiration ahead of a trying season for his club. "It's all about team spirit this year and being there for each other," he said. "If you look back at Greece in 2004 at the European Championships, they had a team spirit and they got the results. Nobody expected it but they came through every challenge due to their great team spirit."
Aberdeen will also have found currency in their spirit this week after suffering defeat by Celtic in front of a packed Pittodrie. The side have been afforded elevated status this season after a summer of rebuilding - they are many people's picks to finish second - and there will have been a realisation that a game with Hearts is one which must be won if such an ambition is to be realised.
"We know we're good enough to be challenging for second and third place in the league," said Niall McGinn, the Aberdeen striker. "We also want a big day out at Hampden so we want to do well in the cups."