{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"hearts","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-in-50-objects-no-34-the-mauritius-trophy-1-4510968","id":"1.4510968","articleHeadline": "Hearts in 50 objects: No.34 – The Mauritius trophy","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500701444000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts earned this fair-sized trophy in Mauritius in 1976.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4510966.1500659118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The trophy was presented by The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd"} ,"articleBody": "

As part of a world tour, which included games in Norway, New Zealand and Australia, they visited the Indian Ocean island and played a local select team, drawing 1-1.

Drew Busby claimed Hearts’ goal at the end of an exhausting three-week trip in which they played eight games in total. However, it was the last one in Mauritius which saw them return to Scotland with a large piece of silverware.

Inscribed on the trophy is: ‘Mauritius Sports Association, Hearts Tour, June 1976, Presented By The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd’.

The islanders were keen to recognise Hearts’ visit as a reputable British football club and commissioned the trophy as a thank you. It remains a cherished piece of silverware at Tynecastle and will be relocated once the new £12million main stand is completed.

Hearts took players including Rab Prentice, Jim Jefferies, Donald Park and Jim Brown with them on the tour at a time when their squad was undergoing a period of transition.

With eight games played in total, no-one was short of match action. End-of-season tours were popular amongst British clubs throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, however they are now a rarity for Scottish teams, largely due to the crammed fixture schedule.

• See more great items from Hearts’ history at the club’s museum. For opening times, go to www.heartsfc.co.uk/pages/museum

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4510966.1500659118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4510966.1500659118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The trophy was presented by The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The trophy was presented by The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4510966.1500659118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4510967.1500659120!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4510967.1500659120!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": ".","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": ".","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4510967.1500659120!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/maroon-memories-hat-trick-for-adam-as-hearts-hit-five-1-4510896","id":"1.4510896","articleHeadline": "Maroon Memories: Hat-trick for Adam as Hearts hit five","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500701400000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts’ purple patch is threatening to turn the entire season maroon.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4510894.1500653357!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stephane Adam completes his hat-trick in 70 minutes, shooting home after receiving a pass from Thomas Flogel"} ,"articleBody": "

They showed no signs of cracking under the strain of leading the Premier Division and Hearts certainly showed a character and poise which suggested they have no fears of their vaunted position.

They had to come back after losing a goal after just five minutes which did little to calm nerves, but the rest of the 90 minutes will certainly have silenced the doubters for the moment.

Defensively, Hearts looked weak in the full-back positions and Jerome Vereille took advantage of a mistake by right-back Stephen Frail to have a crack at goal after five minutes. His shot was blocked, but Ally Mitchell picked up the rebound and found Pat Nevin, who drove the ball low into the net to give Kilmarnock the lead.

However, it did not take Hearts long to get back on level terms. Stefano Salvatori found space on the right wing and when he floated over a deep cross Stephane Adam rose majestically to head an equaliser after 10 minutes.

Both sides were exploiting gaps in each other’s defences in a pulsating opening quarter in which Kilmarnock gave as good as they got.

However, Hearts took the lead with a move of sublime interpassing. Neil McCann cut in from the left and passed to Flogel on the edge of the penalty area. With one touch the ball was with Stevie Fulton, with another, it was back with McCann who stormed through the inside left channel and fired the ball into the roof of the net after 27 minutes.

Four minutes later, Fulton, who was playing a commanding role for the home side, swung in a corner from the right which was palmed over by Lekovic. But Kilmarnock also threatened.

In 35 minutes, a low cross from Gary Holt split the Hearts defence and Mark Roberts can only have been an inch away from making contact.

After the break, Kilmarnock were camped inside the Hearts defence, with Nevin in particular, causing them problems. But despite their pressure it was Hearts who increased their lead.

Fulton floated over the free kick from the right which was headed back across goal by David Weir for Adam once again to head the ball into the net to give Hearts a 3-1 lead in 61 minutes. Kilmarnock cut the deficit only 60 seconds later. Reilly found Holt just inside the penalty area and he twisted past two defenders before driving the ball into the net.

Hearts manager Jim Jefferies tried to stem the flow down the flanks when he moved Fulton to left-back and brought on Jim Hamilton in place of Gary Locke, to shore up the midfield. The tactical switch worked and four minutes after the change Hearts increased their lead.

Weir found Flogel free on the right and his pass to Adam’s feet was rewarded when the Frenchman shot the ball into the net in 70 minutes.

But once again Kilmarnock clawed their way back. In a goalmouth scramble three minutes later, Weir appeared to catch Vereille as he turned and the referee awarded a penalty from which Roberts scored.

The danger of Kilmarnock scoring an equaliser looked very real as they pressed forward but Hearts were able to exploit the gaps they left at the back as they searched for their fourth goal.

One minute before the end they sealed victory when substitute John Robertson crossed to Adam, who fed Jose Quitongo at the far post and he slipped the ball into the net to complete the scoring.

Hearts: Rousset, Locke, Frail, Weir, Salvatori, Ritchie, McCann, Fulton, Adam, Cameron, Flogel

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Hearts 5, Kilmarnock 3. November 23, 1997"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4510894.1500653357!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4510894.1500653357!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stephane Adam completes his hat-trick in 70 minutes, shooting home after receiving a pass from Thomas Flogel","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stephane Adam completes his hat-trick in 70 minutes, shooting home after receiving a pass from Thomas Flogel","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4510894.1500653357!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-ponder-loan-move-for-defender-liam-smith-1-4510961","id":"1.4510961","articleHeadline": "Hearts ponder loan move for defender Liam Smith","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500663659000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts are considering sending defender Liam Smith out on loan once he recovers from an ankle injury.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4510960.1500658374!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam Smith is currently recovering from an ankle injury"} ,"articleBody": "

Several clubs in Scotland are interested in taking the 21-year-old full-back if he becomes available.

Smith is expected to be fully fit next month and could find himself loaned out to gain more first-team experience.

He made 27 appearances in total for Hearts last season but is likely to find his opportunities limited following the signing of his namesake Michael, a Northern Ireland internationalist.

The Tynecastle head coach Ian Cathro told the Evening News that a loan deal for Smith is in his thoughts before the summer transfer window shuts at the end of August.

“It’s a possibility. Within the next couple of weeks, we need to determine exactly what steps we’re going to take for players who are in a similar situation,” he said.

“We will try to make the correct decisions, firstly for our squad but also for the development of our younger or fringe first-team players.

“Whatever happens with Liam, it will be a collective thing. It will be a decision I can control regarding what’s best for the squad and the development of the player.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4510960.1500658374!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4510960.1500658374!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Liam Smith is currently recovering from an ankle injury","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam Smith is currently recovering from an ankle injury","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4510960.1500658374!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/rory-currie-team-spirit-has-improved-at-hearts-1-4510965","id":"1.4510965","articleHeadline": "Rory Currie: Team spirit has improved at Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500672612000 ,"articleLead": "

Rory Currie can sense the mood changing around Hearts this summer.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4510964.1500658860!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rory Currie is aiming to become a first-team contender and add more goals to his game"} ,"articleBody": "

The 19-year-old striker made his first-team debut in Robbie Neilson’s penultimate game in charge against Motherwell last November and went on to make 11 appearances in total before the season’s end. Unfortunately for the youngster, the majority of those outings came at a time when the team started nosediving following a mid-term change of head coach and subsequent squad overhaul. As guns were trained on a struggling group of players from angry supporters, confidence evaporated and team camaraderie was, understandably in the circumstances, limited.

Following some exciting close-season transfer activity, however, the feelgood factor has swiftly started to return to the club over the past two months. Supporters have rediscovered their optimism and, as Currie reports, the dressing-room has regained its heartbeat.

“There are definitely better vibes this year,” said the striker. “All the new boys have come in and we’ve all got a team bond. You can feel it already, it’s feeling a lot better. We didn’t do so well last year and I think that brought the morale down, but things are starting to feel good again after a good pre-season. The supporters are seeming just as excited about the new season as we are so it’s a good feeling throughout the place.”

Despite a chastening start to life in the first team, Currie was eager to get back to work this summer and start building on a maiden season in the first team in which he made two starts and scored once. All of this was more than the former Rangers and Celtic youngster anticipated when he arrived at Tynecastle a year ago, but now he is hungry for more. “It’s good to be back playing after not the longest of breaks,” he said. “After getting involved with the first team last season, my motivation levels were high so, after a couple of weeks off, I couldn’t wait to get back in and start playing again. My aims this season are to hopefully get some starts, get a few goals and help the team do well.”

Following his first season as a first-team player, Currie, well aware of the excellent opportunity he has earned for himself at one of the most prominent clubs in Scotland, made sure he remained ultra-professional throughout his summer break.

“I had to look after my body more, keep in shape, go to the gym, go out running and things like that,” said the youngster, who has featured regularly in pre-season. “I had to do that most days just to keep in shape and maintain my fitness to stay up with all the more experienced players. When you come into the first team, you need to make sure you look after yourself and don’t go down a bad road. I’ve definitely had to make a lot of sacrifices over the last few years to give myself the best possible chance. I don’t see my friends as much as I used to because I’m in here full-time and then going home tired and resting up for the next day. You get into a routine.”

Currie made his first competitive appearance of the season when he came off the bench for the last 15 minutes as Hearts defeated a stubborn Elgin City side 1-0 at Borough Briggs in their Betfred Cup opener on Tuesday. The Tynecastle side host another lower-league opponent today in East Fife and, considering Hearts won only two of their last 16 games of last season, the young striker knows the importance of reacquainting themselves with the winning feeling early on in the new campaign.

“We want a decent performance against East Fife, but the main thing in these competitive matches is to come away with a win to build momentum. We did that against Elgin on Tuesday, and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.

“We’ve talked about finishing top of the group, then hopefully giving ourselves a chance to go all the way and win the competition. In the league we’re hoping to win a lot more games than we did last season.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4510964.1500658860!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4510964.1500658860!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Rory Currie is aiming to become a first-team contender and add more goals to his game","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rory Currie is aiming to become a first-team contender and add more goals to his game","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4510964.1500658860!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-in-50-objects-no-33-the-manager-s-chair-1-4509664","id":"1.4509664","articleHeadline": "Hearts in 50 objects: No.33 – The manager’s chair","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500615059000 ,"articleLead": "

THE manager’s chair at Tynecastle holds a fair amount of mystique given the names of those who have occupied it through the years. Of course, this one is much less used now since Hearts moved their daily football operations to the training base at Riccarton on Edinburgh’s outskirts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4509662.1500562114!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The latest manager's chair"} ,"articleBody": "

It is appropriately clad in maroon leather and has been used by managers for many years.

Ian Cathro is the man in the chair at the moment but right back to the very first Hearts manager, Peter Fairley in 1901, there have been many characters who have written their names into the club’s history.

John McCartney was in charge from 1910 until he resigned in 1919. He was responsible for bringing together an exciting young group of players who soared to the top of the league, but then had to watch as his side was decimated during World War I. The famous McCrae’s Battalion team enlisted together to fight in the war, with several players killed and others wounded.

Tommy Walker was Hearts manager from 1951 to 1966 and presided over the club’s greatest ever era. The teams swept all before them in Scotland with legends like Dave Mackay, John Cumming, Alex Young and the Terrible Trio of Alfie Conn, Willie Bauld and Jimmy Wardhaugh in the 1950s.

Alex MacDonald was responsible for reviving Hearts after relegation in the early 1980s. He, of course took them to within a whisker of the league title in 1986. He remains a much-revered figure amongst the supporters who remember the 1980s era fondly.

Craig Levein, George Burley and Paulo Sergio are some of the others who proved popular figures as Hearts manager more recently.

• See more great items from Hearts’ history at the club’s museum. For opening times, go to www.heartsfc.co.uk/pages/museum

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4509662.1500562114!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4509662.1500562114!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The latest manager's chair","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The latest manager's chair","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4509662.1500562114!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4509663.1500562118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4509663.1500562118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": ".","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": ".","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4509663.1500562118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-contract-offer-to-jamie-walker-still-on-table-1-4509825","id":"1.4509825","articleHeadline": "Hearts contract offer to Jamie Walker ‘still on table’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500615014000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts’ contract offer to Jamie Walker will remain on the table should the winger decide to pledge his future to the club.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4509824.1500575473!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Walker turned down a new contract with Hearts"} ,"articleBody": "

Walker rejected the new deal, which would have made him Hearts’ highest paid player earlier this year. Club officials have subsequently rejected bids from Rangers worth up to £600,000 for his services.

The 24-year-old’s current contract expires next summer and head coach Ian Cathro remains hopeful of convincing him to stay at Tynecastle beyond that point.

He told the Evening News that the contract offer will remain open and will not be withdrawn. “It’s never off the table. We leave it as an open thing,” said Cathro. “We’re still inside the transfer window and there are a lot of things going on.

“We’re not stressed and neither is Jamie. He’s comfortable and he’s training well. Things are fine and it’s other people’s noise that makes you think otherwise.

“We want our best players to be at the club, we want them to be comfortable and relaxed about everything so that their focus can be on football.”

Cathro confirmed he is in the market for a new goalkeeper, a creative midfielder and possibly another forward.

“It [goalkeeper] is an area we are looking at, also in midfield, and maybe in the front areas,” he said.

“While I would say we are making progress on a number of things, I would say that it will be further down the line that we have any real news.”

Midfielder Arnaud Djoum returned from holiday on Monday having been given time off following international duty with Cameroon. He will not feature against East Fife tomorrow in the Betfred League Cup but Cathro stressed the player is happy at Hearts despite speculation on his future.

“He is content here. Arnaud has had to live through quite a lot of big experiences and you can’t undervalue the impact that has,” continued the head coach.

“He is a player who can progress and play at a higher level. What he has to do to be ready for that is be focused and concentrated here, which he is, and be ready to deliver big performances for this club.”

Cathro also explained his delight at seeing defender John Souttar back in action after six months out. He played 45 minutes for Hearts Under-20s in a friendly on Tuesday night to step up his recovery from a ruptured Achilles.

“John is back in full training and has some minutes in a practice game and with the under-20s,” said Cathro.

“He is happy to be back involved, very much so. Most young players have hunger anyway but he has been starved of the game and he comes back in with a wee bit more of that than normal.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4509824.1500575473!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4509824.1500575473!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jamie Walker turned down a new contract with Hearts","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Walker turned down a new contract with Hearts","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4509824.1500575473!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/aaron-hughes-happy-in-hearts-northern-ireland-colony-1-4509698","id":"1.4509698","articleHeadline": "Aaron Hughes happy in Hearts’ Northern Ireland colony","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500615005000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts’ Northern Ireland colony continues to grow, with three players and a coach now safely integrated at Riccarton.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4509697.1500562845!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aaron Hughes likes to have players he can rely on in the dressing-room"} ,"articleBody": "

There may be more to follow before the summer transfer window closes, for there is good reason to recruit members of Michael O’Neill’s international squad right now.

The Green and White Army reached the knockout round of last summer’s European Championship in France and are pressing hard to qualify for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia. If you are a Northern Irishman with even an outside hope of sneaking into O’Neill’s squad, this is the time to bust the proverbial gut.

Hearts appear to have kept that in mind with their recruitment. Their assistant coach Austin MacPhee is also one of O’Neill’s international coaching staff and was instrumental in luring defender Aaron Hughes, striker Kyle Lafferty and full-back Michael Smith to Edinburgh.

All three made their competitive debuts against Elgin City on Tuesday night and will start again tomorrow when the Betfred Cup group phase continues with East Fife visiting Tynecastle. “People see a pattern and just assume we’re going to sign every Norther Ireland player. It’s not the case,” said the Hearts head coach Ian Cathro last week when asked about reports linking him with the Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern.

Cathro is understandably keen to widen the net, but Northern Ireland players and staff are a valuable commodity in the current market.

“This period that we’re going through with Northern Ireland is an exciting time. It does give you that extra motivation at your club every week,” explained Hughes. “Knowing that if you stay fit, play consistently and get a bit of good form going, you’ve got a chance of maybe going to something as big as a World Cup finals.

“That’s only the international side of things, remember. At a club like Hearts, with what they’re trying to do, there is the potential to win some silverware. That’s the aim of a club this size given the players we’ve brought in and the ambition there is here.

“For us Northern Irish lads, we’ve got that double-edged motivation. You’ve got success with the national team at the minute and how good it would be to be part of that going forward. Club football can influence that, then there’s what we’re trying to do at Hearts this season. It’s a good position to be in.

“It’s familiar faces and knowing what you’re getting from people. Not just the lads from Northern Ireland, I think all the signings we’ve made have been very good. Knowing the lads from the national team, I can see why they’ve been brought here. It’s not just their quality on the pitch, it’s how they fit in as characters within the dressing room.

“You’re getting lads who know what to expect and how to deal with the type of football here. Laffs has played up here before and Michael can handle it. They’ve got experience of international football. Basically, you know what you’re getting from them week in and week out.

“The games in Scotland can be difficult and pose different problems. You need to have guys you can rely on. Regardless of what’s thrown at them, they’ll stand up to the test. Laffs and Michael both fit that bill.”

MacPhee’s role is pivotal at Riccarton on a daily basis. Cathro is very much the public face of the club but MacPhee operated quietly in the background as a buffer between management and dressing room.

“Austin is huge. He plays a big role in the background,” continued Hughes. “He’s around the lads making sure things are done properly. Him and the gaffer are very similar in their standards and what they expect. That’s why they work well together. They’ve seen good standards and where they can take you. In that sense, they know what good standards looks like.

“Austin’s experience with the national team helps when you’re coming in here. When I first met him, I didn’t know him as well because he didn’t have as much influence with the team. That has grown now as well, both with the national team and here at Hearts. I’ve seen a lot more of him being much more hands on, taking training sessions and working hard.

“Around the training ground at Riccarton, you talk about players’ character, but Austin has a good bond with everybody. He’s a great go-between for the manager and the players. He’s definitely a good fit at this club.”

O’Neill residing in Edinburgh may also have been a pivotal factor for those joining Hearts. The former Hibs midfielder has changed the mentality within the Northern Ireland squad since taking charge five and a half years ago. No longer can players expect to be guaranteed their place.

“Michael’s very good at keeping an eye on everyone, no matter where they are,” said Hughes. “Since he’s taken over with Northern Ireland, he’s been big on that. He doesn’t take it for granted that a player is at a club at a high level, he looks at the guys playing week in and week out. He knows that’s important for international matches, to have lads playing consistently and on form.

“That’s one of the things he’s changed within the association. Rather than just the same pool of players who were playing for Northern Ireland whether they were playing club football or not, he’s built a bit of competition. You’ve got to make sure you’re fighting for a place with your club. When you’re bringing that competitive edge and consistency into the national team, it’s making his job a bit easier.”

The Northern Irish contingent will also do coaching staff at club level a massive turn if they can build on Tuesday’s successful start to the new season.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4509697.1500562845!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4509697.1500562845!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Aaron Hughes likes to have players he can rely on in the dressing-room","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aaron Hughes likes to have players he can rely on in the dressing-room","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4509697.1500562845!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-in-50-objects-no-32-main-stand-plaque-1-4508367","id":"1.4508367","articleHeadline": "Hearts in 50 objects: No.32 – Main Stand plaque","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500528650000 ,"articleLead": "

Pertinently, this plaque was made to honour the Hearts directors who helped fund and build Tynecastle’s main stand in 1914. Of course, that structure was only recently demolished to make way for its £12million replacement, due to open in September.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4508366.1500472618!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The plaque was installed in 1914"} ,"articleBody": "

In 1914, the Hearts board commissioned the renowned stadium architect Archibald Leitch to design a modern main stand like so many others he had masterminded across Britain.

Leitch submitted his plans and it was estimated that the cost of the red brick and steel building would be £8,000. The principal contractors were Edinburgh companies, Redpath Brown Limited and J Duncan & Sons.

Two old stands and a pavilion were in place at Tynecastle at the time but they were removed to make space for Leitch’s creation. The club had £4,000 of the required money and decided to take instant action to raise the rest. They sold Percy Dawson to Blackburn Rovers for a then British record fee of £2,500.

However, a number of items were omitted from the first estimate of the stand, which meant that its cost increased to more than £12,000.

Chairman Elias Furst and his Hearts board of W Lorimer, W Burns, W Brown, W Drummond and J McCartney, scrambled the rest of the funds together.

The new main stand was partially opened on August 15 when Hearts beat Celtic 2-0 in the League before 18,000 fans. It was at that point that the club instructed a plaque to be placed on the outside wall giving details of the directors involved in the construction project.

When the stand was eventually completed in October that year, it was the most advanced in Scotland. However, the final cost was £12,178, which caused the Tynecastle board some real financial difficulties.

Once those hurdles were overcome, the stand lasted for 103 years until it was torn down just a few weeks ago.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4508366.1500472618!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4508366.1500472618!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The plaque was installed in 1914","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The plaque was installed in 1914","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4508366.1500472618!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/kyle-lafferty-ready-to-thrive-on-pressure-at-hearts-1-4508316","id":"1.4508316","articleHeadline": "Kyle Lafferty ready to thrive on pressure at Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500528638000 ,"articleLead": "

Being Kyle Lafferty often means a high price in aggression. Hearts’ new striker glanced the winning goal on his debut in Elgin on Tuesday night almost to prove how he thrives under pressure.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4508315.1500470764!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Lafferty"} ,"articleBody": "

As if Lafferty’s profile in Scotland wasn’t high enough from his time at Rangers, he joined Hearts after snubbing Hibs’ attempts to sign him. Once you’ve upset the west of Scotland, why not try the east? Of course, he didn’t intend it that way but the 29-year-old knows he is very much public property.

Elgin’s attempts to shackle him were frequently physical and Lafferty was prepared for the challenge in Moray. His lanky frame is complemented by a decent touch and body strength. Then there’s the aerial ability which saw him head home Rafal Grzelak’s cross on the hour mark to decide Tuesday’s Betfred League Cup tie.

A goal on your competitive debut for a new club is the perfect start for any striker. Lafferty expects to be a target for defenders across Scotland this season and is relaxed about how he will cope with the attention.

“Over the last few years, I’ve probably thrived on being singled out and being a marked man,” he said, speaking exclusively to the Evening News. “I honestly can’t wait to play against the likes of Celtic, Rangers and in the Edinburgh derby.

“I don’t really bother what the style of play is. Hearts did a lot of work to get me here and they’ve put a lot of faith in me. The only way I can repay them is by doing what I did the other night – come up with the winning goal in a tough game. If I keep on doing that, I’ll answer all my critics.

“Scoring my first goal for any club is important and it’s a good feeling. I would’ve liked to get a couple more but the important thing was getting a win to start the season. For myself, it was nice to get off the mark and I enjoyed getting the goal. We knew it would be a tough game up there and it turned out it was tougher than we expected.”

Lafferty is used to being part of a team everyone wants to beat. That means developing a mentality to handle even the most brutal approach. It served him and his new team well as Hearts started their Betfred League Cup Group B campaign with a hard-earned win.

“Elgin definitely put themselves about. I think that’s part and parcel of football,” he continued. “Whenever teams in lower leagues come up against the bigger teams, it’s always difficult. They want to test themselves against better opposition.

“We found it tough but we found our rhythm the longer the game went on and got the three points.

“Playing for one of the big two in Scotland, you’re used to being everyone’s cup final. Coming to Hearts, everyone wants to beat Hearts as well. We’re the third-best team in the league so I think everyone will want to go out and prove that they can turn up and beat the likes of Hearts.

“We have to treat each game in the right manner. These League Cup games are coming quite early. It’s like a pre-season game, to be honest. We’ve only been back three to four weeks and we’re still trying to get fit, get used to individuals and get playing as a team.”

We’re taking these games as seriously as possible. We want the points to progress from the group and to help us get ready for the start of the season. Everyone expects us to go out and wipe the floor with these teams but it’s still early.”

Lafferty celebrated his winner like a player who looked content and happy in his surroundings. The furore of his arrival in Gorgie has died down, but only slightly. Leaving Hibs in the lurch after promising to meet manager Neil Lennon for contract talks made him public enemy No.1 in Leith. He isn’t overly flustered.

“I just want to play football now. I spoke to Hearts as soon as I came back from my holiday in June. On my first day back in Scotland, I went to talk to them. It went on longer than I expected,” he explained.

“I showed them respect. Obviously, there were other things which I said I was going to do. It turned out that I negotiated something with Hearts which was right for both of us.

“It would’ve been disrespectful to Hearts, the fans and people at the club who I’d spoken to for four days solid if I’d gone elsewhere to speak to another club. We were so close to getting the deal over the line.

“Football is football and you just have to move on. I thought it would’ve been put to bed by now but people are going to keep on talking about it. I joined the right club. The lads, the manager and the coaching staff have been brilliant. Even people on the board have all been excellent. They know this club can go places. I’m glad I’m a Hearts player.

“They understood I had other options when we were talking. If we didn’t come to an agreement, I was clubless so I had to go elsewhere. From the first moment I went into the club and met Ann [Budge], Craig [Levein], the gaffer [Ian Cathro] and Austin [MacPhee] again, I had a good feeling.”

Standing on the Tynecastle pitch that June evening, Lafferty watched the ongoing construction of the ground’s new main stand. Furnishing it with a trophy became his top priority, hence his desire to shine in the Betfred Cup.

“I went out on the pitch and saw the new stand being built,” he recalled. “The feeling of being the first team to put a bit of silverware in that new stand, it’s what every player in the Hearts team wants. With this squad of players, I think we can do that.

“It’s going to be an exciting season for us. Hopefully, come the end of it, we’ll be where we want to be.”

Before then, he will have to confront Hibs and their supporters in the Edinburgh derbies. That thick skin and strong mentality will again be called upon.

“I’m sure I’ll get a good reception from the Hibs fans whenever we play them,” smiled the forward. “It’s a derby, I’ve played in massive derbies before and come through them. Sometimes I’ve come through them happy, sometimes disappointed, but that’s football. You pick yourself up and move on.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4508315.1500470764!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4508315.1500470764!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kyle Lafferty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Lafferty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4508315.1500470764!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/rafal-grzelak-poised-for-first-hearts-start-in-east-fife-tie-1-4508518","id":"1.4508518","articleHeadline": "Rafal Grzelak poised for first Hearts start in East Fife tie","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500528638000 ,"articleLead": "

Rafal Grzelak is poised for his first competitive Hearts start should injury rule Ashley Smith-Brown out of Saturday’s Betfred Cup tie against East Fife.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4508517.1500478891!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rafal Grzelak performed well for Hearts at Elgin"} ,"articleBody": "

The on-loan Manchester City defender is nursing a groin problem and Grzelak is preparing to step in if required.

Smith-Brown was forced off after 28 minutes of Tuesday night’s Betfred Cup win over Elgin after aggravating his groin. Grzelak stepped off the substitutes’ bench to take his place and delivered a commanding performance, including the cross for Kyle Lafferty’s match-winning header.

Medical staff at Riccarton were assessing Smith-Brown yesterday but, should Hearts decide not to risk the 20-year-old, versatile Polish player Grzelak will step into the left wing-back role for the East Fife match at Tynecastle.

Head coach Ian Cathro is relaxed about the situation. He confirmed that Smith-Brown’s injury is not thought to be overly serious and said having a capable replacement is vital.

“That’s one of the biggest things about us building a squad - making sure we have options in every position,” said Cathro. “Rafal stepped in on Tuesday night and we’re pleased with him so far.

“It’s a positive thing that we have two players for that side of the pitch. We’ll assess Ash and see how he is ahead of the weekend.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4508517.1500478891!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4508517.1500478891!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Rafal Grzelak performed well for Hearts at Elgin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rafal Grzelak performed well for Hearts at Elgin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4508517.1500478891!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-hearts-clash-moved-for-live-tv-coverage-1-4508388","id":"1.4508388","articleHeadline": "Hibs-Hearts clash moved for live TV coverage","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500473756000 ,"articleLead": "

The opening Edinburgh derby of the season has been brought forward 24 hours for live TV coverage.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4508387.1500473740!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs and Hearts will do battle at Easter Road in October"} ,"articleBody": "

Hibs will now host Hearts at Easter Road on Tuesday, October 24 (kick-off 7.45pm) in a match to be shown on BT Sport.

In other fixture changes, Hearts’ clash home clash with Rangers on October 28 will kick off at 12.30pm (live on Sky Sports).

Latest TV selections:

Friday 8 September, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

Hamilton Academical v Celtic

Live on BT Sport, kick-off 7.45pm

Friday 15 September, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

Partick Thistle v Rangers

Live on BT Sport, kick-off 7.45pm

Saturday 23 September, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

Rangers v Celtic

Live on Sky Sports, kick-off 12 noon

Sunday 24 September, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

Motherwell v Aberdeen

Live on BT Sport, kick-off 12.15pm

Friday 29 September, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

Hamilton Academical v Rangers

Live on BT Sport, kick-off 7.45pm

Friday 13 October, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

St Johnstone v Rangers

Live on BT Sport, kick-off 7.45pm

Saturday 21 October, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

Rangers v Aberdeen

Live on Sky Sports, kick-off 12.30pm

Tuesday 24 October, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

Hibs v Hearts

Live on BT Sport, kick-off 7.45pm

Wednesday 25 October, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

Aberdeen v Celtic

Live on BT Sport, kick-off 7.45pm

Saturday 28 October, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

Hearts v Rangers

Live on Sky Sports, kick-off 12.30pm

Saturday 4 November, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

St Johnstone v Celtic

Live on Sky Sports, kick-off 12.30pm

Saturday 18 November, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

Ross County v Celtic

Live on BT Sport, kick-off 12.30pm

Friday 24 November, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

Dundee v Rangers

Live on BT Sport, kick-off 7.45pm

Sunday 26 November, 2017

Ladbrokes Premiership

Kilmarnock v Aberdeen

Live on Sky Sports, kick-off 12.30pm

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4508387.1500473740!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4508387.1500473740!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs and Hearts will do battle at Easter Road in October","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs and Hearts will do battle at Easter Road in October","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4508387.1500473740!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-defender-john-souttar-plays-first-game-in-six-months-1-4507886","id":"1.4507886","articleHeadline": "Hearts defender John Souttar plays first game in six months","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500453314139 ,"articleLead": "

John Souttar made his injury comeback for Hearts last night - his first game in six months after rupturing an Achilles tendon.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4507885.1500453430!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Souttar played for Hearts Under-20s and is hopeful of making a first-team comeback next month"} ,"articleBody": "

The 20-year-old centre-back played 45 minutes for the club's under-20 side in a 2-1 friendly defeat against Civil Service Strollers. He scored an early own goal but coped well overall and was relieved to be back in action after such a long absence.

Souttar suffered the injury at Celtic Park in January and was immediately ruled out for the remainder of the season. It was initially thought he would not play again until September at the earliest, however he is now targeting a first-team return at some point next month.

Hearts are determined not to rush the player back but medical and coaching staff are pleased by his rapid progress. He will play more under-20 matches before stepping back into the first-team fray.

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4507885.1500453430!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4507885.1500453430!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Souttar played for Hearts Under-20s and is hopeful of making a first-team comeback next month","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Souttar played for Hearts Under-20s and is hopeful of making a first-team comeback next month","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4507885.1500453430!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-in-50-objects-no-31-the-terrible-trio-1-4507221","id":"1.4507221","articleHeadline": "Hearts in 50 objects: No.31 – The Terrible Trio","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500442229000 ,"articleLead": "

Their names roll off the tongue of any Hearts fan who knows even a smattering of their club’s history. Alfie Conn, Willie Bauld and Jimmy Wardhaugh, affectionately known as the Terrible Trio, are the greatest forward line ever to don the maroon jersey.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4507220.1500386019!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Terrible Trio"} ,"articleBody": "

The iconic strikeforce spearheaded the most successful side in Hearts’ history during the 1950s, helping them win two Scottish league titles, one Scottish Cup and three League Cups.

The combination of Wardhaugh’s dribbling skills and non-stop running, Bauld’s cerebral play and prodigious aerial ability, and Conn’s energetic, tenacious style and powerful shooting complemented each other perfectly.

Conn was blessed with a ferocious shot, whilst Bauld was an intelligent leader of the line and considered the brains of the outfit. Wardhaugh was the most clinical of finishers inside and outside the penalty area.

The Terrible Trio scored over 900 goals between them for Hearts during the club’s halcyon period. Wardhaugh, pictured left, claimed 376, Bauld, centre, 355 and Conn, right, 221. In total they played 242 games together and remain a unique commodity in the history of Scottish football.

Indeed, perhaps the Terrible Trio’s only serious rivals are Hibs’ Famous Five forward line.

The Hearts manager Tommy Walker said of the Trio: “They always appeared to play as one. Their individual expertise, positional sense and scoring ability were simply dovetailed into one unit.”

John Cumming, the hardened wing-half, was another huge admirer of this supremely gifted triumvirate. “Nobody compared with Conn, Bauld and Wardhaugh in attack,” he observed. “They were a great threesome and the biggest influence on the team.”

• See more great items from Hearts’ history at the club’s museum. For opening times, go to www.heartsfc.co.uk/pages/museum

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4507220.1500386019!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4507220.1500386019!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Terrible Trio","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Terrible Trio","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4507220.1500386019!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/ian-cathro-more-to-come-from-hearts-after-narrow-elgin-win-1-4507687","id":"1.4507687","articleHeadline": "Ian Cathro: More to come from Hearts after narrow Elgin win","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500414281000 ,"articleLead": "

Ian Cathro stressed there is more to come from Hearts after last night’s narrow Betfred League Cup win over Elgin. Kyle Lafferty’s first competitive goal for the Edinburgh club secured a 1-0 victory at Borough Briggs in Group B of the new-look League Cup.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4507685.1500414265!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts' Kyle Lafferty celebrates his goal with Esmael Goncalves. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Hearts’ performance was steady, but lacked the kind of creative spark needed to break down a well-organised Elgin defence. Lafferty produced a glancing header from substitute Rafal Grzelak’s cross on the hour mark to separate the sides.

There was a price to pay for the visitors as defender Ashley Smith-Brown was forced off with a groin injury in the first half. Grzelak took his place and assisted with the winner, but Hearts head coach Cathro feels his team have more momentum to find after their first competitive outing of the new season.

“Definitely, there is more to come. You’re almost tricked into thinking you’ve got to score loads of goals in these games and that’s not true,” he said. “You’ve got to play the game and make sure you are the dominant team, and go away with the win.

“That’s what we’ve done. We have to move forward, progress and improve on things. We feel we’ve done what we went there to do, which was win the game. We’re aware there are parts of our play which we want to be better. That was the case anyway because this is an ongoing process.

“We’re already looking forward to the East Fife game on Saturday, the next game in the group. We’ve got time to recover and do some work so we’re looking forward to a home game.”

MATCH REPORT – Elgin 0, Hearts 1: Kyle Lafferty nets on debut

On Laffery’s goal, he added: “We had a number of chances throughout the game. Kyle had a number himself in the first half but he stayed calm and kept doing the correct things. We got through it.

“We never had any idea it was going to be an overly comfortable game. That was the case. We knew it was a difficult task. It was our first competitive game. The only important thing was putting in a strong enough performance to control the game.

“We’re working day by day to get there but this is it so we have to be ready. Some stuff progresses but you can only make a judgment on how the team is in the first game. Then you look at the next game and the next game. We will continue working to improve.

Smith-Brown came off after 28 minutes and will be assessed by medical staff at Riccarton. “He felt a discomfort in his groin so we’ll need to see how that looks over the next couple of days. We don’t anticipate that it’s too bad. We’re obviously hoping it isn’t anything serious, that goes without saying,” commented Cathro.

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Hearts striker Alistair Roy yesterday joined Dumbarton on loan until January.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSONat Borough Briggs"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4507685.1500414265!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4507685.1500414265!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts' Kyle Lafferty celebrates his goal with Esmael Goncalves. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts' Kyle Lafferty celebrates his goal with Esmael Goncalves. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4507685.1500414265!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4507686.1500414267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4507686.1500414267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts' Ashley Smith-Brown picked up an injury. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts' Ashley Smith-Brown picked up an injury. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4507686.1500414267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/elgin-0-hearts-1-kyle-lafferty-nets-winner-on-debut-1-4507630","id":"1.4507630","articleHeadline": "Elgin 0, Hearts 1: Kyle Lafferty nets winner on debut","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500410500000 ,"articleLead": "

This was a comfortable if unspectacular start to the new season for Hearts as Kyle Lafferty’s header secured victory in Elgin. The Betfred League Cup Group B tie was settled by the Northern Irishman after an hour on a night when the Premiership side struggled to break down their stubborn League Two hosts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4507629.1500410684!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Lafferty heads home the opener for Hearts. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Goalless at half-time, Hearts enjoyed the majority of possession without creating too many clear-cut scoring opportunities. That theme changed little after the interval. The visitors did get more joy as the game wore on and their part-time opponents visibly tired. A break inside the penalty area eluded them despite their best efforts but they were content to leave Moray with a 1-0 win.

It was Polish substitute Rafal Grzelak – a first-half replacement for the injured Ashely Smith-Brown – who teed up the winning goal. His delivery from the left following a foul on the lively Esmael Goncalves was nodded home by Lafferty for his first competitive Hearts goal. It was a timely intervention given most of his team-mates’ efforts were off target throughout the evening.

It’s not often anyone reports on the stifling heat of Elgin, but temperatures at Borough Briggs touched 26 degrees. The build-up to kick-off saw players from both sides sweating it out on the well-preened grass surface at Britain’s most northern league football venue. They were watched by around 550 travelling supporters who perched themselves on the grass verges behind the goals – hopefully plastered in suncream.

Hearts fielded a strong side despite travelling north without Arnaud Djoum, Bjorn Johnsen, Liam Smith and John Souttar. Competitive debuts were given to captain Christophe Berra, right-back Michael Smith, left-back Ashley Smith-Brown and striker Laffery. Head coach Ian Cathro wants his team to build momentum as quickly as possible after a disappointing second half last season. For that reason, he named his strongest available line-up, with Lafferty leading the forward line.

Part-time Elgin entered this affair on the back of a crushing 6-0 defeat at Dunfermline on Saturday as Group B began with a bang. Manager Jim Weir, the former Hearts defender, was trying to initiate a response from his players against a side four divisions higher in the Scottish Professional Football League.

Elgin’s ball retention levels made creating openings difficult early on, whilst their opponents kept possession comfortably. Lafferty and Jamie Walker both had shots at goal which didn’t properly test the City goalkeeper Marc Waters. Hearts’ build-up was patient as they tried to fashion an opening. They were roared on by a notably loud and vocal Cathro on the edge of his technical area.

Walker did round Waters after quarter of an hour to roll the ball into an empty net following a defensive mix-up as Berra’s long ball forward caused confusion. However, the offside flag denied him the game’s opening goal. Lafferty swung his foot at Esmael Goncalves’ cross but failed to connect. It was clear Hearts’ harboured more quality, clear chances were at a premium, though.

Much of the visitors’ threat was coming down the right flank where the Northern Irishman Michael Smith dominated. He scarpered up and down the wing at a steady pace, linked well with forwards and midfielders, and delivered a couple of dangerous crosses. At first glance, the man signed from Peterborough United looks a reliable acquisition by the Tynecastle management.

On the opposite side, Ashley Smith-Brown was disappointingly forced off by an injury before the half-hour mark. Grzelak took his place in the left wing-back position in Cathro’s 3-4-2-1 system. A fairly mundane first half drew to a close after Don Cowie’s volley from Lafferty’s headed knockdown soared over Waters’ crossbar. The goalless interval scoreline didn’t impress the maroon-clad following. Indeed, a few near Cathro’s dugout complained about a lack of urgency from their team as the half-time whistle sounded.

Goncalves drove inside away from the Elgin right-back Matthew Cooper to dispatch a powerful shot at Waters on 52 minutes. The keeper held the effort as consternation within the Hearts camp began to grow. Any exasperation wasn’t helped when the visitors appealed for a penalty as the grounded Stephen Bronsky appeared to handle while tackling Lafferty. Referee Steven Kirkland allowed play to continue.

Cathro bawled several times at his team to “play quicker” and increase the tempo. The sense was that Elgin wouldn’t cope if Hearts reached top gear. Eventually, with almost an hour gone, Lafferty opened his competitive account for his new club. Goncalves won a free-kick on the left near the goal line and, once the set-piece was taken, Grzelak delivered a teasing cross for the Northern Irishman to glance into the far corner of the net.

There was palpable relief for Hearts at that stage. Elgin hadn’t troubled them in an attacking sense but everyone inside Borough Briggs was conscious of the potential for an upset at 0-0. Once Lafferty made the breakthrough, there was only ever likely to be one outcome.

Walker came close to adding a second with a 20-yard shot on 74 minutes which bounced just wide of target. He then made way for Rory Currie to a welcome round of applause from the travelling support. His future remains uncertain amid strong interest from Rangers, however the Hearts fans clearly want him to stay in Edinburgh.

Elgin tried to mount a late rally in an effort to prise an equaliser. They howled for a penalty when midfielder Brian Cameron went down in the act of shooting under pressure from Grzelak. Again, referee Kirkland ignored the claims. Jack Hamilton then held Cooper’s looping header in the last act of the match. Lafferty’s header remained the deciding factor in this game to provide his new team with a steady start to the new campaign.

Elgin City (4-2-3-1): Waters; Cooper, Bronsky, McHardy, S Smith (Eadie); McGovern (McLeish 70), Cameron; Dodd, Reilly, Sutherland; Allan (McKinnon 75). Unused subs: Ferguson, Wilson, Dear.

Hearts (3-4-2-1): Hamilton; Hughes, Nowak, Berra; M Smith, Cowie, Buaben, Smith-Brown (Grzelak 28); Walker (Currie 74), Goncalves; Lafferty (Stockton 84). Unused subs: Noring, Martin, McGhee, Petkov.

Referee: S Kirkland

Attendance: 1303

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSONat Borough Briggs"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4507629.1500410684!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4507629.1500410684!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kyle Lafferty heads home the opener for Hearts. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Lafferty heads home the opener for Hearts. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4507629.1500410684!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/former-hearts-player-davie-laing-dies-aged-92-1-4507349","id":"1.4507349","articleHeadline": "Former Hearts player Davie Laing dies aged 92","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500392106000 ,"articleLead": "

Former Hearts player Davie Laing has died at the age of 92.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4507348.1500392091!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Hearts player Davie Laing pictured in his heyday."} ,"articleBody": "

Laing played for the Tynecastle side between 1946 and 1954. Predominantly used as a half-back, Laing made 311 appearances for the Jambos and scored 17 goals. He was never booked or sent off during his Hearts career.

Born in Gateside, Fife, Laing also spent a brief period at Capital rivals Hibs, playing ten games between 1956 and 1957. His other clubs included Clyde, Gillingham, Margate, Ramsgate Athletic and Canterbury City.

Laing turned to journalism after his playing career ended and worked for the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch and the Scottish Daily Mail. He also took up the role of press officer for Hearts.

He retired in 1990 to live in Kirkcaldy.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4507348.1500392091!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4507348.1500392091!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Hearts player Davie Laing pictured in his heyday.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Hearts player Davie Laing pictured in his heyday.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4507348.1500392091!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-duo-djoum-and-johnsen-miss-cup-tie-to-work-on-fitness-1-4506401","id":"1.4506401","articleHeadline": "Hearts duo Djoum and Johnsen miss cup tie to work on fitness","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500355856000 ,"articleLead": "

Arnaud Djoum and Bjorn Johnsen are back training with Hearts but will not feature in tonight’s Betfred League Cup tie against Elgin City.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4506399.1500309115!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bjorn Johnsen trained with Hearts' Under-20s yesterday"} ,"articleBody": "

Both will remain in Edinburgh to do physical conditioning work, with Johnsen training with the club’s under-20 squad this week.

The pair were given extra time off having been on international duty in June with Cameroon and Norway respectively.

Hearts travelled north yesterday without them to prepare for this evening’s match at Borough Briggs. Full-back Liam Smith was also missing due to an ankle injury which is likely to sideline him until next month.

Djoum remains a key part of head coach Ian Cathro’s plans but Johnsen is expected to leave Hearts before the summer transfer window closes on August 31.

“Arnaud is back training but he won’t be involved tonight. He will stay here and catch up with a bit of conditioning,” Cathro told the Evening News. “We’ll plan how to bring him back into the group and get him on the pitch. It will be done when the time is right. He hasn’t stopped playing for too long because he had the Confederations Cup with Cameroon so I think we can see him on the park before the end of the League Cup group stage.

“Bjorn has been catching up on a bit of conditioning. Because we are away to Elgin now, he trained with the under-20s to give him a harder training session.

“He’s needed to catch up a little bit because he had a bit of a knock coming back from international duty with Norway. He had an extra bit of time off so he was a little bit behind and is just catching up a little bit physically.”

Asked whether Johnsen would be part of his plans for the start of the season, Cathro remained coy.

“He’s here. We’ll deal with those things privately,” he replied. “We’ll see where things go. When the market is open, you can’t get too obsessed. We need to see where it goes but those things will be private.” The striker and head coach had a well-documented argument near the end of last season during a match against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

They have since settled their differences but Cathro signed strikers Kyle Lafferty and Cole Stockton over the summer – a sign that Johnsen is unlikely to feature at first-team level in future.

Right-back Smith has been absent from training due to an ankle problem and also missed Friday night’s friendly against Newcastle United at Tynecastle.

He is expected to be sidelined into August with an injury which is not considered serious. He is suspended for the opening match of the Ladbrokes Premiership season after accumulated six bookings last year.

“Liam has an injury so might be out for two or three weeks,” explained Cathro. “It’s an ankle injury, nothing too concerning, but it will take a couple of weeks.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4506399.1500309115!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4506399.1500309115!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bjorn Johnsen trained with Hearts' Under-20s yesterday","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bjorn Johnsen trained with Hearts' Under-20s yesterday","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4506399.1500309115!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4506400.1500309118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4506400.1500309118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Arnaud Djoum is cathcing up on conditioning work","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Arnaud Djoum is cathcing up on conditioning work","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4506400.1500309118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/jamie-walker-irreplaceable-for-hearts-says-esmael-goncalves-1-4506338","id":"1.4506338","articleHeadline": "Jamie Walker irreplaceable for Hearts, says Esmael Goncalves","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500355853000 ,"articleLead": "

While Ian Cathro stressed nothing has changed regarding the future of Hearts winger Jamie Walker, striker Esmael Goncalves admitted the 24-year-old would be irreplaceable if he joined Rangers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4506336.1500304886!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Walker was the subject of two bids from Rangers"} ,"articleBody": "

The Ibrox club had bids of up to £600,000 for Walker rejected by Hearts in June and have yet to return with another offer. Cathro, the Edinburgh club’s head coach, is irked by constant speculation regarding his player.

Goncalves said finding a replacement for Walker would be virtually impossible should he move to Glasgow. “I hope Jamie stays because he is a big player for us. It is important he stays because I don’t think we will find another player like him if he leaves,” said the Portuguese.

“If he stays, I think we can do good things. If he has to leave, we will do the job. Myself and Kyle and Cole will do our best.

“Of course, it will take a lot of money to bring in a replacement for Jamie. We have been talking about this and hearing things. If he leaves at the end of next month it will be impossible to find another player like him.

“So, it would be good if the club fixes this situation with Jamie, so we can go forward. It would be a big boost for the club and the fans if he stayed. The fans love him, he has been here since he was young.”

Walker rejected a contract offer to make him Hearts’ highest paid player earlier this year. His existing deal expires next summer. “I can say there is no situation that warrants this being what headlines are for the next couple of days,” said Cathro.

“Naturally, he’s on a contract till the end of the season. We would love to have him here for a longer period of time. He’s a player who is at a level which should be rewarded as well.

“Those things are in play but I wouldn’t go any further than that. If you go further than that it wouldn’t really be reality.

It’s quite calm. Nothing has changed. Has there been any communication that would infer Rangers will come in again? No.

“There’s a period of time to go. Maybe another club might want him. I think everyone has forgotten that’s a possibility. Clubs want a good player and Jamie is a good player. You can’t sit and pretend there might not be interest between now and the closing of the window.

“But for us to be constantly playing this game when there’s no need for it is just boring.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4506336.1500304886!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4506336.1500304886!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jamie Walker was the subject of two bids from Rangers","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Walker was the subject of two bids from Rangers","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4506336.1500304886!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4506337.1500304891!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4506337.1500304891!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Esmael Goncalves wants Walker to stay","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Esmael Goncalves wants Walker to stay","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4506337.1500304891!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/ashley-smith-brown-from-aguero-and-sterling-to-elgin-1-4506343","id":"1.4506343","articleHeadline": "Ashley Smith-Brown: From Aguero and Sterling to Elgin","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500355820000 ,"articleLead": "

Borough Briggs provides an especially modest start to Ashley Smith-Brown’s Hearts career tonight. When you’ve trained with superstars like Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Raheem Sterling, not much can compare.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4506342.1500308772!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ashley Smith-Brown will make his competitive bow for Hearts in Elgin tonight"} ,"articleBody": "

The home of Elgin City is the most northerly league ground in Great Britain. Its only stand contains 478 second-hand seats donated from Newcastle United’s St James’ Park 17 years ago. It is, in every sense, a lower-league venue.

Smith-Brown is determined that the surroundings can be no excuse in Moray this evening when Hearts begin their Betfred League Cup campaign. The on-loan Manchester City defender might be used to the plush Etihad training campus and mingling with world football’s elite, but he heads north with the utmost professionalism.

“I’ve not heard too much about Elgin so far from the boys,” smiled the 21-year-old, speaking exclusively to the Evening News. “I know they’re a fourth division team but, regardless, it’s a competitive game. It’s a cup game and anything can happen in the cup so we’ve just got to be on it from minute one.

“We’ve got to be professional. You can’t really take much notice of the ground or the atmosphere. You can’t have any excuses going into this game.

“We’re all in good spirits. We all feel fit and sharp, we’re ready for the season to start and we’re looking forward to this.

“This will be my first competitive game for Hearts so I want to make a good impression and start well. Hopefully, I will do my best for the team.”

Elgin’s diligent squad are unlikely to faze Smith-Brown too much. He helped NAC Breda gain promotion in the Netherlands last season and has encountered some of English football’s biggest talents at City.

“I would say Sterling is the toughest. He’s really quick,” admitted the left-back. “I’ve trained with the likes of Yaya Toure, Aguero, [Vincent] Kompany, Joe Hart. There are loads of great players down there. I managed to train with them a few times. We’re all based in the same building so you see them every day, have lunch with them, it’s a great atmosphere.

“They’re still normal people. They talk to you and give you bits of advice. They’ve got bags of experience so it’s always good to listen to them.”

He will spend the entire season in Edinburgh hoping to augment the experience he gained in Breda. At the back of his mind remains a burning ambition to make an impact at one of the globe’s largest and richest clubs.

“I definitely want to make an impression there,” he continued. “I’m still a Manchester City player at the end of the day. Regardless of how the season goes here, I’ll end up back there next year and we’ll take it from there. Hopefully I can have a good season here and, you never know, I could be in the plans. It’s up to me to do well at whatever level I’m playing and make sure I’m performing as best I can.

“Quite early in the summer I got a call from agent saying there was interest from Hearts. He asked me what I thought. I did a bit of research on the club, looked at the team and how they play. I liked what I saw. I was then invited here in the middle of June and I met Ian Cathro and Craig Levein. They were both saying good things about the club and the fans. They sold it to me, really. It was a no-brainer for me.

“I don’t know who suggested the move first, whether it was Hearts or Man City. I just got the call from my agent about the interest from Hearts and it just went from there.”

He is hoping the experience in Edinburgh is as fulfilling as his year across the North Sea.

“I came here for competitive football. Getting out of the EDS [Elite Development Squad] was a good move for me. I thought I needed to play some competitive football and get some game time.

“Where I was playing in Holland was very demanding and I think the Hearts fans are demanding. The whole club is demanding because they all want to win every week.

“It was beneficial for me to go out on loan to Holland for that reason. I went there to test myself and take on a challenge. It was my first loan, I was moving away from my family so it was a time for me to mature and develop my game. I felt it was a good step for me.”

The gamble certainly paid off and ended successfully with a promotion party which Smith-Brown will take with him to the grave – regardless of what else he might achieve in his career as a footballer.

“We got promoted through the play-off so we went through a difficult stage. It was even harder than winning the league but it made the whole season even more beneficial for me. I’ve taken that experience with me and I want to keep the momentum going.

“The night we got promoted, we went back to the stadium and there were 30,000 people waiting for us. It was brilliant to see that. The next day, we were in the city centre and the whole street was filled. It was something I’ll never forget.

“The whole feeling of getting promoted over there and seeing the fans react like that was amazing.”

Winning a trophy in Scotland would prompt a similar public frenzy from the Hearts faithful. They cherish silverware just as much as powerful left-footed Czechs, diminutive strikers who like to destroy Hibs, and, pertinently, classy left-sided full-backs.

“I’m a very attacking full-back. I like to get on the ball and I’m quite technical,” said Smith-Brown when asked to describe himself. “I like to put myself about a bit as well. I don’t mind a bit of that, I don’t mind a challenge. I’ll just give everything for Hearts every week.”

His start may be in humble surroundings at one of Scotland’s northern outposts, but he has ambitions to grace the highest platform of the game in this country. A positive start in the Betfred League Cup could be the first step.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4506342.1500308772!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4506342.1500308772!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ashley Smith-Brown will make his competitive bow for Hearts in Elgin tonight","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ashley Smith-Brown will make his competitive bow for Hearts in Elgin tonight","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4506342.1500308772!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-in-50-objects-no-30-the-scottish-cup-1-4506145","id":"1.4506145","articleHeadline": "Hearts in 50 objects: No.30 - The Scottish Cup","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500355809000 ,"articleLead": "

Perhaps the trophy which is held dearest by Hearts supporters, the Scottish Cup reserves a special place at Tynecastle. Eight times the Edinburgh club have lifted the famous silverware since first winning it way back in 1891.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4506143.1500296704!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts have won the Scottish Cup eight times. Pic: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Further victories in 1896, 1901, 1906 and 1956 were memorable, but it is the modern era which has seen the Scottish Cup become a favourite tournament amongst supporters.

Hearts ended a 36-year wait for silverware when they beat Rangers 2-1 in the 1998 Scottish Cup final. Against all the odds at Celtic Park, goals by Colin Cameron and Stephane Adam took the trophy back east on an afternoon never to be forgotten by those who witnessed it.

Eight years later, they triumphed again. This time it was against much lower-profile opponents as tiny Gretna were eventually beaten after a penalty shootout at Hampden.

The teams were tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra-time and it came down to nerve during the spot-kicks. After all the tension, Derek Townsley and Gavin Skelton’s failure to convert gave Hearts their first trophy under the stewardship of their Russian owner Vladimir Romanov.

The most famous Scottish Cup victory of all for the club came in 2012, when they beat Edinburgh rivals Hibs 5-1 in the final at Hampden. Not since 1896 had the Capital clubs met in a Scottish Cup final – Hearts won that one 3-1 at Logie Green in Edinburgh – and the hype surrounding the rematch reached fever-pitch.

The maroon side of the city enjoyed a relatively comfortable win in the end with goals from Darren Barr, Danny Grainger, Ryan McGowan and two strikes from the much-loved Czech midfielder Rudi Skacel.

It is regarded as the biggest Edinburgh derby of all time and the result is one which Hearts fans continue to use as bait towards Hibs supporters.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4506143.1500296704!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4506143.1500296704!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts have won the Scottish Cup eight times. Pic: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts have won the Scottish Cup eight times. Pic: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4506143.1500296704!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4506144.1500296706!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4506144.1500296706!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": ".","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": ".","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4506144.1500296706!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-in-50-objects-no-29-world-war-i-plaque-1-4503230","id":"1.4503230","articleHeadline": "Hearts in 50 objects: No.29 – World War I plaque","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500269422000 ,"articleLead": "

This plaque adorned the outer wall of Tynecastle’s old main stand and will also be given a prominent position in the new structure. It is in honour of the Hearts players and staff who enlisted for duty in World War I, some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice and never came home.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4503228.1499955820!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The plaque that marks the World War I heroes"} ,"articleBody": "

The plaque was unveiled in 2013 to offer a constant reminder of those sacrifices. Hearts had a strong, vibrant young side in 1914 and had stormed to the top of the Scottish league when their playing staff left to go to war. They formed what became known as McCrae’s Battalion, or the Footballers’ Battalion.

Hearts had won their first eight games of the season and were looking unstoppable when their players departed. With their team decimated inside a few days, they could not sustain the challenge and Celtic eventually took the title.

Thirteen players from the greatest team in Hearts’ history enlisted for duty in the Great War and seven did not come home. The iconic team photograph taken outside Tynecastle on November 25, 1914, was transformed into this impressive plaque.

Harry Wattie, Duncan Currie, Ernie Ellis, Jimmy Speedie, Jimmy Body, Tom Gracie and John Allan all perished. Paddy Crossan and Robert Mercer eventually suffered wartime gassing, while Alfie Briggs was crippled in action and unable to play football again. All of them enlisted for duty as Hearts players.

Their memory lives on at Tynecastle and Hearts’ memorial service each year at Haymarket is a poignant reminder of their selflessness. This plaque at the stadium will do likewise into the future as Hearts endeavour to remember their players and others who gave their lives for their country.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4503228.1499955820!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4503228.1499955820!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The plaque that marks the World War I heroes","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The plaque that marks the World War I heroes","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4503228.1499955820!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4503229.1499955823!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4503229.1499955823!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": ".","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": ".","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4503229.1499955823!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/gary-mackay-summer-has-restored-positive-vibes-at-hearts-1-4505329","id":"1.4505329","articleHeadline": "Gary Mackay: Summer has restored positive vibes at Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500269406000 ,"articleLead": "

Things are looking far more positive for Hearts now than when I wrote my last column two months ago after an encouraging period of close-season transfer activity.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4505328.1500209591!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Keeping Jamie Walker, centre, is vital for Hearts. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

There’s no doubt we’ve changed tact in terms of the make-up of the squad, with an emphasis on recruiting tried-and-tested players who have a bit of familiarity with the management. I think the supporters have definitely been uplifted by our recruitment drive thus far.

Kyle Lafferty is the signing everybody is getting excited about, and he certainly comes with good pedigree, but it is impossible to say for sure at this stage which of the new faces will have the biggest impact. For all we know just now, Cole Stockton could end up emerging as our best signing of the summer. It just depends who adapts best to the demands of playing for Hearts, but the main thing is that we have recruited players who look from the outset like they are better equipped for the demands of Scottish football than the batch we signed in January.

For all the excitement about the new players, I think keeping hold of Jamie Walker beyond this transfer window would be just as significant as any signing we make. Retaining Jamie is a no-brainer for me because he’s the most effective creative player we have. If his head’s right he could have a massive influence this season with the solid base he has behind him.

I’d like to see a bit more quality in central midfield, but we’ve still got Arnaud Djoum to come back in, which will strengthen us, while the recruitment of an experienced goalkeeper would do likewise

The way things are shaping up, I would be hugely disappointed if we weren’t pushing to get back into Europe next season. We’ve assembled a strong nucleus of seasoned professionals, and we also have quite a few promising young players on the fringes, and we look like we have a team, on paper at least, that will be far more competitive than the side that performed so meekly over the last five months of last season. Ultimately, however, it all boils down to what happens on the pitch, and in that regard it’s important we get off to a winning start away to Elgin tomorrow. With four away games to kick off our league campaign, it would be great for morale if we could win both our away games in the Betfred Cup before that.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4505328.1500209591!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4505328.1500209591!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Keeping Jamie Walker, centre, is vital for Hearts. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Keeping Jamie Walker, centre, is vital for Hearts. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4505328.1500209591!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/newcastle-test-was-perfect-prep-for-hearts-says-aaron-hughes-1-4505361","id":"1.4505361","articleHeadline": "Newcastle test was perfect prep for Hearts, says Aaron Hughes","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500269404000 ,"articleLead": "

Aaron Hughes believes the tough test Hearts were given against Newcastle United on Friday has helped develop their “competitive mindset” in preparation for their season-opening match away to Elgin City in the Betfred Cup.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4505360.1500216803!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts defender Aaron Hughes tries to keep Newcastle's Rolando Aarons in check. Pic: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Ian Cathro’s side stood up well to their English Premier League visitors as they lost 2-1 at Tynecastle in their fourth and final friendly of the summer. The Hearts players make the long trek to Moray this afternoon ahead of tomorrow’s match against a League Two side crushed 6-0 by 
Dunfermline in their opener on Saturday.

After four weeks of pre-season, Hughes insists they are heading north in focused mood and good condition. “Friday’s game helped get us into the competitive mindset and takes us nicely into the Elgin game,” the defender told the Evening News. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you’ve got to be in the right mindset. We can’t be complacent and think it’ll be easy just because they’re in League Two. The work that we’ve done over the last few weeks has been geared towards this game. We’ve never spoken about the level of opposition – it’s all been about preparing for our first competitive game and making sure we’re ready. We’ll be as ready and prepared for this game as we would be for starting the season against Celtic.”

Hughes explained that the visit of his old team to Tynecastle helped sharpen Hearts up significantly, with Newcastle flying out the traps in their first friendly of the summer. “The first ten or 15 minutes weren’t particularly enjoyable because Newcastle started very well and made it difficult for us,” said Hughes. “But that’s the type of test we needed going into the competitive games because it helps highlight a few little areas we needed to have a look at and tighten up. We had to make a few adjustments and after that, I thought we settled down, used the ball really well and created some really good chances. But for their goalkeeper making a couple of great saves, we could have had a few more goals. We coped well with a lot of things.

“Even though it was only a friendly, it bodes well that we managed to respond positively to a difficult start, especially against that level of opposition. The way Newcastle started set the tempo for the game and we then had to match that. We talked about doing that before the game anyway, in terms of approaching it like a competitive game, so it was a really good run-out for us.

“We wanted to make it as competitive as possible and get in the right mindset going forward. Newcastle are of a standard that, regardless of it being their first friendly, they’re always going to be quality opposition.”

Hearts begin their Premiership campaign away to a Celtic a fortnight on Saturday, and Hughes feels the players are coming to the boil nicely. “You can sense the intensity increasing in training all the time,” said the defender. “The manager sets the standard in training and there’s no dropping below that – you have to be on the ball day in, day out. Even in shorter sessions, the intensity is always there. If you train that way consistently throughout the season, you’re going to see that getting taken on to the pitch in matches. In Ireland and in the week leading up to the Newcastle game, we’ve been trying to train at a standard that will allow us to hit the ground running in the competitive games.”

Hearts – who welcome Arnaud Djoum back to training today after international duty – have spent pre-season working on a 3-4-3 formation, and Hughes believes they are adapting well. “When you come up against quality opposition like Newcastle, you learn that you still have little things that need to be looked at and worked out,” he said. “A team like that will find the gaps in your team and your formation. But we’ve taken well to the 3-4-3, and we’re definitely improving with each game. It’s something that, as the weeks go on, we’ll get more and more comfortable with and I think it’s a formation that will stand us in good stead. As you saw against Newcastle, with this formation, it’s easy to switch back to a four at times. We’re comfortable in the three, although we’ve obviously still got little things to work on.”

Hughes has been playing on the right side of a three-man defence, with fellow veteran Christophe Berra on the left. Krystian Nowak has been deployed in the middle, occasionally stepping into midfield when Hearts have possession. Despite being 37, the Northern Irishman has no issue with being tasked with dashing out to the right to provide cover when required. “When you’re playing right of a three, it doesn’t feel like you’re going out as far when you have to cover for the right wing-back,” Hughes explained. “It’s different when you’re playing on the right of a two-man central defence because then you find yourself having to tear all the way out to the right-back area at times, so that’s a lot further to go. But if you’re right of a three, you’re already half-way over there and you have the extra cover of having the middle centre-back, so it feels a lot more natural.

“I think we feel a lot more secure as a unit now with Christophe over on the left. He’s got a lot of experience and he’s been a really good signing for us. Being solid and knowing how to cope in certain situations, he’s going to bring a lot to the team.”

Hughes’ arrival at Hearts in January coincided with a difficult finish to last term as a batch of mid-season signings failed to gel. The defender is adamant that this summer’s recruitment drive will prove more fruitful. “I think we’re in a stronger place than we were last season,” he said. “We’ve made some good signings – not just for their footballing ability, but for the character they’ve brought into the team as well. Being away in Ireland was a good chance for everyone to get together and the dressing-room has gelled really well really quickly.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4505360.1500216803!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4505360.1500216803!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts defender Aaron Hughes tries to keep Newcastle's Rolando Aarons in check. Pic: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts defender Aaron Hughes tries to keep Newcastle's Rolando Aarons in check. Pic: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4505360.1500216803!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/maroon-memories-pinilla-lights-up-pittodrie-then-sees-red-1-4502380","id":"1.4502380","articleHeadline": "Maroon Memories: Pinilla lights up Pittodrie – then sees red","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500096630000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts maintained second place in the SPL with a convincing victory over Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4502379.1499892799!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mauricio Pinilla scores for Hearts at Pittodrie"} ,"articleBody": "

The home team were rightly disappointed to have emerged from the game with nothing after playing some exquisite passing football in the first half and competing well throughout, but in the end they were undone by opponents who had a superior goalkeeper and goalscorers. Despite dominating the first half, the Dons were much more on the back foot.

It was a simple move that led to the opener, in direct contrast to the multi-pass movements with which Aberdeen had tried to unpick their opponents. On 64 minutes, Paul Hartley drifted a free-kick to the back post, and from four yards out Christophe Berra headed in.

Hearts substitute Deividas Cesnauskis made an instant impact to put his side two up with 14 minutes left. The winger won possession in midfield, flicking the ball over ex-Jambo Scott Severin to Saulius Mikoliunas. Advancing into the box, Mikoliunas crossed low for Roman Bednar, who rolled it back with the sole of his foot to Maurico Pinilla. The Chilean took it first time, leaving Jamie Langfield no chance.

Pinilla made another positive contribution five minutes later, putting Mikoliunas through on goal. The Lithuanian finished confidently with a low shot.

Substitute Dyron Daal scored the Dons’ consolation goal in the 82nd minute. Two minutes later, Pinilla saw red for a second booking.

Hearts: Gordon, Tall, Wallace, Pressley, Zaliukas, Berra, Mikoliunas, Hartley, Bednar, Pinilla, McCann.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Aberdeen 1, Hearts 3. September 24, 2006"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4502379.1499892799!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4502379.1499892799!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mauricio Pinilla scores for Hearts at Pittodrie","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mauricio Pinilla scores for Hearts at Pittodrie","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4502379.1499892799!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-in-50-objects-no-28-the-bridge-destroyed-by-war-1-4504550","id":"1.4504550","articleHeadline": "Hearts in 50 objects: No.28 – The bridge destroyed by war","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500096607000 ,"articleLead": "

The Stari Most is very much the jewel in the crown of Mostar, the city in southern Bosnia-Herzegovina where Hearts have enjoyed two European successes.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4504549.1500050291!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The 3D cast of the original bridge given to Hearts"} ,"articleBody": "

This 3D impression of the famous bridge across the River Neretva will be recognised by fans who visited Mostar to see the Tynecastle side face Velez Mostar in 1988 and Siroki Brijeg in 2006.

Mostar became a symbol of the Bosnian War, which raged from 1992 to 1995. The city was the hardest hit and most bombed during the conflict. Neighbourhood fought neighbourhood and snipers fired from building to building as Bosnian Muslims and Croats clashed.

On November 9, 1993, the original Mostar Bridge was destroyed by Croat forces. It had stood for 427 years and its demise caused genuine upset throughout the region. Subsequently, a project began to reconstruct and the new bridge opened on July 23, 2004.

This 3D cast of the original was given to Hearts by Velez Mostar when the teams met in the 1988 UEFA Cup third round. Leading 3-0 from the first leg in Edinburgh, Hearts suffered a 2-1 defeat in the Gradski Stadium but left the old Yugoslavia with a place in the quarter-finals secured.

Eamonn Bannon, Mike Galloway and John Colquhoun were the goalscorers in the first leg, with Galloway scoring an impressive away goal to ensure Velez had no way back into the tie.

Hearts returned to Mostar 18 years later for a Champions League qualifying tie with Siroki. The Edinburgh club based themselves in the city and travelled 40 minutes west to Siroki Brijeg.

Again they arrived in Bosnia defending a 3-0 lead – this time thanks to goals from Ibrahim Tall, Roman Bednar and an own goal by Branimir Anic. A 0-0 draw at the Pecara Stadium was enough to seal passage to face AEK Athens in the next round.

The Mostar Bridge remains a top tourist attraction in the Balkan region with part of the attraction for tourists the chance to see locals jump off the bridge and dive a full 24 metres into the Neretva.

• See more great items from Hearts’ history at the club’s museum. For opening times, go to www.heartsfc.co.uk/pages/museum

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4504549.1500050291!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4504549.1500050291!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The 3D cast of the original bridge given to Hearts","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The 3D cast of the original bridge given to Hearts","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4504549.1500050291!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}