STEVEN NAISMITH insists it would be unfair to relegate Hearts to the Championship without another ball being kicked this term.

The Jambos are four points adrift at the foot of the Premiership and face a fight for survival on and off the park after the Coronavirus crisis that has left Scottish football reeling.

Naismith has become the first player to confirm he will accept Ann Budge's request to take a 50 per cent pay cut and boss Daniel Stendel will work for free in the coming months.

But the future remains uncertain at Tynecastle and Hearts face the very real possibility of being relegated if the SPFL board decide to declare the campaign over with current positions standing as final.

Naismith said: "It would be sad and I don’t think it’s fair to do that. You’d be going into the tightest part of the season where you play all the teams around you and the games become six pointers for us.

"I don’t think there’s an easy answer for us. It goes back to the side issues with everyone to try to get the best decision. But it’s not an easy one to make.

"If we went down to the Championship I’d still be at the club. I wouldn’t be leaving. I’d be staying.

"I can see how good a club it is and how much potential there is. It’s been so frustrating the way we’ve been that we find ourselves in this situation.

"The potential is so high in general that I want to be part of this club at its good points and when it’s fighting for trophies and Europe and things like that.

"Results don’t lie but I don’t think it’ll take too much for the club to get back to where it should be in terms of challenging in the top half of the table. But it doesn’t take away the fact it’s not been good enough."