HEARTS have vowed to ban and report to the police any fans found guilty of racially abusing former Jambos striker Isma Goncalves.
The Tynecastle club have also revealed they will apologise to the 26-year-old and his family after he revealed the shocking comments directed towards him from a minority of the club's supporters.
Goncalves – who left in a shock move to Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor Tashkent last month – says the vile slurs played a part in his departure.
And the Portuguese striker revealed his family stopped going to games at Tynecastle after several nasty incidents.
That prompted Hearts to release a statement condemning the abuse and vowing to weed out the culprits.
The club said: "In relation to the recent report of racial abuse directed towards Isma Goncalves, Heart of Midlothian Football Club wishes to make it very clear that it abhors racism and any type of prejudicial abuse, and will not tolerate any incidence of such behaviour.
"The club is committed to providing support for its players and a safe working environment for all staff.
"And if anyone is proven to have made racial remarks to individuals inside the stadium then they will be subject to an immediate football banning order and we will report every single such incident to Police Scotland for action.
"We would urge supporters who witness any such behaviour to contact the club, be it in person at Tynecastle, via our Supporter Services email address, by phoning us or by texting our incident report line in confidence, which can be found inside the stadium’s concourse.
"We are aware that, as ever, it is only a very small number of individuals who have let the club and themselves down in this manner.
"The club was unaware that these incidents had occurred, but we will immediately implement some additional pro-active measures to ensure there is a simple and easy process for players and their families to report any such incident.
"We pride ourselves in being a multi-race and multi-cultural club and will take all steps to ensure that players and their families who join us here in Edinburgh, can do so, free from any concerns over prejudice.
"The club will be contacting Isma to apologise to him and his family on behalf of the thousands of supporters who share our anger and disappointment that they were subjected to this behaviour."
Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, Goncalves said the abuse left him sickened.
He said: “I received an offer from Uzbekistan and it was for a lot of money
“I didn’t want to leave Hearts at first, but the problem was that my family were no longer coming to the games.
“There were some people making racist comments to me in the stadium and my family did not feel okay about this.
“It was a minority, but bad things even from a minority can have a big impact.
“My family should be able to go to the stadium and feel comfortable – it’s not nice when your son, your wife and your brother have to listen to people calling me ‘a f****** black’.
“My brother first told me about this around October, I think.
“My family came to the stadium another two or three times and these comments were still coming all the time.
“After that, my wife said, ‘I am not coming to the stadium any more to listen to these types of comments about my husband’.
“She was very mad about it.
“I need my family with me all the time to be focused and happy in my head.”
Goncalves – who scored 15 goals in 42 Jambos appearances - was left stunned by the abuse and said it soon followed on social media.
The former St Mirren League Cup winning legend added: “I got some racist comments on Instagram that I can’t even say because they were really, really bad.
“I was really disappointed and I didn’t understand why the people were being so bad to me.
“We are human beings and this shouldn’t happen, especially in the UK.
“There are a lot of black people in the UK.
“I might expect this in Italy, where they have a problem with racism, but not in the UK.
“Come on, please.
“The fact I play for the team whose supporters are giving me the racist comments, I can’t accept that.
“When people say I am not a good player, that is okay because it is their opinion.
“But when it goes to the racist side, that is very disappointing.
“It made it hard for me to play for Hearts.
“The last month was difficult because I had this in my mind.
“When you play for a club, you should play for your fans and give everything to them, but when I know the way they think, it makes it difficult to play for people who are racist.
“I have never had any problems with racism in my career before. This was new for me.”