FORMER Hearts midfielder Michael Stewart has branded his old team a "disgrace" after the Tynecastle side approached agents for potential summer signings.

Last week, all players and staff at the capital club were asked to take a 50 percent pay cut - with the option to cancel their contracts if they did not agree to it.

Skipper Steven Naismith has agreed to halve his pay, while defender Clevid Dikamona left the Jambos to return to his famly in France.

Earlier this week, an email from the Gorgie club that was sent to agents was circulated - showing that Hearts were enquiring about prospective new signings, even though they had asked their current crop to take a pay cut.

Writing in his column for the Scottish Sun, outspoken pundit Stewart has slammed the decision.

"It was a DISGRACE. Pure and simple," he wrote.

"Ann Budge might have generated a lot of goodwill since rescuing the Jambos seven years ago. But that’s been erased in a stroke. And someone must be responsible for that.

"If you’re a staff member seeing that, you’d be right to ask what on earth is going on?

"If, as a player, you read the stuff about bringing in free transfers, that’s not great in itself.

"I mean, what message does that send when you’ve just been asked to halve your wages?

"But saying you may be in a position to pay a transfer fee? That’s appalling."