Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels has sympathy for Hearts boss John McGlynn but believes off-field issues have helped galvanise the club.
But Shiels believes the Edinburgh club's problems have also helped to galvanise the Jambos this season.
Hearts were last week handed an indefinite transfer embargo by the Scottish Premier League for failure to pay bonuses and appearance payments.
The ban means they will be unable to sign new players in the January transfer window if their bid to overturn the ruling fails.
Recent financial issues at Tynecastle have been well-documented, while McGlynn attempts to keep the focus on football and secure results on the park.
Speaking ahead of the Boxing Day clash between the two clubs, Shiels said: "You can look at it sympathetically.
"But you can also look at it in a way in which he's getting a little bit of a siege mentality there to try to help them.
"That happens in football. Hearts are a big club and we prepare for that in the way in which we show them the utmost respect.
"They're giving young players a chance and it's tremendous what they're doing. John McGlynn is a super guy and he's doing a magnificent job."
Meanwhile, Shiels has hailed his Kilmarnock side as Scottish football's biggest achievers of 2012.
He said: "What we have achieved in 2012 has far surpassed what any other club in Scotland has achieved under the circumstances - way, way ahead of any other club.
"I think that's quite evident if you look at what we've done.
"We've beaten Rangers twice, we've beaten Celtic twice and we've beaten Aberdeen away, Hearts away, Hibernian away, all in a calendar year.
"What a magnificent effort from our players who have come from little clubs. It's immense what Kilmarnock have achieved, absolutely immense.
"We took a 55-year-old record and put it to bed (defeating Celtic in Glasgow in the league cup final), we took a 57-year-old record and put it to bed (winning at Celtic Park).
"These players are magnificent. What the players, and my coach Jimmy Nicholl, have achieved has been nothing short of unbelievable."