Winger Andrew Driver believes the adversity Hearts have suffered this season can help them succeed in Sunday's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final with Celtic at Hampden.
Four times this season Hearts' first-team squad and staff have suffered significant delays to the delivery of salaries, the latest coming last month. Manager Paulo Sergio says reaching the cup semi-final and securing a place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League's top six means the season is a success.
"There has been a siege mentality - it's been like that for a few seasons at Hearts. If we can get to a cup final, or even make ourselves proud on Sunday, it will show the character of the team," Driver said.
The winger, who sought a move in January after three successive months of delayed wages, insists all the expectation is on double-chasing Celtic this weekend after a tumultuous season at Hearts.
"We've been through a lot and we've not really got anything to lose," said Driver. "It's been a tough season. The way the players have handled it, we've got to be commended."
The latest blow came in training this week when right-back Jamie Hamill suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury, ruling him out of the semi-final and meaning he is likely to miss the start of next season.
"It was devastating," Driver said. "It couldn't have come at a worse time. He's been one of our top performers all year. He's going to be a massive miss."
Despite Hamill's absence, Driver anticipates Hearts have the players at their disposal to defeat Celtic, a side they have beaten twice in the last six meetings.
"We've got a lot of quality in the team and on our day I think we can beat anybody," the 24-year-old added.
Celtic's last visit to Hampden was the Scottish Communities League Cup final loss to Kilmarnock in March, and Driver said: "They've got a point to prove. It's a game they've got to try to wipe out of their memory."