Hearts are becoming a “laughing stock” in their bid to overturn relegation, says former captain Gary Mackay.
The Tynecastle club, four points adrift at the bottom with eight games left, dropped out of the Scottish Premiership when it was ended on Monday.
Hearts owner Ann Budge is considering legal action and preparing a proposal on temporary league reconstruction after original talks broke down.
“Ann is trying to salvage whatever she can,” Mackay told BBC Scotland.
“She has put so much into the club, I can understand why she is trying to look at everything possible.
“You can only go on what happens on the playing field and ultimately Hearts have shown they aren’t good enough.
“The thing that muddies it is there has now been a decision made on the Premiership and then in the [Hearts] statement, there could still be reconstruction.
“Hearts have to accept the decision that’s been made with more class than they have up to now. But to continue on the back of this, and to say there’s maybe another opportunity to survive, it’s beginning to get a bit wearing.”
Speaking to BBC Scotland’s Scottish football podcast, Mackay added: “There are so many things going on in the world just now and we are becoming a laughing stock.
“Somewhere along the line, do we need to bite the bullet and and say we will be in a far stronger position in 12 months’ time, or however long it takes, when we get back to the Premiership?”
‘Wright could guide Hearts to promotion’
Mackay, whose total of 737 appearances for Hearts is a club record, believes a change of head coach is required this summer and sees recently departed St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright as the ideal choice.
Current Tynecastle incumbent Daniel Stendel, who replaced Craig Levein in early December, is reported to have a clause in his contract allowing him to walk away now that Hearts have been relegated.
“I want Tommy Wright,” Mackay said. “When Craig Levein was removed from office at Hearts, Tommy’s team were also struggling. Now they are in the top six once again.
“I cannot believe that no clubs, Hearts included, have looked at what Tommy did at St Johnstone over the last six to seven years.
“He would be, for me, the man who would hopefully guide Hearts out of the Championship and into the kind of position they should be in the Premiership.”