Former Hearts chairman Leslie Deans has urged the club to take legal action against the SPFL as well as those who voted to end the season early, effectively relegating the Jambos.

The lawyer, speaking on BBC Sportsound, outlined why, he believes, Hearts should seek legal compensation for the decision to conclude the campaign which would see themselves, Partick Thistle and Stranraer all relegated.

Detailing potential holes Hearts could exploit in any legal case should Ann Budge opt to pursue 'damages', Mr Deans pointed to Dundee's 'no vote' change, the apparent £10million TV deal issue and a "lack of duty of care" shown towards Hearts by the other clubs within the Scottish Premiership. "The financial loss coming from this is falling on one club out of the SPFL's 42 member clubs, one club alone," he said. 

"With a minor part of that loss shared by Partick Thistle and Stranraer. In one fell swoop the SPFL has alienated the third biggest customer out of their 42 club customers. We're now at the stage where reconstruction isn't going to happen and that Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer are going to get relegated. 

"When that happens, Hearts' only option is to go down the legal route. Ann Budge was quite right to hold off and see whether league reconstruction could achieve anything. You don't go to war without exploring all your avenues and she did exactly the right thing, in my opinion, in trying to get a compromise.

"I would now be taking legal action against the SPFL and the member clubs who voted to eject Hearts from the league. The grounds of action, when the clubs form a common purpose, namely playing against each other, they have a duty of care for each other in common law. They failed in that and that failure leads directly to the ejection of Hearts from the league.

"Add to that the wilful misrepresentation by the SPFL in respect of the £10million possible claw back that's been commented on which was not within the clubs' knowledge when they delivered their verdict. And you add in addition the incompetence of the decision which allowed Dundee to change their vote when they were not permitted to do so. That was a point very clearly made by the QC in his opinion for Partick Thistle and that opinion, I believe, is shared by the QC who has advised Rangers.

"These are the grounds for the action we have outlined against the clubs and the SPFL."

While explaining in further detail how Hearts could also potentially stand to gain around £3million in compensation should they be successful, Mr Deans also called for supporters of the Edinburgh side to stand together and provide cash for the legal fight.

And he insisted that he firmly believes his former employers would have "reasonable" chance of success as the court would pore through accusations of "bullying, coercion and corruption", as opposed to any internal SPFL investigation.

He added: "The steps would be to raise the action, the action against the clubs who voted them out and the SPFL. The allegations of corruption, bullying, coercion, lying, that have been made against the SPFL by Rangers, Inverness, Falkirk. these allegations would be scrutinised in minute detail by the court, not by the SPFL's own organisation. These allegations clearly show a course of conduct that leads directly to the ejection of Hearts from the league.

"So, as well as damages which Ann Budge estimated at £3million, Hearts could, in theory, seek an interdict which is the Scottish equivalent of an injunction, to prevent football being played if Hearts were excluded. I can't see a court granting it, but it could be part of a claim for damages in the same case.

"Expenses could be a stumbling block, my own guess-timate is the expenses as a case to Hearts could be between a quarter and half a million pounds. Ann can no doubt ask legal firms to give her an estimate in advance to what the costs would be. I know the problems Ann will have with that, there is a big financial loss to Hearts. The way to overcome the concern of costs would be for a crowdfunder started under the auspices of the fans organisation.

"There's 8,000 members of Foundation of Hearts. Get the money, give it to the club. If they do, I'll start the ball rolling personally with a four figure donation into that. If Hearts are successful they can ask the court to award costs against the opponent for the whole action.

"Being mindful of duties to others who have been wronged, if the decision was down to me, I'd invite Partick Thistle and Stranraer to join us, at no expense to themselves, in that action."