{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"hearts","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/hearts-legend-john-robertson-rushed-to-hospital-after-tynecastle-fall-1-4264283","id":"1.4264283","articleHeadline": "Hearts legend John Robertson rushed to hospital after Tynecastle fall","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1477042865000 ,"articleLead": "

HEARTS hero John Robertson was rushed to hospital today after taking a serious fall at Tynecastle.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4264282.1476994708!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Robertson was rushed to hospital following a horror fall. Picture: Ian Georgeson"} ,"articleBody": "

Robertson, 52, the Jambos’ record goalscorer with 271 goals, fell down a flight of stairs at the stadium and was left in agony.

He was receiving treatment for broken ribs at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary.

Witnesses at the scene said the fans’ favourite had to be given morphine due to the pain.

A spokesman for Hearts confirmed that Robertson “was injured as a result of a fall”.

They said: “He was taken by ambulance to the Royal Infirmary where he remains for treatment.

“We can also confirm that his condition is not life threatening and we will release more information once the full extent of his injuries are known.”

Robertson spent almost his entire playing career at Tynecastle and also managed the club from 2004-2005.

Hearts have released an image of Robertson giving the thumbs up on his hospital bed with the caption stating that Robertson is “on the mend”


" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4264282.1476994708!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4264282.1476994708!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Robertson was rushed to hospital following a horror fall. Picture: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Robertson was rushed to hospital following a horror fall. Picture: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4264282.1476994708!/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-coach-jon-daly-in-rallying-call-to-supporters-1-4264229","id":"1.4264229","articleHeadline": "Hearts coach Jon Daly in rallying call to supporters","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1477027812000 ,"articleLead": "

Jon Daly hopes a sizeable Hearts support turn out at Tynecastle as his under-20 side kick off their bid to make it to another SFA Youth Cup final this weekend.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4264228.1476989628!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jon Daly is hoping to reach another Youth Cup final"} ,"articleBody": "

The young Jambos, who were defeated by Motherwell at Hampden in last season’s showpiece, host Annan Athletic in the third round on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 1pm).

Hearts usually play their SPFL Development League matches at Ochilview, so the chance to play at Tynecastle represents a novel experience for Daly’s players.

With no first-team match this weekend, the coach has urged supporters to turn out and make the match as memorable as possible for his youngsters.

“It would be great to go on another run,” said Daly. “It will be more difficult this year because the team’s a bit younger but we’re happy to have a home tie. It’ll be exciting for the boys to play at Tynecastle. A lot of the boys weren’t here last year so this will be their first experience of it. We had a decent crowd when we played Dundee United there last year, so it would be great for the lads if they can get a good crowd and bit of atmosphere because it’s a great stadium to play in.”

Hearts will be without highly-regarded 17-year-old centre-back Daniel Baur, who was recently dealt a hammer blow with the news that he could miss the remainder of the season after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage.

Dario Zanatta and Dale Baxter are also unavailable as they are currently on emergency loans at Queen’s Park and Selkirk respectively.

Russell McLean, Ali Roy and Callumn Morrison are all eligible to feature under the terms of their development loans with Civil Service Strollers, Stenhousemuir and Stirling Albion respectively.

“Those three will be available for selection provided they don’t play too many minutes for their loan clubs [tomorrow],” said Daly. “It’s a big ask for them to play on Saturday and then again on Sunday, so it may be that we have to bring in some Under-17s to bolster the squad.”

The main stand will be open on Sunday, with admission costing £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.

Meanwhile, Hearts’ festive fixture at home to Kilmarnock on Tuesday, December 27 has had its kick-off confirmed as 7.45pm.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4264228.1476989628!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4264228.1476989628!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jon Daly is hoping to reach another Youth Cup final","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jon Daly is hoping to reach another Youth Cup final","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4264228.1476989628!/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/andy-kirk-loving-role-preparing-hearts-stars-of-future-1-4264147","id":"1.4264147","articleHeadline": "Andy Kirk loving role preparing Hearts stars of future","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1477027855000 ,"articleLead": "

Andy Kirk first joined Hearts in February 1999 as a hungry 19-year-old looking to make his way in the game. Now, in his second spell at the club, the Ulsterman’s working day revolves around preparing aspiring footballers of a similar age for a long-term career in the game.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4264145.1476981386!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Kirk, left, is head coach of Hearts Under-17s but also assists Under-20s coach Jon Daly, right"} ,"articleBody": "

Kirk, who enjoyed five and a half fruitful years at Tynecastle after Jim Jefferies bought him from Glentoran, is revelling in his role as head coach of Hearts’ under-17s. In addition to taking charge of this age-group since predecessor Liam Fox left for Cowdenbeath in the summer, the 37-year-old has been assisting under-20s coach Jon Daly and also mucking in to help prepare the first-team on a match-day.

The chance to work closely with Craig Levein, his old Hearts manager, and Robbie Neilson, his former team-mate, has been a thrill for Kirk, who had been busy cutting his coaching teeth in the SFA performance schools and the Rangers academy since playing his last senior match for Alloa Athletic two-and-a-half years ago.

“I got a phone call from Roger Arnott, who I knew from years ago, and I had a chat with him and Craig just before Christmas [last year] about where the academy’s going and where they saw me fitting in, and I thought it was a great opportunity,” Kirk told the Evening News. “Eventually, I want to go into management and I felt it would be good to come here and learn. I first came into the academy in February on a part-time role with the under-15s and then went full-time in the summer after Foxy left for Cowdenbeath.

“I also help Jon with the 20s and I’m involved with the first team on match-days, which is great. Jon and me help Stevie Crawford with the warm-up before the game. Once the game starts, we’ll be up in the stand watching the game or helping out around the dugout in case the boys need anything. Just to be exposed to all that, to see how it all works and get ideas and experience, is great. It’s brilliant just to watch some of the first-team training sessions now and again and to be able to pick the brains of guys like Robbie, Stevie, Jon and Craig. I had a gut feeling that this was the right place for me and it’s turned out to be a great decision for me so far.”

Kirk was entitled to trust his instincts. After all, this gut feeling he speaks of first persuaded him to leave Belfast and sign for Hearts as a teenager.

“I had a great five-and-a-half years here and a great rapport with the fans,” said Kirk, who went on to play for Boston, Yeovil, Northampton and Dunfermline. “It was the right club for me to join after leaving Glentoran. There were a few clubs in for me at that time – some from down south – but, as soon as I heard Hearts had put a bid in for me, it felt right to come here. I settled quite quickly and it was a good club to play for. I probably had the best times of my career here. We had a good squad and we qualified for Europe quite a few times.”

After a raft of substitute outings interspersed with playing for the club’s under-21 team in his first year and a half in Edinburgh, Kirk pinpoints his third first-team start – a 3-2 win at home to Stuttgart in the UEFA Cup in September 2000 towards the end of Jefferies’ reign – as the catalyst for his Hearts career.

“The Stuttgart game really sticks out for me,” said Kirk. “I was a young boy who had just broken into the team and the atmosphere was unreal. The weekend after that I scored my first goal against Motherwell and it snowballed from there. Gordon Durie was actually a big influence on me at that point. On the day I scored my first goal, he made his debut and scored two. I played a number of games up front with him after that and he really sticks out as being someone who helped me settle. He was at the opposite end of his career at that stage and he helped me through the game and took the pressure off me.”

Kirk, a fox-in-the-box striker, enjoyed some of the best form of his career under Craig Levein, who replaced Jefferies as manager in November 2000.

“I had a lot of respect for Craig and how demanding how he was and his influence stuck with me throughout my career,” said Kirk. “I’d always wanted to go into coaching, so I made a point of trying to remember what I learnt from my managers and Craig was one who had a big influence on me. The best parts of my career mainly came under him.”

Many of Kirk’s 32 goals for Hearts came from an effective partnership with Mark de Vries, the bustling Dutchman whose arrival coincided with back-to-back third-place finishes in 2003 and 2004.

“I played up with Durie, Gary McSwegan and Stephane Adam, but De Vries was probably my most regular partner here,” said Kirk. “We had a good relationship on and off the pitch. The strongest point of my game was running in behind and trying to get into the box. Mark wasn’t the most mobile but he was a big boy who could hold the ball up and win flick-ons, so we complemented each other nicely.”

Another of Kirk’s team-mates at Hearts in the early noughties was Neilson.

“At that stage I couldn’t have imagined Robbie being a manager because you don’t know what path anyone’s going to take but I’m not surprised he’s done well because he was always a hard-working player,” he said. “Since I’ve come in here, I’ve seen just how hard he works and how much detail he puts into planning and training. I want to go down a similar route to Robbie, so it’s great to pick up on what he’s doing. It’s a credit to him that he’s doing so well – the work that he’s putting in is phenomenal.”

This work ethic has underpinned a strong resurgence from Hearts on and off the pitch in the wake of administration two-and-a-half years ago. It is well documented that the academy had been neglected as financial ruin took hold at the club. Kirk, however, reports that it is now in good health.

“The academy is in very good shape and it’s only going to get better,” he said. “We’ve got some great young talent here who we hope can go up the ladder and into the first team. There are quite a few between the under-17s and 20s who I’m excited about.”

Kirk’s excitement is justified given that four of his under-17 players – Chris Hamilton, Marc Leonard, Harry Cochrane and Anthony McDonald – were this week called into the 19-strong Scotland squad for the upcoming Victory Shield tournament at Oriam. “It’s great recognition for the club,” he said. “They’re not just involved in the squad – I think they’ll be big players for Scotland.”

In the meantime, Kirk’s attention turns to helping Daly’s Under-20s, who reached last year’s final, find a way past Annan in Sunday’s Youth Cup third-round match at Tynecastle (kick-off 1pm). “For a club this size and the players we’ve got, we need to be aiming to get to finals,” he said. “Some of them had a taste of it last year, playing at Hampden and, whatever age-group it is, it whets your appetite to play in more big games. Playing at Tynecastle is a big thing as well for young players. Before I broke into the Hearts first team, I played against Hibs in the under-21 league. It was a title decider and there were about 6000 people there and I scored four. It helped bring me to prominence because fans started to say ‘who’s this guy?’”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4264145.1476981386!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4264145.1476981386!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andy Kirk, left, is head coach of Hearts Under-17s but also assists Under-20s coach Jon Daly, right","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Kirk, left, is head coach of Hearts Under-17s but also assists Under-20s coach Jon Daly, right","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4264145.1476981386!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4264146.1476981389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4264146.1476981389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kirk was a regular on the scoresheet during his spell at Tynecastle","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kirk was a regular on the scoresheet during his spell at Tynecastle","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4264146.1476981389!/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/ann-budge-fans-can-bring-even-more-success-to-hearts-1-4263162","id":"1.4263162","articleHeadline": "Ann Budge: Fans can bring even more success to Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476941440000 ,"articleLead": "

Ann Budge admits Hearts fans are responsible for Tynecastle’s new stand becoming a reality – and urged them to continue backing their team in every way.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4263161.1476898981!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts owner Ann Budge"} ,"articleBody": "

The club owner today explained why it’s vital supporters continue pledging to Foundation of Hearts, buying merchandise and attending matches in their thousands.

City of Edinburgh Council last week approved planning permission for Hearts’ new £12million main stand, and Budge stressed that supporters will be the main beneficiaries.

“It does matter, we absolutely have to keep their support because they’re the ones that spend money at the club,” she said.

“They’re the ones that will help us benefit from the additional facilities that we’re going to have, by using them. It’s crucial.

“We have a commitment from the Foundation of Hearts pledgers, it’s crucial that that commitment is realised and I’ve no reason to think for a minute that it won’t be.

“It’s equally crucial that the supporters continue to buy the strips, come to hospitality, buy their season tickets – all of these things.

“All of these things together have allowed us to be successful so far and will allow us to continue to be successful.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4263161.1476898981!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4263161.1476898981!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts owner Ann Budge","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts owner Ann Budge","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4263161.1476898981!/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/john-colquhoun-i-m-humbled-to-be-in-hearts-hall-of-fame-1-4263032","id":"1.4263032","articleHeadline": "John Colquhoun: I’m humbled to be in Hearts’ hall of fame","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476941433000 ,"articleLead": "

John Colquhoun is a beacon of pride as he reflects on his recent induction to Hearts’ hall of fame.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4263031.1476889190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "HYDC chairman Calum Robertson welcomes John Colquhoun into the Hearts Hall of Fame"} ,"articleBody": "

The 53-year-old was a fans’ favourite as he scored 82 goals in 424 competitive appearances during two spells at Tynecastle in the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, with no notable honours to his credit, he didn’t anticipate entering a pantheon of some of the most decorated names in Hearts’ history, like Dave Mackay, Alex Young and Willie Bauld.

The diminutive winger’s unflinching tenacity and commitment to the cause down the Jambos’ right flank didn’t go unappreciated, however, and he was honoured to be among Hearts’ fourth batch of hall of fame inductees, confirmed at a dinner in the Gorgie Suite earlier this month. “It was a great moment to be invited into the hall of fame and the night itself was terrific and really well done by Hearts,” Colquhoun told the Evening News. “I got wind of it about three weeks before the event when Craig Levein phoned and told me. I was delighted and humbled that I was deemed worthy enough to join the great names who were already in it. It was predominantly the Hearts fans that drove me getting into the hall fame, so that makes me especially proud. The fact I was originally a Celtic man makes it all the more special that the Hearts fans me to their hearts.

“I wasn’t the best or most skilful player in the team at the time but I think they saw a little bit of themselves in the way I played because I always gave my absolute all in every single game, in the same way that they would have done if they had been lucky enough to wear the maroon jersey.

“I knew I had a good rapport with the supporters but I didn’t expect to end up in the hall of fame. I didn’t win anything with Hearts and there have been a lot of players who have won something at the club, even since I was there. You look at the great players who were already in it, and even other guys who were inducted on the night, like Barney Battles and Gordon Marshall, who had won several medals by the time he was 20 and was a real club legend. As a non-Hearts supporter when I went there, I hadn’t heard of some of these guys, but once you’re there and get involved in the history of the club, you get to know what they did and what they mean to the club. To be sitting alongside them truly is an amazing honour for me.”

Colquhoun arrived at Hearts from Celtic in 1985 and, after leaving for Millwall in a £400,000 transfer in 1991, he returned to Tynecastle two years later, and remained until 1997. He is remembered most notably as a member of the side that almost won the league under Alex MacDonald and Sandy Jardine in 1986. “Being at Hearts was a great period in my life,” he said. “There wasn’t a specific highlight for me at Hearts. The main thing for me was the actual feeling of the club, which I think is very difficult to recreate in the modern day because of the way society is set up now. At that time, there genuinely was a feeling that we were all in it together, right from Mary the tea lady to the supporters. We used to go out to all the supporters events, not because we were on a rota to do it but because we genuinely wanted to do it. There was a closeness between everybody that I don’t think is possible to generate now. I actually invited Pilmar Smith, who was the vice-chairman, along to the hall of fame dinner. I don’t think there will be many clubs where players are still friendly with the vice-chairman of a club 30 years down the line.

“We were quite a young group of players when I first went there. We had Kenny Black, Neil Berry, John Robertson, Gary Mackay, Brian Whittaker and Wayne Foster, who were all there in my first season. Alex was an amazing man-manager, who got us together as a group and made it a really special time. We were all in it together.

“It was great to see so many familiar faces at the hall of fame, like Wallace Mercer’s widow and son, and George McNeill, the speaker, who was the masseur and the sprint coach when I played.”

Colquhoun was thrilled to be joined in the hall of fame by MacDonald and Jardine, the men who led Hearts to the brink of league title glory 30 years ago. MacDonald, upon being inducted, was unable to contain his emotions as he spoke publicly for the first time about his great friend, who passed away two and a half years ago.

“It was a poignant moment when Alex broke down speaking about Sandy,” said Colquhoun. “I knew he was very close to Sandy. They were a bacon and eggs combination. Sandy was good at the things Alex wasn’t so good at, and vice-versa. They were a perfect partnership. They were always together but they weren’t two peas in a pod because they had differences, and that’s what made them so strong. It was obvious even back then that they had a special bond. Seeing Alex break down was the most emotional part of the hall of fame evening – it got me thinking about both Sandy and Brian Whittaker, who is also no longer with us.

“It was great to see Alex on the night because I hadn’t seen him for a while. I didn’t get a chance to thank him for what he did for me because there is no question that I wouldn’t have been inducted to the hall of fame if it wasn’t for Alex. He allowed me the platform to go and perform as I did for the Hearts supporters.

“He only ever asked us to do things we could do – he knew our limitations. Basically my job was to get the ball, find some space and cross it in for Sandy Clark who would nod it down for Robbo to take all the glory. That was the reality of my life at Hearts. Alex would never ask Neil Berry to go and beat five men – his job was to win the ball back and move it on. He would never ask Gary Mackay to pick up a 6ft 4ins defender at a corner. Alex just knew what we were all good at and got us to do those things. That might sound simple, but so many 
football managers don’t do it.”

As someone who maintains close links with Hearts, Colquhoun was delighted by the news last week that the club have been given the green light to build a new main stand and remain at Tynecastle long term. Despite this, he will be sad to see one of most iconic old main stands in Scottish football consigned to history.

“Like everyone that loves Hearts, there’s a little bit of sadness tinged with real excitement,” he said. “There’s sadness because the old Archibald Leitch stand was such a big part of my every-day existence and my memories at Hearts. I hope the smell of the brewery isn’t lost because that’s synonymous with Tynecastle. Whenever I smell it, it reminds me of my days as a Hearts player. For the future progress of the club, the new stand will be amazing though. I’m really excited about it. The club is in such safe hands at the moment. I took a friend along the memorial garden the other day because he wanted to put a plaque up for his father. It really is classy and well done, and that seems to be a measure of everything that’s being done at Hearts at the moment. Everything they do is done properly, and it’s not done ten years in the future, it’s getting done now and it’s getting done well. It’s an amazing time to be a Hearts supporter.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4263031.1476889190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4263031.1476889190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "HYDC chairman Calum Robertson welcomes John Colquhoun into the Hearts Hall of Fame","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "HYDC chairman Calum Robertson welcomes John Colquhoun into the Hearts Hall of Fame","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4263031.1476889190!/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-boss-we-have-options-to-cover-loss-of-sam-nicholson-1-4261932","id":"1.4261932","articleHeadline": "Hearts boss: We have options to cover loss of Sam Nicholson","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476855050000 ,"articleLead": "

Robbie Neilson insists Hearts have enough options to cope with the loss of Sam Nicholson and does not anticipate any move to recruit a free-agent winger to provide cover.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4261931.1476805686!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sam Nicholson has been ruled out for three months following knee surgery"} ,"articleBody": "

The on-form 21-year-old is not expected to play until January at the earliest after undergoing surgery last week to fix an ongoing knee problem.

It leaves Jamie Walker, who has been afflicted by tendinitis recently, as the only established winger available for selection. Hearts are not thought to have an option to recall Billy King from his season-long loan with Inverness, but striker Robbie Muirhead made a big impact when he came off the bench to play wide left in Saturday’s win over Dundee, while teenage attacker Dario Zanatta, whose one-month emergency loan at Queen’s Park is due to expire ahead of next Wednesday’s trip to Kilmarnock, can also play as a winger. In addition, out-of-favour left-back Juwon Oshaniwa is viewed as an option for a more advanced role.

Neilson had spoken earlier in the season of a desire to recruit another winger, but he explained that a dearth of suitable options means Hearts are unlikely to get one on board, even in light of Nicholson’s injury.

“There aren’t many free-agent wingers about,” the head coach told the Evening News. “We’ve been looking but at this period, there’s not really a lot out there. We’ll see where we are in January but we’re expecting Nicholson back in January anyway. I’m more than happy with what I’ve got. We’ve got good enough quality to cover us. We can look at the situation with Zanatta and I’ve also got Oshaniwa, who I can use there.”

Neilson paid tribute to Muirhead for his impact on Saturday, but is reluctant to view the powerful 20-year-old, who is predominantly a centre-forward, as a ready-made replacement for Nicholson. “We put Muirhead out on the left on Saturday, which is not his preferred position but we know he can play there,” said Neilson. “Sam’s injury has given him an opportunity to come in and play although he won’t necessarily be used out wide all the time. He’s predominantly a striker and, although we put him wide, we knew we had the option to put him through the middle if we wanted to flip it to 4-4-2. As well as playing up front, he can play left, right or as a No.10. For a young kid, he’s got quality.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4261931.1476805686!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4261931.1476805686!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sam Nicholson has been ruled out for three months following knee surgery","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sam Nicholson has been ruled out for three months following knee surgery","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4261931.1476805686!/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-cup-hero-danny-grainger-well-and-truly-over-blues-1-4261838","id":"1.4261838","articleHeadline": "Hearts cup hero Danny Grainger well and truly over Blues","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476855006000 ,"articleLead": "

As captain, centurion and goal machine with one of the only two unbeaten teams in England this season, Hearts hero Danny Grainger is enjoying an unlikely flourish at the business end of his career.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4261836.1476883942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Grainger is now captain at Carlisle under manager Keith Curle. Pic: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Indeed, the 30-year-old’s endlessly fulfilling two-and-a-bit-year stint with local club Carlisle United would probably never have been able to happen if it wasn’t for a pep talk from Jim Jefferies which convinced him not to hang up his boots almost three years ago.

Grainger was at a low ebb towards the end of 2013 after almost 18 months of adversity. He had been devastated to leave administration-hit Hearts that summer after being sidelined for most of his last season at Tynecastle by anterior cruciate ligament damage – the worst injury of his career – and his attempted resurgence at St Mirren wasn’t going to plan as he struggled to regain form and fitness under Danny 
Lennon and Tommy Craig.

Grainger, who had hitherto spent his entire career in Scotland, felt his career was dying a death and had, by the age of 27, prepared himself for retirement until Jefferies, the manager who took him from St Johnstone to Hearts in 2011, intervened in January 2014 and persuaded him to join him at Dunfermline Athletic, then battling to get out of League One.

“While I was at St Mirren, I was on the verge of chucking it all and coming back home and getting back to a normal life,” Grainger told the Evening News. “I was going through the worst period of my career. I’d done my knee and I wasn’t enjoying my football at St Mirren. That was nothing to do with the club – my injury wasn’t right, I had a fallout with the assistant manager and I wasn’t featuring enough. It felt like things were fizzling out for me and I was ready to take my family back home to 
Cumbria. I was talking about working for some of my friends’ companies and helping out on my dad’s farm.

“But I had a conversation with Jim Jefferies and he told me not to chuck the towel in just yet and to come to Dunfermline and enjoy my football with him again. I decided to give it one more crack, and I’m so happy I did. I owe a lot to him. He gave me my time at Hearts and he played a big part in stopping me chucking.”

It was that four-month stint at Dunfermline that got him back on track and allowed him the platform from which to earn a move to his local club Carlisle in June 2014. Fast forward almost two and a half years from his arrival at Brunton Park, and he has made more than 100 appearances as skipper, scored 14 goals – including three in his last three games – and played a major part in transforming his team from relegation battlers two years ago into promotion contenders at this point. Along with Tottenham, the Cumbrians are the only team in England yet to suffer a league defeat this season.

“When I was at St Mirren, I couldn’t even imagine being in the game the following year, never mind two or three years down the line,” he said. “Captaining my local team and making over 100 appearances for them didn’t seem possible when I was at St Mirren. The fact I was so close to chucking it makes you appreciate this all the more. I’m the fittest I’ve been and I’m enjoying myself so hopefully I got a few years left yet.”

The steady progress of Carlisle since Keith Curle replaced Graham Kavanagh as manager and appointed Grainger captain in September 2014, just months after he had arrived, has given him no end of satisfaction. “I’d always wanted to captain a club but to captain your local club makes it that bit extra special,” he said. “The manager gives me a lot of responsibility around the dressing room and I’m really enjoying the role. Throughout my career, I’ve got on well with most people I shared a dressing-room with so I feel like I’m quite approachable among the lads. Two years ago, when I first arrived, we were in a negative place. The club had just been relegated from League One, the manager had just been sacked, and everything seemed to be going against us.

“But we’ve picked up since then and had a gradual turnaround. The manager’s first job was to keep us in the league, then last season it was to progress us up the league and this season it’s about keeping progressing and pushing for promotion. Overall the mentality around the club has changed and the fans are really behind us, which makes a difference.”

Support for the club has been particularly detectable since last December, when the players, led by Grainger, volunteered to help those hit by the floods that devastated Carlisle. “We felt as a squad that we needed to get out and help because there were elderly people who couldn’t get stuff out their house and young couples who were struggling,” said Grainger. “It took us no time at all to decide to go and help these people move big items of furniture out of their house and things like that. We wanted to give something back to the community because these people come and support us. It was probably a turning point in terms of how we were viewed in the town. The fans started to see us in a different light because they saw we weren’t just footballers who cared about money and going straight home after training, as we are sometimes perceived. We are blessed in what we do as a job but we are genuine people at the end of the day and I think the fans started to see us in that light after the floods.”

After their kind-hearted gestures off the field, it is the Carlisle players’ on-field work that is now gaining appreciation from the local community. In 17 games in all competitions, their only defeat this season came in a penalty shootout against Championship side Derby County in the League Cup. They sit third in League Two, just four points behind leaders Plymouth Argyle. Grainger’s own goal-scoring surge has merely been the cherry on top of a fine start to the campaign.

“I’ve hit a bit of a lucky streak lately,” he said. “I take the penalties and the free-kicks and I’ve been scoring a few from open play. I scored on Saturday [in a 3-2 win at Hartlepool] from outside the box. I’m quite prominent at getting forward, similar to when I was at Hearts, although I’ve adapted my game a little bit and my performances seem to be good. I’m enjoying it.

“There’s something in the dressing-room when you’re on a run like this where you just know you’re not going to get beat. We’re going into games full of confidence but I still don’t think we’ve fully hit our stride yet. I’ll be very disappointed if we’re not in the play-offs or the automatic promotion places comes the end of the season.”

Amid pushing for promotion, Grainger intends to attend a game at Tynecastle where he retains hero status after playing – and scoring (his first of four goals for the club, incidentally) – in Hearts’ 5-1 Scottish Cup final win over Hibs in 2012. “I was up two or three times last year and I’ll be making the journey to Tynie at some point this season,” he said. “I like to get up as much as I can and catch up with old friends. We went through a lot when I was at Hearts. I had so many highs and lows there. We weren’t getting paid, it looked like things were falling apart and then we won the cup and played at Anfield [in the Europa League]. Everything went south after that because I injured my knee and the club went into administration. I sold some cup final stuff to raise money for Hearts because the club is a big part of me. I still enjoy throwing tweets out and having a bit of banter whenever Hearts do well. The Carlisle media guys say that whenever they put anything up online about me, it gets a really good response from the Hearts fans. Ann Budge, Craig Levein and Robbie Neilson have taken Hearts in the right direction and they’re back up where they should be. Sometimes fans get frustrated with results, but the club is in a really fantastic position at the moment.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4261836.1476883942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4261836.1476883942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Danny Grainger is now captain at Carlisle under manager Keith Curle. Pic: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Grainger is now captain at Carlisle under manager Keith Curle. Pic: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4261836.1476883942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4261837.1476883944!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4261837.1476883944!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Grainger strokes home his penalty in Hearts' 5-1 Scottish Cup win over Hibs - his first goal for the club. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Grainger strokes home his penalty in Hearts' 5-1 Scottish Cup win over Hibs - his first goal for the club. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4261837.1476883944!/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/matching-riyad-mahrez-gives-arnaud-djoum-confidence-at-hearts-1-4260656","id":"1.4260656","articleHeadline": "Matching Riyad Mahrez gives Arnaud Djoum confidence at Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476768614000 ,"articleLead": "

The thrill of sharing a pitch with Riyad Mahrez has given Arnaud Djoum renewed impetus in his bid to keep progressing with Hearts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4260654.1476710283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum put in a stellar performance against Dundee. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The Cameroon internationalist found himself up against the Leicester City talisman and last season’s English PFA Player of the Year during his country’s 1-1 draw away to Algeria in World Cup qualifying nine days ago.

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has spoken previously of his belief that having his players exposed to international football will only benefit them when they pull on a maroon jersey. Djoum’s recent experiences are a prime case in point.

In addition to inspiring the midfielder – a driven character anyway – to strive for new heights, his early involvement in international football has also imbued him with the belief that, if he can hold his own against the likes of Mahrez, then he should fancy himself against any opponent in Scotland.

The buoyancy of pitting himself against the best player in Africa manifested itself in a man-of-the-match performance for Hearts in their 2-0 win over Dundee on Saturday. “I’m really enjoying being an international player – it has given me such a lift,” Djoum told the Evening News. “Even playing against Dundee, I had so much confidence because I know I was playing against Mahrez the week before. That gives me a real boost.

“We played a great game against Algeria, who are the best team in Africa at the moment. I was up against Mahrez quite a lot in the game. Technically you can see he is at a very high level, – he is the best player in Africa.

“It was a nice experience to see him and play against him. Mahrez, Slimani, Brahimi, Feghouli – they are technically and physically very strong. I tried to play my normal game against them. Of course I am not at their level but I did my best and I felt I competed well against them. One day I hope to play at the same level as them.”

In becoming an internationalist, Djoum has had to sacrifice much of his rest time. He admits the demands of travelling and playing when he might otherwise have been enjoying some time to chill out with his family has been a test, both mentally and physically, but for now the exhilaration 
of playing on an elevated stage is helping him overcome 
any niggling sense of tiredness.

“Because I am an internationalist now, the gaffer gave me a rest at St Johnstone away [last month] and that helped me,” he explained. “Being an internationalist means that when the other guys have a few days off and don’t have a game I am still away travelling and playing in games, which is not easy. It is hard that you don’t get that time to rest but at least we will get a few days to rest this week because we have no game at the weekend.”

Djoum’s form, by his own admission wasn’t as strong in the early part of the current campaign, as it was last season, when he swiftly emerged as something of a midfield talisman for Hearts after arriving 13 months ago. However, the 27-year-old feels that in his last two domestic matches, which have brought victories over Motherwell and Dundee, he has been back on top form. Towards the end of Saturday’s victory at Tynecastle, Djoum’s name could briefly be heard ringing round the stadium as a magnificent piece of skill, which capped a fine performance, had them in raptures.

“I am just enjoying the moment because everything is fine for me,” he said, in light of his recent resurgence. “I just have to continue to work hard because it is not easy to stay at a high level all the time – you have to work hard. I was happy with the way I played on Saturday. I started on the right of midfield but the gaffer gives me the freedom to go everywhere. I can come inside and pick up the ball and try to create something and I thought I did well in the first half – I also had a good shot at goal. When Tony [Watt] went off, I went into the No.10 position. I think I did well in that position – I got a lot of the ball and found a lot of space. I like that position as well.”

Djoum was thrilled that his exploits helped Hearts pick up another victory – their fifth in the last seven games – to maintain their position a point behind Aberdeen in second place. At the nine-game mark last term, the Jambos were a whopping eight points behind the Dons. Neilson’s side are currently the third top scorers in the Premiership and also boast the best defensive record in the league.

Despite these impressive stats, Hearts have, in a few games, been undermined by poor finishing. Djoum is adamant his team will become an even more formidable proposition once they start capitalising on the amount of chances they create, particularly early in matches. “It was a great result after the international break and it keeps us high in the league, so everybody is happy,” said Djoum. “In the first half we had a lot of chances but didn’t score and that made the game more difficult because it gave Dundee more confidence to try and win the game as well.

“I felt like we were dominant in the first half. That has been the case in most of our games recently but we need to start scoring quicker goals to make things easier for ourselves. We dominated most of the game against Dundee, apart from the first 15 minutes of the second half. The second half was difficult and they had chances but we kept trying to play our football and create chances and finally we scored. After the first goal, we got more space which made it easier for us to play.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4260654.1476710283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4260654.1476710283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum put in a stellar performance against Dundee. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum put in a stellar performance against Dundee. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4260654.1476710283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4260655.1476710289!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4260655.1476710289!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Riyad Mahrez played for Algeria against Cameroon last week. Djoum felt that he and his Indomitable Lions counterparts kept 'the best player in Africa' largely quiet. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Riyad Mahrez played for Algeria against Cameroon last week. Djoum felt that he and his Indomitable Lions counterparts kept 'the best player in Africa' largely quiet. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4260655.1476710289!/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/i-m-getting-back-to-my-best-says-hearts-star-arnaud-djoum-1-4260863","id":"1.4260863","articleHeadline": "I’m getting back to my best, says Hearts star Arnaud Djoum","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476768600000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum feels like he’s back in business after a slow start to the campaign by his own high standards.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4260862.1476721710!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Arnaud Djoum has been in top form during Hearts' last two matches"} ,"articleBody": "

The 27-year-old established himself as the heartbeat of 
Robbie Neilson’s side last term with a string of dominant performances after arriving at Tynecastle 13 months ago following a disappointing spell with Polish side Lech Poznan.

Despite earning a maiden call-up to the Cameroon squad last month, the former Roda JC player freely admits that his displays in the opening games of the current season weren’t as strong as those which had helped earn him the 2015/16 Hearts supporters’ player of the year award as well as a contract until 2019.

However, after impressive back-to-back domestic displays in victories over Motherwell and Dundee, either side of a morale-boosting appearance for Cameroon against Algeria, Djoum believes he has now rediscovered his mojo.

“It wasn’t easy for me against Dundee because I’d done a lot of travelling with Cameroon but I thought I had a good game and continued on from Motherwell,” he told the Evening News. “I’m happy with the way I played and I will try to keep this form. I think my form has definitely improved in the last few games because I found the start of the season a bit hard.”

Djoum was unfazed by his form dip as he is philosophical enough to understand that most footballers find it impossible to hit the heights in every match they play.

“Last year, I played a lot of games but before that I had gone for a long time without playing so much,” he said. “Sometimes when you play a lot of games, you have some moments when you dip a little. In football, even big players have moments where their form goes down a little bit. You just have to continue working hard and try to play better. That’s what I did. Even when my game was not so good in the first part of the season, I kept working hard and now I feel good. I’m happy and enjoying myself.”

Meanwhile, Hearts Under-20s face Partick Thistle in an SPFL Development League match at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie at 6.00pm tonight.

It has been confirmed that Hearts’ Scottish Youth Cup third-round tie against Annan Athletic will take place at 
Tynecastle this Sunday, with a 1.00pm kick-off.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4260862.1476721710!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4260862.1476721710!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Arnaud Djoum has been in top form during Hearts' last two matches","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Arnaud Djoum has been in top form during Hearts' last two matches","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4260862.1476721710!/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-weekend-talk-todorov-scores-for-blue-brazil-grainger-is-a-goal-machine-1-4260314","id":"1.4260314","articleHeadline": "Hearts weekend talk: Todorov scores for Blue Brazil | Grainger is a goal machine","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476696380000 ,"articleLead": "

Here’s what Jambos past and present did away from Tynecastle over the weekend ...

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4260313.1476696353!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "On-loan Hearts striker Nikolai Todorov helped Cowdenbeath salvage a draw. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Super-sub Todorov saves Blue Brazil

Since scoring against Celtic Under-20s in the Irn-Bru Cup back in August, it’s been a fallow couple of months for young Hearts striker Nikolai Todorov as he gets first-team football at Cowdenbeath. However, he burst back into life on Saturday when he came off the bench after 74 minutes with the Blue Brazil 2-1 down at home to Annan Athletic, firing the Fifers level just seven minutes later. Hopefully it’s the start of move goals for the young Bulgarian.

Three in a row for Grainger

We don’t remember Danny Grainger being a prolific goalscorer. Yes, he whipped in the odd free-kick and, of course, scored that penalty back in 2012, but he wasn’t Mr Consistent in the marksman charts. Well, he’s now found the net for the third game in the row as Carlisle tightened their grip on third place in England’s League 2 with a 3-2 win over Hartlepool. Their next match is away at Stevenage next Saturday. We’ll be looking for his any-time scorer odds ...!

Oliver delivers a twist

The scoreline of the weekend just has to be Morton’s 5-0 annihilation of Queen of the South in Dumfries. Nobody saw that one coming. Just to rub salt in the wounds of the baffled Doonhamers fans, it was one of their former players and a former Jambo to boot in Gary Oliver who was among the scorers. Oliver always showed flashes of potential at Tynecastle before switching to Queens as Hearts brought in a higher calibre of striker. He then moved to Greenock and has gone through a quiet spell before his goal on Saturday.

How the loanees did

• Even though he scored in the 2-1 midweek defeat of Mallorca, Juanma had to be content with a place on the bench for UCAM Murcia’s clash with Reus Deportiu. He came on after 59 minutes, but the damage had already been done as UCAM went down 2-0.

• Gavin Reilly came on in the 73rd minute for Dunfermline, although the Pars lost 2-1 to Falkirk.

• Dario Zanatta played 67 minutes of Queen’s Park’s 1-0 win over East Fife.

• Billy King was part of the Inverness team that lost 1-0 to Rangers on Friday night.

• Ali Roy came on as a 62nd-minute substitute as Stenhousemuir lost 5-0 to Stranraer.

• Callumn Morrison was an unused substitute for Stirling Albion in their 0-0 draw with Berwick Rangers.

Other former Jambos

• Christian Nade was on the scoresheet for Stranraer in their 5-0 win over Stenhousemuir.

• Ex-coach Jack Ross took charge of St Mirren for the first time. They lost 2-0 to Dundee United.

• Ryan McGowan conceded a penalty as Henan Jianye drew 2-2 at Shanghai Shenhua. Osman Sow also played for Henan.

Click here for the latest Hearts results, fixtures and stats>>>

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4260313.1476696353!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4260313.1476696353!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "On-loan Hearts striker Nikolai Todorov helped Cowdenbeath salvage a draw. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "On-loan Hearts striker Nikolai Todorov helped Cowdenbeath salvage a draw. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4260313.1476696353!/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/gary-mackay-stand-green-light-beats-any-on-field-victory-1-4259940","id":"1.4259940","articleHeadline": "Gary Mackay: Stand green light beats any on-field victory","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476682238000 ,"articleLead": "

It was great to get another victory on Saturday, but the big news of the week for me was that Hearts were officially given the all-clear to remain at Tynecastle and build the new main stand.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4259939.1476630455!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The main stand at Tynecastle will be demolished and rebuilt at a cost of �12 million"} ,"articleBody": "

That, for me, was as big a result as anything that’s happened on the pitch recently.

We’re often obsessed with the here and now, but for a football club to prosper, there has to be real long-term thinking. In that regard, after so much uncertainty over the last decade and more, the news that we’re definitely staying at our spiritual home, which is steeped in history, for the foreseeable future is massive. Guys of my age and older have so many special memories from being inside Tynecastle over the decades and I’m thrilled that the younger generation are now guaranteed to have the chance to enjoy their own experiences for years to come in this amazing place that Hearts call home.

Make no mistake, Tynecastle is a huge part of this football club. It is a really special place that helps stir the passions. For me, moving to another ground didn’t bear thinking about, so I’m relieved that everything has been agreed for us to stay put. The latest developments will lay the foundations for us to continue building as a club.

On the pitch, we continue to be in a good place, riding high in the league, after beating Dundee. We’ve had our fair share of games where we’ve not got what we deserved recently, so it was good to see Hearts get the rub of green during that sticky period at 0-0 when it looked like Dundee might take the lead early in the second half.

I’ve heard some suggestions that we were fortunate because they hit the woodwork four times, and we possibly were a bit fortuitous to survive that part of the game, but, on the whole, it would be harsh to suggest we got lucky because we also had some good chances of our own before the break.

The big sour point of the week was learning that Sam Nicholson will be out until January because he has had a good start to the season and is an important player for us. He is one of our most creative players, and I think we’re at our most balanced when both Sam and Jamie Walker are in the team. Hopefully we can soldier on without him.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4259939.1476630455!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4259939.1476630455!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The main stand at Tynecastle will be demolished and rebuilt at a cost of �12 million","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The main stand at Tynecastle will be demolished and rebuilt at a cost of �12 million","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4259939.1476630455!/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-bjorn-johnsen-targets-more-after-crummy-first-goal-1-4259922","id":"1.4259922","articleHeadline": "Hearts’ Bjorn Johnsen targets more after ‘crummy’ first goal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476682233000 ,"articleLead": "

Bjorn Johnsen believes he is ready to produce his best form for Hearts after finally breaking his scoring duck in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Dundee.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4259921.1476640660!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bjorn Johnsen, right, celebrates his goal with Igor Rossi. Fellow scorer Callum Paterson is pictured left"} ,"articleBody": "

The Norwegian-American came off the bench to slot in his side’s second goal from close range with a minute left after Callum Paterson headed the hosts in front at Tynecastle. Having had six appearances – albeit five as a substitute – without a goal, the 24-year-old admits he was beginning to feel the pressure.

Johnsen is hopeful that his “crummy” strike against bottom-of-the-table Dundee will get him off and running.

“I’m happy and excited,” he said. “It’s always a relief for a striker to get his first goal, it takes the pressure off and makes you not think as much. There was pressure on me, but that’s just from myself, no-one else. You saw the relief on Tony Watt when he scored his first goal [against Partick Thistle in August].

“It’s one of those things when you come to a new club that you want to get your first goal and look forward. For me, that was a big moment for me and for my family. They’ve been pushing me to relax, stay calm and not stress myself.

“When you’re stressing as a striker and trying to get your first goal those little crummy goals are the ones you need to get before you can get some nice goals.”

Johnsen hopes his goal can earn him a starting place for the trip to Kilmarnock on Wednesday week after he failed to seize his chance in his only previous start – the 1-0 defeat away to St Johnstone last month. “I was disappointed about coming in against St Johnstone and not getting a win because that was my first full game,” he said. “I want to be in the starting eleven, I have to push myself through and those kind of things [the goal against Dundee] can help me get into the team.”

While the introduction of Johnsen from the bench in place of Conor Sammon was well-received by the Hearts support, the same couldn’t be said of Robbie Neilson’s previous substitution. The home fans booed the decision to take off Tony Watt and replace him with Robbie Muirhead in the 57th minute.

Watt was clearly disappointed at being taken off but the move paid dividends as Muirhead’s influence was key to making the breakthrough ten minutes later. Johnsen insists that Hearts’ squad is now so strong that no player should be viewed as too good to be substituted and that those on the bench are well-equipped to make a significant contribution.

“A lot of teams don’t have a squad of twenty guys,” he said. “I think they [the fans] have to understand that none of us are angry about being on the bench. We’re all ready to play and whoever comes in is going to be playing on full throttle. I think they have to understand that if someone drops out, it’s not the end of the world. Someone can come in and help out, as you saw against Dundee. I think that’s the real reason they need to relax a little bit.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4259921.1476640660!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4259921.1476640660!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bjorn Johnsen, right, celebrates his goal with Igor Rossi. Fellow scorer Callum Paterson is pictured left","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bjorn Johnsen, right, celebrates his goal with Igor Rossi. Fellow scorer Callum Paterson is pictured left","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4259921.1476640660!/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-starters-paved-way-for-subs-to-steal-glory-neilson-1-4259953","id":"1.4259953","articleHeadline": "Hearts starters paved way for subs to steal glory – Neilson","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476682229000 ,"articleLead": "

It says much about the strength of Hearts at present that Dundee manager Paul Hartley described his team’s performance as “terrific” even though they played second fiddle to their hosts for much of an entertaining showdown at Tynecastle.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4259951.1476631701!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bjorn Johnsen scores Hearts' second goal against Dundee"} ,"articleBody": "

The struggling Dens Park side contributed plenty to the match, particularly early in the second half, and, given that they ended up hitting the woodwork four times and missed a couple of golden chances, they could easily have had a few goals to show for their enterprise.

By the same logic, however, Hearts could have had several more than the two they did get through Callum Paterson and substitute Bjorn Johnsen, particularly in the first half, when 11 genuine close calls could be counted. Without ever being scintillating, they had a good grip on proceedings before the break, when Don Cowie and Arnaud Djoum were dictating superbly from midfield. The latter, after a relatively underwhelming start to the campaign, produced his finest performance of the season on Saturday and was his team’s best player overall.

The new Cameroon cap wasn’t the only internationalist with a spring in his step for Hearts on Saturday. Scotland right-back Paterson underlined his value with a typically marauding performance, while burgeoning goalkeeper Jack Hamilton again showed why club and country were right to place their faith in him this season with a couple of excellent saves at crucial points in the second half. The first of those came five minutes after the break when he threw away himself to his left to tip behind a dangerous 20-yard strike from Faissal El Bakhtaoui at a time when Dundee were starting to enjoy their best period of the match.

The visitors, however, were fortunate to still be in it by this point after a first half largely dominated by the hosts. Before the break alone, Conor Sammon missed a one-on-one; Tony Watt, who looks desperately in need of a goal, spurned three golden opportunities from close range; Cowie blazed over from a promising position inside the box; Djoum and Paterson both went close with low strikes from the edge of the box; Paterson had a header saved by Bain; and two crosses from the Scotland right-back almost brought goals, with one inswinger going close to nestling in at the back post and another flashing agonisingly across goal as Sammon, bursting into the six-yard box, somehow failed to knock it over the line.

Dundee’s only notable retorts before the break were a Tom Hateley free kick that clipped the crossbar and a Kostadin Gadzhalov shot that was blocked by John Souttar. The sense of frustration amongst the home support at not being in front at the interval was clear as they feared a repeat of their last home game, when they were held to a goalless draw by Ross County despite controlling most of the match.

“We played really well in the first half but it was a bit like Groundhog Day again with the chances we had,” noted head coach Robbie Neilson. “We’re creating chances but we’re just not taking them at the moment. I thought Scott Bain was fantastic again – the last few keepers that have come here have played really well.”

It was a different story after the break as Dundee, perhaps lifted by Hearts’ wastefulness, began to look the likelier side. In addition to El Bakhtaoui’s shot being saved by Hamilton, they hit the woodwork twice in the opening five minutes of the half through Hateley and Gadzhalov.

At the other end, Jamie Walker was denied by another fine save from Bain, but Hearts, at this point, were creaking and struggling to recover the control they had in the first half.

Neilson had to act and in doing so, in the 57th minute, he incurred the wrath of the home support when he took off Watt and introduced Robbie Muirhead. The boos generally seemed to stem from the fact many felt Sammon should have gone off instead of the former Celtic player.

However, the key point in deciding to remove Watt was that the head coach wanted to change things behind the central striker at that point so Hearts could gain more of a foothold. Watt’s position in support of Sammon was taken by Djoum, Muirhead went wide left and Walker was moved to the right. Despite the jeers, it proved to be a masterstroke, with Muirhead providing some much-needed thrust before setting up the opener, Walker laying on the second goal from wide on the right and Djoum generally operating to more dangerous effect than Watt – lively enough but too often exasperating – had managed in the early part of the second half.

On the fans’ reaction to the substitution, Neilson said: “That’s football. Everyone is here to make a decision on it. I’ve got opinions as well about teams – that’s football. You have to accept it but I’m the one that has to make a decision on it. If I make the decision and we end up getting beat 2-0 then I would have had to take the flak.

“But Muirhead coming on changed the game for us. Before that, there was a period we were really struggling and we couldn’t get a grip of the game. But Muirhead gave us energy and balance because he allowed us to move Walker out to the right, which also made a big difference.”

Prior to Hearts making the breakthrough, Dundee hit the frame for a fourth time when Yordi Teijsse’s shot cannoned off the post. In light of this, the hosts were mightily relieved to go ahead in the 68th minute as Paterson rose to head home a magnificent free-kick delivery from Muirhead wide on the left. How they will miss the right-back when he eventually heads for more illustrious pastures.

Despite falling behind, Dundee continued to be a live threat throughout the second half. However, the introduction of Johnsen in place of Sammon also played a big part in the outcome as the American, who was denied by a brilliant save from Bain in the 83rd minute, eased home nerves when he scored his first goal for the club with a minute left by applying the finishing touch to a lovely build-up involving fellow subsitute Prince Buaben and Walker.

Although the substitutions ultimately proved pivotal in deciding the match, Neilson explained that the starting XI – without the injured pair of Faycal Rherras and Sam Nicholson, incidentally – paved the way for a victory which ensured Hearts remain a point below Aberdeen in third place.

“The majority of teams will come and sit in, you get the first 60,70 minutes and it’s really hard to break them down,” said the head coach. “Conor, Tony, Arnaud and Don do all the hard work at times to tire them out and then you bring the subs on and they steal the glory. The ones before that do all the work.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4259951.1476631701!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4259951.1476631701!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bjorn Johnsen scores Hearts' second goal against Dundee","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bjorn Johnsen scores Hearts' second goal against Dundee","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4259951.1476631701!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4259952.1476631707!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4259952.1476631707!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Callum Paterson rises to head home the opener","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Callum Paterson rises to head home the opener","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4259952.1476631707!/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-2-0-dundee-johnsen-s-first-goal-seals-victory-1-4259313","id":"1.4259313","articleHeadline": "Hearts 2-0 Dundee: Johnsen's first goal seals victory","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476547841000 ,"articleLead": "

Second-half goals from Callum Paterson and Bjorn Johnsen secured a deserved victory for Hearts in an exhilarating encounter at Tynecastle that was littered with goal-scoring chances at both ends.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4259312.1476546995!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dundee striker Faissal El Bakhtaoui holds off Hearts defender Alim Ozturk"} ,"articleBody": "

The hosts dominated the first half but were frustrated by a combination of missed chances and some outstanding saves from Dundee goalkeeper Scott Bain.

Ironically, Hearts' breakthrough came at a time when the visitors, who started the second period strongly and hit woodwork four times in total, were threatening to take the lead.

Hearts made two changes to the side that won at Motherwell a fortnight earlier, as Don Cowie and Alim Ozturk, making his first league start of the season, came in for injured pair Sam Nicholson and Faycal Rherras.

Dundee had a great chance within seconds of kick-off when Callum Paterson's slack pass was intercepted by Faissal El Bakhtaoui but John Souttar got back to make a fine tackle on the Moroccan just as he looked set to pull the trigger inside the box.

Paterson was involved at the other end in the fifth minute when his inswinging cross from the right almost dipped in at Scott Bain's far post.

The hosts were on top in the early stages and Conor Sammon was put clean through on goal in the seventh minute after Jamie Walker dispossessed Dundee centre-back Kevin Gomis but Bain made a fine save to deny the Irish striker.

Two minutes later Paterson cut in from the right and rifled a low left-footed shot from the edge of the box just wide before Watt glanced a header over the top from a dangerous Don Cowie cross.

Hearts were seemingly creating chances at will in the early stages and another came their way in the 15th minute when Sammon dispossessed Danny Williams and crossed for Watt, but the striker blazed high over from a great position.

The pressure subsided temporarily and Tom Hateley almost gave Dundee the lead in the 20th minute when his free-kick from just outside the box clipped the top of the par.

The hosts were soon on the front foot again and Paterson rasped a shot just past in the 23rd minute after Watt's cross from the left broke kindly to him just outside the box.

Cowie then fired over the top after playing a one-two with Watt on the half-hour mark.

Hearts should have gone ahead in the 31st minute when Sammon's determination down the right allowed him to cross for Watt but the hitman's goalbound effort from ten yards out was inadvertently blocked by team-mate Walker.

Seconds later a tantalising Paterson delivery from the right flashed beyond the far post, with Sammon and Walker somehow unable to get a decisive touch in the middle.

Four minutes before the break, Arnaud Djoum saw a low left-footed shot from the edge of the box brilliantly tipped behind by Bain. From the resulting corner, taken by Cowie, Paterson's header was well saved by the goalkeeper as Hearts somehow went in at the interval without a goal to show for their dominance.

Dundee almost went ahead two minutes after the break when Hateley smacked a half-volley against the post from the edge of the box. The visitors threatened again three minutes later when El Bakhhtaoui's low drive from 20 yards out was brilliantly clawed behind by Jack Hamilton. From the resulting corner, taken by Hateley, Kostadin Gadzhalov headed against the crossbar.

At the other end, Walker was denied by Bain from ten yards out after good work by Watt and Djoum to set him up.

Hearts made their first change of the match after 57 minutes when Robbie Muirhead replaced Watt. The home support booed the decision to take off the former Celtic striker.

Dundee struck woodwork in the 62nd minute when Yordi Teijsse's shot from the edge of the box came back off the post.

In a game which had been full of chances at both ends, Hearts eventually made the breakthrough in the 68th minute when Muirhead's magnificent free-kick from wide on the left was met by Paterson, who bulleted a firm header beyond Bain and into the net.

Substitute Johnsen almost added a second for the hosts with seven minutes left but Bain made a sensational reflex save to block the American's close-range effort.

At the other end, Teijsse flashed a free header just past from a few yards as the visitors threatened a late fightback.

But Johnsen eased the nerves of the home support in the 89th minute when he met a low Walker cross at the front post and clipped home his first goal for the club.

Hearts: Hamilton, Paterson, Rossi, Ozturk, Souttar, Kitchen, Djoum, Cowie (Buaben 86), Walker, Watt (Muirhead 57), Sammon (Johnsen 71). Unused subs: Noring, Oshaniwa, Nowak, Currie.

Dundee: Bain, Hateley (Kerr 76), Gomis, Gadzhalov (Loy 85), Holt, McGowan, O'Hara, Vincent (Duffy 76), Williams, Teijsse, El Bakhtaoui. Unused subs: Gourlay, Etxabeguren, Ross, Wighton.

Ref: Kevin Clancy

Att: 16,512

" ,"byline": {"email": "anthony.brown@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Anthony Brown"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4259312.1476546995!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4259312.1476546995!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dundee striker Faissal El Bakhtaoui holds off Hearts defender Alim Ozturk","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dundee striker Faissal El Bakhtaoui holds off Hearts defender Alim Ozturk","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4259312.1476546995!/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-renew-fare-deal-with-capital-cars-1-4258675","id":"1.4258675","articleHeadline": "Hearts renew fare deal with Capital Cars","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476509447000 ,"articleLead": "

HEARTS have extended their partnership with Capital Cars which sees the club’s fans receive a 20 per cent discount on all fares.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4258674.1476456216!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ann Budge is pictured with Stephen Rose, managing director of Capital Cars. Pic: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

Hearts owner Ann Budge accepted a cheque from the taxi firm, which gives Hearts fans reduced fees if they quote 1874 when booking. Capital Cars then donate that 20 per cent back to the Edinburgh club.

Budge said: “We are happy to be in partnership with Capital Cars and believe this deal represents good value to our supporters.

“Maintaining close links with local businesses is very important to the club and we cannot thank them enough for this.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4258674.1476456216!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4258674.1476456216!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ann Budge is pictured with Stephen Rose, managing director of Capital Cars. Pic: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ann Budge is pictured with Stephen Rose, managing director of Capital Cars. Pic: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4258674.1476456216!/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-kirk-double-downs-united-1-4257769","id":"1.4257769","articleHeadline": "Maroon Memories: Kirk double downs United","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476509424000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts bounced back from selling Gary Naysmith by clinically destroying Dundee United at Tannadice with a four-goal salvo, making it 15 goals conceded in four matches for the hosts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4257767.1476392305!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Kirk scores after combining to good effect with team-mate Juanjo"} ,"articleBody": "

Striker Andy Kirk did his utmost to command a future regular place with a confident double for the Jambos, sandwiched between goals by Robert Tomaschek and defender Kevin James as the Tynecastle men lifted their on-field mood despite financial difficulties.

Another heavy defeat, though, for United, and it was difficult to see any signs of improvement on their horizon.

In an attempt to halt their dismal run, United chief Alex Smith rang changes to freshen up his side.

Recent signing Stephen Wright, was allocated a right-back berth and recalls came for Stephen Thompson, David Partridge, Joachim Fernandez and Jamie Buchan from the line-up which was easily brushed aside 3-0 at Rangers.

Hearts, their spirit not helped by their sale of Naysmith to Everton on the Friday, at least had a regular look about them, welcoming influential Slovak midfielder Tomaschek back.

United obviously had not learned their recent lessons, when Hearts opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a simply-constructed goal.

Steve Fulton, playing in the left-back role, swung in a harmless looking cross midway inside United’s half and, while the Tangerines’ defence looked on, Tomaschek had the simplest of tasks to direct his 12-yard header into the corner of the net.

Mvondo Atangana realised that he should have done much better when he hurriedly volleyed over from close range whilst unattended in the home side’s first tangible glimpse at goal after 19 minutes. Hearts, though, were rampant and got a simple second. Again it was a case of no defence, as young Ulsterman Kirk drilled in a shot inside the box after United’s failure to deal with a low Juanjo corner in the 24th minute.

The two combined again on the half-hour mark for a third when the Spaniard muscled his way through the goal-line, before his precise cutback was swiftly despatched by the 21-year-old Northern Ireland internationalist.

United showed a little more urgency at the start of the second half, with Hasney Aljofree blasting a free-kick over before their frustration took hold, with David Partridge booked for a lunge on Gordon Durie.

For the previous 57 minutes, United’s new Argentinian, Marcelino Galoppo, was anonymous but it was his intelligent pass which set up a half-chance for Angana, only for the striker to divert an effort on to the side netting. Gordon Petric was denied only by a superb instinctive save by Alan Combe, as the towering defender got himself on to the end of a Fulton corner.

United’s striking poverty was all too graphically illustrated when Antti Niemi saved a weak Thompson header before substitute Tassos Venetis passed up another clear opportunity, but the danger to Hearts was minimal. James endeared himself to the travelling fans when he side-footed home after being set up by Durie for Hearts’ fourth. The goal, in the 80th minute, completed the romp.

Hearts: Niemi, Pressley, James, Petric, Fulton (Jackson 81), Juanjo, Murray, Cameron (Flogel 79), Tomaschek, Durie, Kirk (McSwegan 83).

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Dundee Utd 0, Hearts 4: October 14, 2000"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4257767.1476392305!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4257767.1476392305!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andy Kirk scores after combining to good effect with team-mate Juanjo","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Kirk scores after combining to good effect with team-mate Juanjo","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4257767.1476392305!/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/jamie-walker-hearts-have-yet-to-hit-top-gear-1-4258658","id":"1.4258658","articleHeadline": "Jamie Walker: Hearts have yet to hit top gear","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476509423000 ,"articleLead": "

Jamie Walker believes Hearts can reach a higher level of performance as they resume Ladbrokes Premiership business against Dundee.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4258657.1476468833!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Walker wants to contribute more goals for Hearts"} ,"articleBody": "

A 3-1 win at Fir Park before the international break featured some excellent goals, but Walker feels the Edinburgh side still have another gear to find. They sit third in the Premiership ahead of this afternoon’s visit of the Taysiders, who are managed by the former Hearts midfielder Paul Hartley. Dundee are third bottom and arrive under a degree of pressure following criticism of Hartley, and recent results.

They haven’t won in seven matches and Hearts are firm favourites to take the points. Walker is confident there is much more to come from his team as they try to build up momentum again.

“We’ve done reasonably well so far. We’re sitting third and playing quite well, but I think if we really click we could be a right good side,” he insisted. The 5-1 home win over Inverness in August is regarded as the benchmark.

“I was suspended for the Inverness game and watched it from the stand,” continued Walker. “You see how well the boys played. We’re trying to get to the highest level possible every week. You obviously can’t play well every week but you need to try and get your performance as high as possible.”

The winger is also critical in his own self-assessment and is eager to score more often.

He has managed a creditable four goals in seven domestic appearances to date but, perhaps typically, isn’t satisfied with his finishing prowess.

A two-match ban for diving forced him to miss games against Aberdeen and Inverness, and he then had to show patience before reclaiming a starting place in Robbie Neilson’s team.

With that achieved, Walker is now determined to contribute more goals over the coming weeks and months.

“I’ve done reasonably well since I came back from my suspension. I’ve missed a few chances and could’ve scored a few goals. That’s obviously part of football. If you keep getting into the right areas, the goals will come. We had a few hard days training last week and everyone is delighted to be back now and preparing to face Dundee. The boys are back from international duty and we’re looking to continue after our good victory at Fir Park.”

Callum Paterson, Jack Hamilton, Arnaud Djoum, Perry Kitchen and Faycal Rherras were all absent from Riccarton during the international break as they jetted off with their 
respective countries.

Rherras is doubtful for today’s match having taken ill whilst training with the Morocco squad.

Walker watched Paterson play in Scotland’s World Cup qualifiers against Lithuania and Slovakia. Although a 1-1 draw and 3-0 defeat were disappointing for the national team’s hopes of reaching Russia 2018, 
Paterson’s performances offered some encouragement.

“It’s a credit to Callum how far he’s come over the last couple of years,” said Walker. “I think, over the two games, he did reasonably well. Everyone is delighted for him and hopefully more players can make that step up to international level.

“As a player, you want to play at the highest level. To play for Scotland would be fantastic. Everyone is just concentrating on playing well here. You never know where it might take you.”

Now 23, Walker doesn’t hide his own ambitions to catch Gordon Strachan’s eye and force his way into the senior squad. Much depends on his performances, consistency and goals tally over the coming weeks and months. He isn’t aware of any genuine interest from Hampden at the moment, though.

“Not really. I scored a lot of goals when I came back from injury last season so I thought I would maybe have a chance then, but it never came. I need to keep working hard and just see where it takes me,” he said.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4258657.1476468833!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4258657.1476468833!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jamie Walker wants to contribute more goals for Hearts","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Walker wants to contribute more goals for Hearts","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4258657.1476468833!/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-jamie-walker-eyeing-a-scotland-call-up-1-4258696","id":"1.4258696","articleHeadline": "Hearts’ Jamie Walker eyeing a Scotland call-up","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476509422000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts winger Jamie Walker admits he is striving to join team-mates Callum Paterson and Jack Hamilton in the Scotland squad.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4258695.1476457030!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Walker hopes that, by maintaining his strong Hearts form, he can earn a Scotland call-up"} ,"articleBody": "

The 23-year-old is eager for an international call-up to follow in the footsteps of Paterson and Hamilton.

Paterson is now national coach Gordon Strachan’s preferred choice at right-back ahead of Alan Hutton. Hamilton is currently third-choice goalkeeper behind David Marshall and Craig Gordon.

Walker wants to join them and earn recognition at senior international level after playing for Scotland at every age level from under-15 to under-21. He admitted his form at Tynecastle will dictate whether he can make the breakthrough.

“You want to play at the highest level. To represent Scotland would be massive. I just need to keep playing here, hopefully keep finding the net and playing well. You never know where it might take you,” said the winger.

“Credit to Callum, he’s done very well over the past few seasons here. Since he went into the national team, he’s done really well. It just shows that, if you’re playing well and scoring goals, you can get the call-up.

“Callum’s still young and it’s quite a big step up but the more he plays at that level, the better he’ll get. I think he could be the right-back for Scotland for a few years to come.

“I’m happy for Callum and Jack, who has been away with the national team. I’d like to go as well so I’ll just keep plugging away and see where it takes me.”

Paterson played in Scotland’s 1-1 draw with Lithuania and the 3-0 defeat in Slovakia, results which have seriously damaged World Cup qualification hopes. Walker said his club colleague will benefit from the experience, though.

“Sometimes you learn more from getting beat than winning every week,” he commented. “Even going away with the national team is a good experience. He’ll be training with players who are playing down south and playing abroad. That’s going to help him a lot and hopefully it can help us.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4258695.1476457030!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4258695.1476457030!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jamie Walker hopes that, by maintaining his strong Hearts form, he can earn a Scotland call-up","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Walker hopes that, by maintaining his strong Hearts form, he can earn a Scotland call-up","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4258695.1476457030!/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-star-sam-nicholson-ruled-out-for-three-months-1-4258825","id":"1.4258825","articleHeadline": "Hearts star Sam Nicholson ruled out for three months","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476464231000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts winger Sam Nicholson has been ruled out of action until next year following a knee operation.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4258824.1476464207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sam Nicholson has been a key player for Hearts this term"} ,"articleBody": "

The player went into hospital for some tidy-up surgery on Thursday but doctors found more damage to his knee than was originally anticipated.

As a result, he is unable to play for three months and will miss some crucial Hearts matches between now and January.

Nicholson, 21, is out of contract next summer and is a key part of the first-team squad at Tynecastle.

Hearts are confident he will make a full recovery and return to play a central role for them in 2017.

Click here for the latest Hearts results, fixtures and stats>>>

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4258824.1476464207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4258824.1476464207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sam Nicholson has been a key player for Hearts this term","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sam Nicholson has been a key player for Hearts this term","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4258824.1476464207!/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-full-back-faycal-rherras-major-doubt-for-dundee-game-1-4257724","id":"1.4257724","articleHeadline": "Hearts full-back Faycal Rherras major doubt for Dundee game","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476423034000 ,"articleLead": "

FAYCAL RHERRAS is doubtful for Hearts’ league match with Dundee tomorrow after taking ill on international duty with Morocco.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4257723.1476385595!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Faycal Rherras was taken ill while on international duty"} ,"articleBody": "

The full-back was assessed by doctors upon his return to Riccarton and his chances of playing this weekend remain 50/50.

Midfielder Don Cowie has recovered from a calf injury and is in the squad, but Rherras may miss out. He did not feature in Morocco’s World Cup qualifier in Gabon or the friendly with Canada due to illness. Hearts are hoping he recovers over the next 24 hours.

“Don Cowie will be fine, he trained the last couple of days,” said head coach Robbie Neilson. “Faycal had a wee problem away with the national team but he’s seen the doctors and we hope he’ll be fit. He was just ill when he was over there, he wasn’t involved. He flew back in on Wednesday.” Neilson and his players go into the Dundee match buoyed by news that work on Tynecastle’s new £12million main stand can begin next month. City of Edinburgh Council granted Hearts planning permission on Wednesday and thus guaranteed that the club’s long-term future will be in Gorgie.

Neilson was a Hearts player in 2004 when plans to sell Tynecastle and move to Murrayfield were strongly opposed. He admitted a move would have been a huge mistake. He cited West Ham United’s recent move from Upton Park to London’s Olympic Stadium as an example of how a club can lose its identity.

“You look at West Ham, who had a great season last year and then they moved to the Olympic Stadium and they’re struggling this year,” Neilson pointed out. “You lose that identity, the fans lose the identity and you lose home advantage for quite a few seasons until you get it back again.

“It’s important we stay here. We played European games at Murrayfield and it was a different atmosphere, it was difficult. You never want to leave Tynecastle because of the atmosphere and the intensity. It was totally different going to Murrayfield.

“We had a couple of games with crowds of 20-odd thousand but it seemed like you had 5000 compared to Tynecastle.

“It’s always been spoken about, leaving Tynecastle because of the position and size of it. The work that everyone has done – Ann Budge, the board and the fans – to get us in a position that we can stay where we are and develop the stand is great.”

The new structure will hold 7290 seats and take the stadium’s capacity to 20,099. It will replace the existing 102-year-old main stand. “Everyone talks about the atmosphere at Tynecastle but the atmosphere is created by the three newer stands because they’re right on top of you,” said Neilson.

“The older one has been there for over a 100 years now and it’s served it’s course. It’s the same architect and the new one will be similar to the other three, so that will make it even more intense.”

Neilson and the Hearts staff have made do with the current main stand but the new facilities will bring the stadium into line with modern European requirements.

“It’s not ideal right now. One of the issues with the European games is that we needed to alter a lot of things because there was all the stipulation about the media, changing rooms and the medical side of it. The new stand will cover all that.

“From the commercial and corporate side of it, it will definitely help the turnover of the club, which then benefits the budget of the first team. Then you can start developing more on that side of it.

“We’ve had a few meetings about what we feel we need in the new stand, like warm-up areas and physio. It’s what all the new stadia have nowadays and we’ve not had it. The only downside now is that the away dressing-room will be a decent size instead of being a cupboard.”

Click here for the latest Hearts results, fixtures and stats>>>

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4257723.1476385595!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4257723.1476385595!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Faycal Rherras was taken ill while on international duty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Faycal Rherras was taken ill while on international duty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4257723.1476385595!/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-john-souttar-ready-for-dundee-fans-abuse-1-4257473","id":"1.4257473","articleHeadline": "Hearts’ John Souttar ready for Dundee fans’ abuse","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476423013000 ,"articleLead": "

Abuse from Dundonians is nothing new to John Souttar, who will arrive at Tynecastle tomorrow expecting more of the same.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4257471.1476388452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

The Hearts defender suffered fans’ criticism at previous club Dundee United, and was naturally disliked by Dens Park supporters because he played at Tannadice.

He is prepared for more carping from the Roseburn Stand’s away section tomorrow as Hearts face Dundee. It is par for the course.

“Yeah, probably. It just comes with the territory. Dundee is quite small and I don’t think either side likes me much,” he smiled. “I’ve never really been back to Dundee so I couldn’t tell you [the reaction]. I only played against Dundee once. I was mostly on the bench in derbies. I spent about six or seven of them on the bench.

“The one time I did play, we beat them 3-0 in the last game of the season [in May 2015]. Robbie Muirhead was playing as well and that was a good day. A similar result tomorrow would be nice. Hopefully we get the win. It’s just another game to me. There are no feelings at all towards it. I just want three points.”

There is an intensity in Souttar’s voice which mirrors his play at the moment. He is keeping Alim Ozturk out of the Hearts team thanks to the most consistent vein of form in his career to date. He cites the Scotland defender Andy Robertson, a former team-mate at United, as the example to follow.

“I think I need to be consistent,” continued the 20-year-old. “There’s a lot of pressure, there are a lot of people behind me breathing down my neck and wanting to take my spot. So, you need to play well every week and be consistent. I wasn’t as consistent before. I need to train hard, play well and keep fighting to keep my place at Hearts.

“This is probably my most consistent run. It’s hard to get consistency when you’re young. The best example I’ve known was Andy Robertson at United. He played about 40 games on the trot when he was 19 or 20. That’s something you look at, although I don’t think too far in advance.”

He has started every domestic match this season for Hearts and is developing a strong understanding in central defence, where he partners the no-nonsense Brazilian Igor Rossi. Their form helped the Edinburgh club reach third in the Ladbrokes Premiership before the international break.

“I’m enjoying playing centre-back next to Igor,” said Souttar. “We’re playing good football and the team is playing well. I think I’ve still got more to come. I can do better and progress as a player with more games. The more I play, the better I’ll get. It’s been good to play a lot of games so far.

“I’m a self-motivated person. I want to do the best I can and be the best I can. Knowing good players are behind you, you’ve got to keep playing well. There’s no room for error so you must perform week in and week out to stay in the team at a club like Hearts.”

Souttar is now playing in a more aesthetically pleasing Hearts side than when he first arrived. His £120,000 transfer from United at the start of the year gave him a few months to bed in at Tynecastle before this season began. His assessment is that he and his colleagues still have more to produce.

“When I first came into the team here, we won a lot of games 1-0 or 2-0. We won about six games on the bounce but I remember thinking we didn’t play good football at all. It wasn’t like the football we’re playing this year. We’re passing the ball and being patient. We’ve created a lot of chance but the goals haven’t happened. We still have another gear to get to. Sometimes you play well and don’t get result but this season we’ve started well.

“We need to keep doing the same things now. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you who we play in the next four or five games. It’s very much a case of looking at the next game because that’s all we talk about and who we prepare for. I’ve not got a clue who we play, I just know all we’re focused on is Dundee. We just look at winning our next game.”

Preparations have been exhausting for those Hearts players not called away on international duty. Double and triple training sessions at Riccarton offered a boost to fitness levels last week before head coach Robbie Neilson gave his squad the weekend off. Souttar has waited several years to relax over an international weekend.

He was left out of Scot Gemmill’s maiden Scotland Under-21 squad after being sent off in Ukraine in the previous qualifier. The omission gave him the chance to recuperate and refocus for the demands which lie ahead.

“Since I was 15, I haven’t had a rest during international breaks,” he revealed. “Apart from injuries, I’ve been mostly involved in Scotland squads at different levels. This probably came at a good time for me. I’ve played a lot of football so I enjoyed the chance to recharge the batteries and concentrate on playing for Hearts.

“I started playing for Scotland at under-17 level. Since then, I’ve never really had a rest. When you’re young, you play loads of games. I’d rather be playing for Scotland than sitting at home. You don’t really get much of a break at Hearts anyway. We were doing double and triple training sessions last week.”

Calls for Souttar to join the full Scotland squad haven’t escaped the player. For the moment, he is focused on regaining a spot with Scotland Under-21s. He is still eligible for the next European Championship qualifying campaign and is eager to help the nation improve.

“The Under-21s is a good thing. We have to do better than we did in the last campaign. That wasn’t successful at all. Hopefully, with a new manager and new players coming in, we can have a good campaign next time. I was with the under-19s in Georgia when I was 16 and Scot Gemmill was there with Ricky Sbragia. That was a few years ago so I don’t know Scot too much.”

Click here for match stats >>>

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4257471.1476388452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4257471.1476388452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4257471.1476388452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4257472.1476388456!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4257472.1476388456!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4257472.1476388456!/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/ann-budge-raring-to-go-as-tynecastle-s-new-stand-approved-1-4256491","id":"1.4256491","articleHeadline": "Ann Budge ‘raring to go’ as Tynecastle’s new stand approved","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476356099000 ,"articleLead": "

Sixty-two minutes of talks inside the Dean of Guild court room at Edinburgh’s City Chambers ended with a moment Hearts had waited 12 years for: Planning permission for Tynecastle’s new main stand was officially granted via a unanimous verdict.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4256488.1476356075!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The stand will have 7290 seats, taking stadium capacity to 20,099."} ,"articleBody": "

Ann Budge sat twitching throughout the hearing and sounded unusually nervous addressing City of Edinburgh Council’s Development Management sub-committee. She needn’t have fretted. The committee of eight all voted to back her £12million proposal, subject to some safety conditions which Hearts must adhere to.

Tynecastle was declared “not fit for purpose” by former chief executive Chris Robinson 12 years ago as he tried to convince the public that one of Edinburgh’s greatest institutions should rent a home from someone else.

Yesterday, it took little over an hour to finally disprove that theory. Tynecastle can and will serve its local community, as well as Hearts supporters, staff and players, for years to come. It won’t be a few thousand huddled in a big rugby stadium, it will be more than 20,000 packed into one of the most atmospheric venues in Scotland.

Finally, a glass ceiling has been broken and Tynecastle can be completed. There can be no more talk of moves to Murrayfield, flats or Cala Homes buying Hearts’ spiritual home. A previous grandiose plan for a £51m new stand – unveiled by Vladimir Romanov’s associate Pedro Lopez in 2007 – would have made Stamford Bridge look like Musselburgh juniors’ Olivebank ground. That can also now be consigned to history. Work should begin next month to demolish the current, dilapidated main stand, designed by the famous architect Archibald Leitch and built in 1914. In its place will be a bespoke building with 7290 seats, taking stadium capacity to 20,099. It will also incorporate offices, hospitality lounges, a roof terrace, a directors’ suite, state-of-the-art dressing rooms, media facilities, ticket kiosks and Tynecastle Nursery School. Completion date is intended to be late September 2017.

Budge walked out of the chamber shortly after 11am yesterday carrying a beaming smile and a good deal of relief. She would have reluctantly gone to Murrayfield as a fan had Robinson’s plan to relocate Hearts gone through. Now she is heavily responsible for keeping them in Gorgie.

It was another poignant day in the club’s 142-year history. “It is a sense of relief because it has been a lot of hard work,” explained Budge. “There have been a few frustrations along the way and at times I thought: ‘This is never going to happen.’ The fact we have approval now is fantastic. Of course, it’s just the beginning of the real hard work. We’re raring to go.

“It is momentous. It’s really important for the district, the Gorgie and Dalry area. Without Tynecastle, what else is there in that part of Edinburgh? We’re also really close to the city. We really are a city club. We’re working on creating a heritage trail and trying to be part of Edinburgh city’s tourist industry. That’s one of our next objectives. We’re a city-centre club and we have to behave like one. That means looking after the community as well as our own supporters, plus taking a pride in Edinburgh. That’s what we want to do.”

Awaiting the verdict, Budge likened the emotions to that of two years ago, when she and the fan group Foundation of Hearts were negotiating to get Hearts out of administration.

“There were some similarities because when we were trying to get the CVA through and get the club out of administration, there were also last-minute hurdles. It was two steps forward and one step back. This time, it was nervous until it was done. This is the first time I’ve gone for planning permission on this scale for anything. It was a new experience for me and I didn’t really know what to expect. I understood the process but it was a decision-making meeting.

“Some of our supporters perhaps jumped the gun a bit and were assuming it was already a done deal as soon as this hearing was announced. I can assure you we knew it was not a done deal. We still had to convince the planning committee to approve it, so there was a degree of nervousness.”

The hearing began at 10am with David Givan from the council’s planning department talking through Hearts’ proposals using video screens around the Dean of Guild room.

Then the Health and Safety executive put their case forward. They advised there was no reason for the council not to grant permission, but explained that certain conditions must be met. Hearts must reinforce the wall separating Tynecastle and the North British Distillery in case of any spillage from two giant ethanol tanks on the other side. Sound-reducing measures have also been taken, with the club agreeing to reduce the size of the new stand’s outdoor rooftop terrace.

Budge then moved from the public gallery down the steps to address the committee, flanked by Hearts’ chief operating officer Scot Gardiner and architect Jim Clydesdale. It was Clydesdale who designed Tynecastle’s Wheatfield Stand, although it was Budge and Gardiner who spoke mostly.

They were asked questions relating to transport, parking, noise and light issues before Councillor Nick Gardner spoke.

“I feel, as one of the councillors of the Leith Walk ward, which contains the Hibs ground, I should take this opportunity to wish you well,” he said, with a smile. “You spoke of providing a 21st Century stadium to make your own customers welcome. Well, I thank you for that because hopefully it will make your guests from Easter Road and the Leith area welcome and suitably accommodated as well.”

A lone voice in the chamber was then heard responding: “Not too welcome.”

That lightened the mood of what had until then been a rather tense hearing. There was a clear sense of apprehension in Budge’s voice but her soft tones brought a calmness to the room.

When all the concerns had been aired, it was time for the committee to deliver their verdict. Not a single hand was raised when the convenor asked for any objections to the proposal, and as such Hearts received unanimous backing for their new stand.

The noose around the club’s neck, one which had held them back for more than a decade in a commercial and revenue-generating sense, had been cut. “It is important because for how long have people being saying: ‘What’s going to happen about Tynecastle, are we moving, are we staying?’ said Budge. Her approach throughout this project has been to maintain pragmatism. Indeed, in her speech to the committee, she mentioned the extravagant plans for a new stand revealed by Romanov – “the former owner” as she called him. She stressed she wanted to be more “realistic” after taking control of Hearts in June 2014.

One of the first things on her agenda was building a new main stand to increase Tynecastle’s capacity – and to improve the ground in tandem with the demands of modern football supporters.

“There were a number of constraints in terms of what we could do,” she admitted. “What we did was take a very pragmatic approach to it and say: ‘Let’s be realistic. How are we going to get this through planning? Let’s take a look at all the constraints that might be thrown at us.’

“There’s the height of the stand. Supporters have said to me: ‘Why aren’t we building a two-tier stand?’ Well, we can’t. There are practical constraints and they mean that’s not possible. We’ve tried to be practical as opposed to, ‘would it not be wonderful if we could get this’. Let’s be realistic.”

There was also more than a degree of irony for Budge when yesterday’s verdict arrived. She admitted she didn’t openly oppose Robinson’s plan to take Hearts to Murrayfield 12 years ago. In fairness, plenty other fans voiced their anger, to the point where they were marching through Gorgie to demonstrate outside Tynecastle’s main door. The “Save Our Hearts” campaign embodied the depth of affection supporters hold for the ground.

“I was sitting on the sidelines as a level-headed supporter at that time,” recalled Budge. “I was trying to weigh it up. Maybe it made sense, [going to Murrayfield] although I didn’t really understand all of the background. I didn’t get involved in anything until I got involved with Foundation of Hearts.

“I now understand a lot more than I did back then. I would have gone to support Hearts at Murrayfield. I think the issues surrounding the atmosphere, or lack of it, might have changed my mind over time, but I would’ve gone to Murrayfield, yes.”

A few thousand diehards in an open bowl amid a soulless atmosphere where their club are mere tenants doesn’t bear thinking about. Thankfully, that prospect has gone forever.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4256488.1476356075!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4256488.1476356075!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The stand will have 7290 seats, taking stadium capacity to 20,099.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The stand will have 7290 seats, taking stadium capacity to 20,099.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4256488.1476356075!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4256489.1476356076!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4256489.1476356076!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": ".","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": ".","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4256489.1476356076!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4256490.1476356078!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4256490.1476356078!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": ".","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": ".","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4256490.1476356078!/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/robbie-neilson-backs-hartley-to-get-out-of-a-jam-1-4256251","id":"1.4256251","articleHeadline": "Robbie Neilson backs Hartley to get out of a jam","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476336659000 ,"articleLead": "

Robbie Neilson has told critics to lay off his former Hearts team-mate Paul Hartley ahead of his Dundee team visiting Tynecastle.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4256249.1476282018!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson says Paul Hartley, pictured below, will succeed at Dundee"} ,"articleBody": "

Questions are being asked with the club third bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership and without a win in their last seven games. However, Hearts head coach Neilson expressed his fellow manager’s predicament.

Strikers Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart were both sold over the summer, robbing Dundee of a partnership which plundered 36 goals in total last season. Hartley has thus been left short of firepower up front, but Neilson today offered full support to the Dundee manager.

“I’ve definitely got sympathy for Paul. He’s lost his two key strikers, who scored nearly 40 goals last season. Any team losing that number of goals would find it difficult,” Neilson said.

“We felt it last year when we lost Osman Sow and he’d only scored 12 before he left in February. You take those goals out of the equation and it changes the whole dynamic of your team. It takes a while to settle down and get things going again. Dundee lost their two main strikers in the summer window so it’s always difficult to replace that.

“A club of Dundee’s stature can’t afford to go and spend £500,000 or more to get a guy who will score 20 goals. They have to work really hard to recruit and the timeframe for Paul to do that was short.

“Paul is a very good manager. He’s proved that at Alloa and he’s proved it at Dundee. There’s no real patience in football, that’s one of the problems with it at the moment. You need to give Paul time. He will build a team again.

“He built a really good team, got promoted and established Dundee in the Premiership. That team got dismantled because it did so well. People come and buy your best players. You then need time to build again. It doesn’t just happen overnight, it takes six months or a year minimum to rebuild a team.”

Dundee finished eighth in the league last season. Hartley recently hit back at criticism from outsiders and stressed he and his players were simply blocking out the carping.

“You receive loads of criticism and negativity and there are so many experts that want to write stuff, like former players who think they’re tacticians and are telling us what to do,” he said. “We just don’t listen to them and we won’t listen to them. I know we’ve got good players here. We totally believe in them and what they’re trying to do. Everybody has an opinion now on what we should be doing – as a manager, a group, and as players. But we just use that as a positive.

“It’s part and parcel of football nowadays that you have to receive criticism if you lose one or two games. It’s absolutely everywhere. There’s no escaping it. If you win one or two games everything is great but if you lose one or two, there’s so much negativity.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4256249.1476282018!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4256249.1476282018!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson says Paul Hartley, pictured below, will succeed at Dundee","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson says Paul Hartley, pictured below, will succeed at Dundee","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4256249.1476282018!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4256250.1476282021!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4256250.1476282021!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": ".","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": ".","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4256250.1476282021!/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/hibs/raith-s-darren-jackson-i-loved-my-time-at-hibs-and-hearts-1-4256340","id":"1.4256340","articleHeadline": "Raith’s Darren Jackson: I loved my time at Hibs – and Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476336629000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs will encounter one of their most iconic players from the 1990s as they bid to end a four-game winless streak away to Raith Rovers on Saturday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4256336.1476285934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Darren Jackson is the assistant manager at Raith and is plotting the downfall of Hibs, a club where he enjoyed five seasons, below"} ,"articleBody": "

Darren Jackson has been assistant to Gary Locke at Stark’s Park since the summer and is busy plotting to compound the woes of his old club, managed by his friend Neil Lennon, this weekend. Ahead of what promises to be an intriguing showdown in Kirkcaldy, the 50-year-old took time out at Rovers’ training base in Glenrothes to reflect on a fruitful five years at Easter Road in which he scored 59 goals in more than 200 appearances.

“My time at Hibs was great,” said Jackson, who joined from Dundee United in 1992 and left for Celtic in 1997. “It was the longest time I was at any club. Scoring away to Anderlecht in the UEFA Cup [in 1992] sticks out and getting to the League Cup final against Rangers [in 1993] was also a big one for me. There were loads of highlights for me at Hibs – I couldn’t just pick out one moment.

“My second season was a low point for me. I had five years at Hibs and I felt I gave them four very good years but the second year was poor. I don’t know what it was but it just didn’t happen for me that year. But I bounced back and on the whole it was a great time and I had a great rapport with the fans.

“I didn’t get a great reception when I came back as a Celtic player, which was disappointing, but I’ve been back quite a few times over the years and I’ve always been treated well. I’ve got a lot of time for the Hibs supporters. The other day actually I was in Marks and Spencer and a young boy who worked there came up to me and said he was a mad Hibby and wanted to shake my hand. Stuff like that is really nice – it makes you feel good.”

One thing that gnawed at Jackson from his time at Hibs was the negative perception of his old manager, Alex Miller.

“I sat with Alex when I was at the Hibs v Dundee United game last week, which was good,” said Jackson. “I keep in touch with him and I’ve got a lot of time and respect for him and what he achieved at Easter Road. I found it strange that everyone thought he was defensive when he had a midfield of Michael O’Neill, Brian Hamilton, Pat McGinlay and Kevin McAllister, plus me and Keith Wright up front. I don’t think he was fully appreciated, which is very disappointing.”

Jackson’s own reputation as a Hibs icon was placed in some jeopardy when, after almost two years at Celtic in which he overcame a brain condition and played for Scotland at the 1998 World Cup, he was offered the chance to join Hearts in March 1999. Jackson insists he has never truly supported any team other than the one he is employed by at any given time, but the fact he had grown up in Leith under the influence of his Hearts-daft father Adam made the decision to move to Tynecastle an easy one.

“I didn’t have much to think about when Hearts came in for me,” he said. “I got a call from Jim Jefferies and all he said on the phone was ‘can you handle it [being an ex-Hibs player at Hearts]?’. I said ‘yes’ and then we set about making it happen. The biggest thing of all was that it made my dad’s dream come true. He was a mad Jambo. After seeing me in the green of Hibs, he obviously never thought he’d see me playing for Hearts. Seeing my dad’s reaction when I first played for Hearts was the biggest pleasure for me. I got my strip from my debut signed by all the boys and had it framed for my dad.

“He was fine with me playing for Hibs. He was from Leith and a lot of his pals were Hibs supporters so he came to every single game but I think the day I ran out at Tynecastle with a Hearts strip on made his life. My time at Hearts was great. When I first went, Hearts were near the bottom of the league but we lost only one of our last nine games and finished mid-table. In the second year we qualified for Europe and I scored nine goals.

“The Hearts fans were great with me. There was one game where I chipped Alan Combe against Dundee United and I didn’t celebrate because I’d had a few bad shouts from the crowd. Sometimes you get a bit sensitive, but on the whole the fans were absolutely brilliant with me.

“Towards the end, I had a contract issue with the club, which was horrible, but these things happen in football. I was only there for a year and a half but I loved it.”

Jackson insists he had no issues with being one of the most recognisable – and occasionally divisive – faces on the Edinburgh football scene.

“I can honestly say I’ve never had any hassle when I’ve been out in Edinburgh,” he said. “There were times when boys have maybe looked at me in a funny way but I’d just go up to them and speak to them and then suddenly they change their mind about you and decide ‘oh, he’s alright’. It was the best way to diffuse it.”

Jackson’s time at Hearts – which ended as a substitute in the 6-2 defeat by Hibs in October 2000 – represented his last notable stint as a top-level footballer. Although he always planned to go into coaching, when he eventually hung up his boots in 2002 after a spell with Clydebank, he turned his hand to being a football agent. It was one of his clients, former Celtic team-mate Jackie McNamara, who offered him the chance he craved to become first-team coach at Dundee United three and a half years ago. Locke, whom he played with at Hearts, then handed him an even more hands-on role in Kirkcaldy this summer. Jackson is savouring every moment of life as Raith’s assistant manager.

“When I finished playing, I got offered something with the agency,” he said. “Looking back I would probably rather have gone straight into the coaching but I had ten years as an agent, looking after a lot of good guys. When I got the chance to go back into football with Jackie at Dundee United, I jumped at it big time. That was my first coaching gig of any kind, so it was hard coming back into the game after so long out of it. As an agent, I was watching games every week so it wasn’t like I was totally out of it but I wasn’t looking so much at tactics and things like that.

“Now that I’m coaching, a big strong point for me is that I get in amongst the boys. I think a manager needs his assistant or first-team coach to be the go-between, and that’s a strength of mine. I still feel like I’m 18 so I can have good banter with them.

“That’s important because the way players are nowadays, you couldn’t have a Jim McLean or even a Jim Jefferies shouting and bawling at them because players can’t handle that these days. Managers have to adapt to that. Yes, there will be times when you need to go mental at them but in the main, you’ve got to make sure the players are okay and up for every game and training session. The gaffer and I have had that at Raith. We travel up from Edinburgh together and we just buzz in the car at how good this group of boys are to work with.

“Me and Lockey always got on well but we were never really close pals until now. I’d been out the game for about eight months and I was just looking to get back in. I was offered a couple of things that just weren’t right for me but when this came up, it felt 100 per cent right.

“It’s going fantastically well so far. Hopefully this is me back in football for as long as I can. After I left United, people were asking if I was going to go back to the agency but I’d never go back to that. I didn’t get the buzz of waking up every morning going to train or waking up on a Saturday with a game to look forward to.”

The buzz this week surrounds the visit of Hibs and Lennon. “Lenny was at my wedding,” he said. “I’m best pals with Tommy Johnson and we went on holiday one year and Lenny was there. We’ve been friends since then. Even though he’s been at Celtic, I think he appreciates how big and good a club Hibs is. There’s an expectation there because they’re the biggest club in the league but Lenny’s been through all that before, so he can handle it.

“We’re both passionate on the sidelines so I’m sure a few words will be exchanged on Saturday. We feel we’ve got a really good side so there’s real excitement. I don’t know whether they’ll be nervy or not but it doesn’t matter who you are, if you haven’t won in four games, you’re always going to be a bit wary going into your next game. We’re capable of beating them on our day, but the boys just need to believe. If we stand off them, they’ll destroy us. If we play the way we can and get up against them, we’ll have a real chance.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4256336.1476285934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4256336.1476285934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Darren Jackson is the assistant manager at Raith and is plotting the downfall of Hibs, a club where he enjoyed five seasons, below","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Darren Jackson is the assistant manager at Raith and is plotting the downfall of Hibs, a club where he enjoyed five seasons, below","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4256336.1476285934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4256338.1476285937!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4256338.1476285937!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Darren Jackson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Darren Jackson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4256338.1476285937!/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/foundation-of-hearts-joy-as-new-stand-gets-green-light-1-4256473","id":"1.4256473","articleHeadline": "Foundation of Hearts joy as new stand gets green light","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1476309638000 ,"articleLead": "

Foundation of Hearts chairman Brian Cormack compiled a detailed report on Tynecastle five years ago – and knew instantly that building a new main stand was viable.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4256472.1476294029!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brian Cormack says FoH has been vindicated"} ,"articleBody": "

The Edinburgh property owner was overjoyed after hearing that planning permission had been granted by City of Edinburgh Council.

Cormack believes the new £12million development, with 7290 seats, will take Hearts to the next level with a stadium capacity of more than 20,000. Having personally assessed the land and surrounding area, he said hurdles like ethanol tanks inside the neighbouring North British distillery were never insurmountable.

“People who wanted to move away from Tynecastle certainly made that a big issue,” Cormack told the Evening News. “When I was looking into it, I never thought it was as big a problem as was made out. As long as you can provide assessments on what you would do if a certain scenario occurred, then these problems can be overcome.

“The club have worked with planning and health and safety to look at all the risks, do proper studies and make sure these can be overcome.

“Robert Wilson [former Hearts director] passed away recently and he was instrumental in getting everybody focused on researching this project. I work in property so I went away and did work on the ground and the problems we may have building a new stand. That report was done late in 2011.

“We looked at all the pros and cons of building at Tynecastle, the costs, everything. We had the stadium valued. It was my job to look at the viability of it because I was the property guy.”

The Foundation believed building a new stand was vital when they formed seven years ago. They are now backed by more than 8000 and will contribute £3m to the stand project.

“When we first set up the Foundation, it was something we put in the key aims. We made it clear right at the start that this was something we wanted. We felt Tynecastle was our home and that’s where we should stay. Ann Budge took over and may have looked at other options but quite soon she realised the will of the fans towards staying at Tynecastle.

“For it to come to fruition so quickly is unbelievable. I sit in the main stand and Tynecastle is known for its brilliant atmosphere. To have it fully enclosed with more than 20,000 people inside is going to be superb.

“It’s finishing the stadium. It’s important for the fans to see real tangible things happening. Not just the Foundation members, but season-ticket holders and hospitality members will be delighted. To actually see a new stand going up is huge.”

Cormack added that the Save Our Hearts campaign – launched in 2004 to prevent the club moving to Murrayfield – should also feel vindicated.

“Save Our Hearts played a big part in keeping Hearts at Tynecastle years ago. They supported the Foundation when it first got off the ground too. This is proof for them that what they said all those years ago was correct. It shouldn’t be forgotten the part they played.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4256472.1476294029!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4256472.1476294029!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Brian Cormack says FoH has been vindicated","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brian Cormack says FoH has been vindicated","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4256472.1476294029!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}