JIM Jefferies last night insisted that Hearts have needed to make cuts in order to strengthen their squad and boost their chances of winning promotion back to the Premiership after returning to Tynecastle as an adviser to the board.

The 69-year-old, the former Hearts defender who spent two spells in the dugout at the capital club and won the Scottish Cup in 1998, will work on a part-time basis for the next six months.

The Gorgie outfit were criticised for bringing in goalkeeper Craig Gordon last month - after slashing players’ salaries by up to 50 per cent when football was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak back in March.

Jefferies admitted that it was “unfortunate” and “sad” that players, coaches and staff at clubs across Scotland have lost their jobs and had to accept wage reductions as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

But he said: “The onus is still on putting a team on the pitch. Hibs have made massive cuts and they have let staff and coaches go. Maybe the reason they have made the cuts is so they can bring in better players than what they have and improve their team.

“Okay, some players have had to depart. Hearts, Hibs and other clubs have done that. It is easy to have a go at clubs for doing that. How can they do this? How can they do that? They have got a point.

“But the bottom line is about making clubs better. It is unfortunate, but clubs maybe have to do that (make cuts) to make something available for the manager to improve the team.

“It has been sad to see people lose their jobs in this, but to make money available to improve the team these things have to happen I suppose. Nobody likes to see it, but it is a necessity if Jack Ross at Hibs and Robbie (Neilson) at Hearts are to improve their team.

“Hearts need improving. At the end of the day, it takes money to do that. The board has to do something to make that available. It doesn’t come out of thin air. It has to be found and that is one way of doing things.

“Maybe Hearts and Hibs have looked at it and decided they have overindulged and needed to be streamlined. Hopefully Hearts can be in a position to go forward and get it right. Maybe that will free up a little bit more to help them improve again at a different time in the season.”