A GENTLEMAN’S agreement between Hearts and Dunfermline will prevent defender Jason Thomson from facing his parent club at East End Park next weekend.
As part of the player’s six-month loan deal, it has been determined that he will not play against Hearts, further compounding manager Jim McIntyre’s selections problems.
Thomson has delivered a series of consistent displays since joining Dunfermline on loan in July. McIntyre has several players doubtful for the Hearts encounter due to injuries and admitted being without the full-back is an added complication.
“[Martin] Hardie, [Nick] Phinn, [Kevin] Rutkiewicz and [Steven] Bell all started light jogging this week which was great to see,” he said. “They are progressing well but whether they will be ready for Hearts is another story.
“We will also be without Jason Thomson as we have a gentleman’s agreement with Hearts that he will not play against them. It is a squad game but there is no getting away from the fact that we have key players on the sidelines. We have been without them for a wee while now but we have still managed to get results.
“The players who have been selected are good enough but we just haven’t performed in the last fortnight.”
Dunfermline will be looking to recover from successive 4-0 defeats by Rangers and Aberdeen in their last two matches. Hearts, though, are buoyed by defeating Celtic 2-0 last weekend.
“It’s nice to go into an international break on the back of a good result, now we’re looking forward to Dunfermline,” explained the Tynecastle defender Danny Grainger.
“We want to keep the momentum going because our two games before the Celtic game were probably our worst performances of the season – St Johnstone and Ayr United. We got back on track with a win at home to Celtic and we want to get back out there and crack on again.”
Grainger became a father to a baby boy in the build-up to the Celtic encounter, which helped him overcome previous disappointment against Ayr United and St Johnstone.
“Missing the penalty [at Ayr] and losing to my old team, to go from that to one of the biggest highs of having my baby boy and beating Celtic was fantastic. We’ve enjoyed a few days at home seeing family,” he told the Hearts website.
“A bit of adrenalin and playing against the Old Firm got me through a lot of it. Now I’m looking forward to a few nights’ sleep before the Dunfermline game, hopefully!”
Grainger said he intends buying a Hearts kit for his son at the first opportunity. “They haven’t got one in his size at the club store so we’ll need to wait.”