{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"hearts","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-christophe-berra-disappointed-by-scotland-snub-1-4707833","id":"1.4707833","articleHeadline": "Hearts’ Christophe Berra disappointed by Scotland snub","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521441010000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts captain Christophe Berra today revealed his disappointment at not being included in Alex McLeish’s first Scotland squad for the upcoming friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707832.1521453919!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra has arguably been the best defender in the Ladbrokes Premiership this season"} ,"articleBody": "

Berra, 33, has arguably been the outstanding defender in the Ladbrokes Premiership since returning to his formative club last summer, and contributed to another clean sheet in the 3-0 weekend win over Partick Thistle.

An ankle injury meant the Tynecastle skipper has required injections in order to play in recent weeks. He revealed fitness issues wouldn’t have prevented him from at least joining up with the squad had he been selected, and that McLeish informed him beforehand of his intention to go with some younger players.

Experienced central defenders Charlie Mulgrew of English League One side Blackburn Rovers and Russell Martin were included – although the on-loan Rangers player has since withdrawn due to injury – but Berra remained philosophical.

“When you first get the call, you’re obviously disappointed but you learn the older you get that you just take it on the chin and get on with it,” said the 41-times capped player, who had started the past six Scotland matches. “Alex just phoned me and a few other players to say he was going to try the younger ones so it’s down to him. Football’s about opinions – if he fancies me, he fancies me and if he doesn’t, there’s not much I can do. I’ve always given my all for Scotland so all I can do is keep playing as well as I can for Hearts and keep up our good record defensively.

“The injury wouldn’t have me prevented joining up with the squad – you go along and assess how bad the ankle is, it just depends.”

Berra was also surprised that team-mate John Souttar wasn’t given a first call-up to the senior side.

“John’s had a great season,” he said. “[Alex McLeish] might not fancy him or might not have seen him that much, I don’t know. All John can do is play well for Hearts which he did again on Saturday. He’s got a lot of attributes and, if he keeps playing as he is for his club, the rest will take care of itself.”

The upside for Berra and Hearts is that the rest will allow him proper recovery time after recent running repairs.

“I did it about five or six weeks ago on the astro,” he recalled. “I was training fine then it would hurt now and then in a couple of games but the day before the Motherwell game I stretched it and needed an injection before gong for a scan.

“It’s bone bruising. It doesn’t sound that bad but it’s in between the joint. I weigh 90-odd kilos so it can be quite sore at times. I’ve been getting injections to take the edge of the pain but now I can rest it with a few days off.

“I was maybe going to miss the last couple of game but it improved during the week. I don’t like missing games – I want to play in every one. The scan confirmed it wasn’t going to get any worse so I was able to get through them.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707832.1521453919!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707832.1521453919!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Christophe Berra has arguably been the best defender in the Ladbrokes Premiership this season","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra has arguably been the best defender in the Ladbrokes Premiership this season","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707832.1521453919!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-boss-gets-reaction-now-he-wants-more-during-run-in-1-4707849","id":"1.4707849","articleHeadline": "Hearts boss gets reaction – now he wants more during run-in","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521441025000 ,"articleLead": "

The Hearts fans who headed to Tynecastle on Saturday would have been expecting a reaction to the previous week’s Edinburgh derby defeat at Easter Road, and their team duly produced one, blowing Partick Thistle away with three first-half goals.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707845.1521388189!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts striker Steven Naismith celebrates his goal"} ,"articleBody": "

Kyle Lafferty, Steven Naismith and John Souttar found the net to send Hearts on their way to a first win since February’s 3-0 Scottish Cup fifth-round triumph over St Johnstone. The three points leave Hearts in pole position to claim the remaining top-six place ahead of Motherwell. The Lanarkshire club do have a game in hand over the Jambos but, on paper, appear to have the tougher fixtures before the split. That being said, manager Craig Levein acknowledged that merely making the top six falls short of his and the club’s targets.

“I don’t want be sitting here talking about finishing in the top six,” he admitted. “Our ambition is to finish higher than that and try and become a regular competitor in the Europa League. I said it at the pre-match press conference – it’s been a tumultuous season. There’s been a lot of ups and downs and ins and outs, a lot of changes for the players to deal with as well.

“It’s been tough playing away from home for all those matches, then going to Murrayfield and obviously the financial situation with building the stand so there’s been so many things this season that have been a bit of a distraction.

“We don’t want to start looking ahead to next season yet. It’s important for our supporters that we finish the season strongly and Saturday was the first step in doing that. Hopefully, we can pick up another three points in a couple of weeks.”

Levein made three changes to the side that lost at Easter Road eight days previously. Aaron Hughes returned to slot in at left-back, with Danny Amankwaa and Don Cowie on the left and right of midfield respectively. Lewis Moore, Connor Randall and Harry Cochrane dropped to the bench.

Hearts were positive from the off, with Christophe Berra, Cowie and Naismith all going close with headers, with Thistle offering nothing in an attacking sense.

It therefore came as no surprise when the opening goal arrived for Hearts on 17 minutes, courtesy of some fine football. Joaquim Adao fired a penetrating pass in to Cowie’s feet, who was aware of Naismith’s position and found him with a brilliant first-time back heel. He in turn played in Lafferty and Hearts’ top scorer had plenty time to think about how to finish, and stayed cool to slot the ball between Tomas Cerny’s legs.

Having made a habit of grinding out 1-0 wins this season, Naismith’s quick-fire second provided a welcome cushion. The impressive Adao won possession on the right deep in Partick’s half and had the presence of mind to await Naismith’s arrival in the box before rolling him in for a simple close-range finish.

Cowie forced a decent save from Cerny before Hearts made the game safe on the stroke of half-time. Michael Smith’s long throw from the right was allowed to travel a long way, and Souttar took full advantage to turn it past Cerny for his first goal in maroon.

That effectively rendered the second half a virtual training exercise for Hearts. Thistle showed some improvement with Miles Storey forcing a couple of saves from Jon McLaughlin, but the damage had been done and Hearts were able to ease themselves through the remainder and into the international break.

While obviously pleased with the first-half display, Levein was reluctant to go overboard in his praise at the interval. “I didn’t say ‘well done’ at half-time because my experience is that if you say ‘well done’ they think they’ve done a good job and the game is over.

“The tempo of the match in the second half came down and I think that was the reason we didn’t add to our goals. Overall, though, I can’t complain.”

Adao’s performance and influence on the game was especially pleasing for Levein, who also singled out Danny Amankwaa’s continued improvement. “Joaquim was really good,” he appraised. “He’s still not up to 100 percent yet and he also got a couple of hefty challenges and that was one of the reasons he came off. He was feeling his knee a bit but I thought he was good, as were a lot of players.

“I thought young Danny for his first start in a while did enough to make me feel good about having him on the bench or starting him. He showed enough to make me feel happy about that.”

Opposite number Alan Archibald admitted his side weren’t at the races from the start and believed his players should have anticipated Hearts’ approach to the game far better than they did.

“We knew they were going to press us. They’re off the back of a defeat in the derby and they’re at home so we knew what was coming but we didn’t heed the warning,” he said. “It was individual errors mixed with our overall poor display. I just thought in the first 15, 20 minutes the goal was coming and we didn’t address it, which is bitterly disappointing.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707845.1521388189!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707845.1521388189!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts striker Steven Naismith celebrates his goal","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts striker Steven Naismith celebrates his goal","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707845.1521388189!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707846.1521388193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707846.1521388193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kyle Lafferty opens the scoring","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Lafferty opens the scoring","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707846.1521388193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707847.1521388196!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707847.1521388196!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Naismith bags Hearts' second goal","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Naismith bags Hearts' second goal","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707847.1521388196!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707848.1521388201!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707848.1521388201!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Souttar scores the third goal of the game","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Souttar scores the third goal of the game","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707848.1521388201!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/gary-mackay-experienced-players-key-to-strong-hearts-finish-1-4707851","id":"1.4707851","articleHeadline": "Gary Mackay: Experienced players key to strong Hearts finish","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521441010000 ,"articleLead": "

In light of the demoralising way the previous few weeks had gone, Saturday’s highly-impressive victory was much-needed in terms of restoring some optimism.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707850.1521389042!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts' 3-0 win over Partick restored some optimism amongst home fans"} ,"articleBody": "

The supporters showed their loyalty once again to turn out in good numbers on such a wintry day at a time when the team hadn’t been playing well and they were rewarded with a very positive performance.

Granted, Partick were very poor but I think a lot of that was down to the fact we started on the front foot and didn’t let them play. I just wish we’d played like that more often this season because we’ve only really seen that level of performance against Celtic and against St Johnstone in the Scottish Cup.

It was notable that the team that started on Saturday had seven full internationalists, plus another two in Marcus Godinho and Jon McLaughlin who have just been given their first call-ups, so there was a huge amount of experience in that team. Perhaps that is the way forward for Hearts at the moment as we try to end the season strongly and ensure the supporters have something to cheer in the remaining seven games.

Thankfully, it looks like we’ve done enough to secure a place in the top six so the focus has to be on trying to get back ahead of Kilmarnock.

The fact we’ve not lost at Tynecastle this season means we should be confident about taking something from all our remaining home games.

We always said when we were playing at Murrayfield earlier in the season that things would be better when we got back to Tynecastle, and in terms of home results, they have because we’ve picked up a lot of points there. It’s our strong home form that’s effectively got us into the top six, but now, if we want to kick on and challenge the teams above us next season, we really have to find a way of playing, and a mentality, that makes us more effective away from home.

Our next test on the road comes at Dundee, and that could be a really sticky game for us because they are scrapping to avoid finishing in the bottom two. In the meantime, I hope Jon McLaughlin makes his Scotland debut in the upcoming double-header. He fully merited his call-up on the back of his excellent form this season.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707850.1521389042!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707850.1521389042!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts' 3-0 win over Partick restored some optimism amongst home fans","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts' 3-0 win over Partick restored some optimism amongst home fans","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707850.1521389042!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/man-who-saved-hearts-writes-play-on-insanity-of-scottish-football-1-4707708","id":"1.4707708","articleHeadline": "Man who saved Hearts writes play on ‘insanity of Scottish football’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521352800000 ,"articleLead": "

When the observation is put to him that he is among the most influential people in Scottish football over the last 20 years, if not the most influential, Bryan Jackson coughs, splutters, then accepts the compliment with good grace.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707707.1521371157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Administrator Bryan Jackson giving updates on the financial situation at various football clubs has become a common sight. Picture: Jeff Holmes/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Put it this way, without his head for figures and ability to put the frighteners on supporters, this weekend’s fixture card would be robbed of some grand old names. The Scottish football landscape would likely look a lot different.

Heart of Midlothian v Partick Thistle would not be half as romantic-sounding because of the former’s demise. There might be no Motherwell, no Dundee, no Dunfermline. Clyde would be mourned like Third Lanark.

As a financial Red Adair, Jackson is a chief reason why all these clubs, and their fans, continue to harbour ambitions for the future after near-death experiences. An accountant, he does issue a reminder that in each case he was acting on behalf of creditors. But their interests were always best served by the continued existence of the club that owed the debt. Hence Jackson’s determination to keep them plugged into life support machines, despite encountering some bleak situations. Perhaps the direst, he says, was Hearts.

“There was £7,000 in the bank, £2 million of season ticket sales for a season that hadn’t started sold and the money all gone to pay prior debt,” recalls Jackson. “There was a month’s arrears of wages to players and non-players and no games because it was close season.”

As often happens, from misery has sprung art. Jackson, who is now a consultant at Johnston Carmichael, has taken advantage of his new semi-retired status to write a play based on his experiences in Scottish football, called The Pieman Cometh.

Despite Jackson’s links to Hearts, this is not a reference to Chris Robinson, the catering magnate who, during his time in charge of the Gorgie club, struck a deal to sell Tynecastle for housing. On day one of a job – he won’t say where – one colleague turned to Jackson, amid general financial ruin, and asked: “But what about the pies?” There was an ongoing pie supply issue.

“I said ‘listen, I don’t even know if we’ll be around in a few weeks!’” recalls Jackson. “So I was muddling along, forgetting about the pies. I then get an email from the same colleague that said: ‘the pie situation has come to a head’. And I thought: what a great title for a play.”

Written in conjunction with journalist David Belcher, who advised a slight re-working of the title, The Pieman Cometh begins a four-night run tonight at Oran Mor as part of the Glasgow International Comedy festival.

Jackson, 61, is keen to stress his play is dark comedy. It has to be when the subject involves him having to make people redundant.

“It’s about the insanity of Scottish football, good and bad,” he says. “Also I was trying to put out the message that it’s all very well I worked at seven clubs [including English club Portsmouth] and seven were saved. But people very quickly forget about the jobs that were lost, the creditors who did not get their dividend, and the knock-on effect for other jobs. People forget about the seriousness of it.”

Jobs were lost, regrettably, but clubs, and many people’s way of life, survived. It’s why Jackson merits being described as the most important man in Scottish football this millennium. “That’s a really nice thing to say,” he replies. “Quite frankly, I’ve never sat back and thought about it that way. I suppose, yes, I have been if I think about it, in some respects. These clubs are part of the establishment, part of society. I am delighted I got them over the line. I do feel part of Scottish football to an extent.”

Jackson never played professionally. However, he facilitated keeping the doors open at clubs so, he says, “other guys can go out and show their skills and keep the fans happy”. But that’s the thing. Supporters are not always happy, even following back-from-the-brink experiences. Fans quickly forget the pain and focus on success, to hang with the cost. “Dundee’s situation is a great example of fans’ aspirations,” he says. “How can they possibly be in debt again? The club was bought by fans because all the white knights had disappeared.

“The last four or five clubs I did were all bought by fans because no one else will buy clubs now, unless of course it is the wealthy people who want their toys, which ends up being the demise of the club when they get tired of it. When fans buy the club at least you know their agenda. When someone has never been involved with a club, what’s their agenda?”

Only Vladimir Romanov can answer that, wherever he is. “If I was being honest, I would say what he did was an absolute disgrace,” answers Jackson, who never met the former Hearts owner.

“He had no regard for the fact his actions nearly caused the extinction of a club with a heritage and nor did he care about the people there, the fans or the jobs or the players.”

The normally simple question – so what score do you look for first? – is a complicated one in Jackson’s case.

He grew up a Morton supporter because of his grandfather. When a friend signed for Celtic on an S-form he started to follow them. He still does, if he had to choose. However, his experiences over the last 20 years means he spreads his love around.

He looks out, in no particular order, for the results of Hearts, Dundee, Dunfermline, Clyde and Clydebank, the first club he ‘saved’ and who are now preparing for a return to senior football. If pressed, his deepest association is to Motherwell, where he stayed for two years. He would be happy to offer free consultation to Cowdenbeath, the latest Scottish club to fear the reaper’s scythe.

It’s particularly awkward when teams with whom he has forged a connection through adversity play each other, as often happens. Shortly after he started at Hearts, there was a benefit game v Dunfermline. He emerged into the directors’ box to be presented with a dilemma. On which side should he sit?

“I walked down the steps and sat on the steps in the middle,” he recalled. “Eventually I sat on the Dunfermline side since they were home team, and I was appointed there first!”

The Pieman Cometh: A Cautionary Football Tale is at Oran Mor in Glasgow, starting tonight for four nights to 21 March. Tickets from venue or 0844 8737353.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALAN PATTULLO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707707.1521371157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707707.1521371157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Administrator Bryan Jackson giving updates on the financial situation at various football clubs has become a common sight. Picture: Jeff Holmes/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Administrator Bryan Jackson giving updates on the financial situation at various football clubs has become a common sight. Picture: Jeff Holmes/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707707.1521371157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-3-0-partick-thistle-jambos-sweep-thistle-aside-with-first-half-goals-1-4707616","id":"1.4707616","articleHeadline": "Hearts 3 - 0 Partick Thistle: Jambos sweep Thistle aside with first half goals","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521306687000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts responded to last week’s Edinburgh derby defeat in the perfect manner, all the goals coming in the first half of a convincing 3-0 win over Partick Thistle at Tynecastle.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707615.1521306682!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts' Steven Naismith scores to make it 2-0. Picture: SNS/Rob Casey"} ,"articleBody": "

Strikes from Kyle Lafferty, Steven Naismith and a first Hearts goal for John Souttar had the points secured by half-time, ensuring a first win since the Scottish Cup quarter-final victory over St. Johnstone last month.

An early Christophe Berra header from a Michael Smith long throw was hurriedly thumped away from goal before Lafferty tried his luck from an angled free-kick, that was admittedly tame enough for Tomas Cerny to gather with ease.

Danny Amankwaa’s in-swinging cross from the left was met by Don Cowie, but the midfielder was unable to keep his header down and it looped on to the top of Cerny’s net.

A Lafferty flick on from Smith’s deep free-kick was directed towards Steven Naismith, but like Cowie couldn’t quite direct his header on target.

The opener came after 17 minutes courtesy of a fine move. Joaquim Adao fired a pass in to Naismith, who’s first-time back heel sent Lafferty racing through. The Northern Irishman stayed composed to slot through Cerny’s legs for his 17th goal of the season.

It was 2-0 just four minutes later. Adao won possession on the right deep in Partick’s half and showed good awareness to wait and roll the ball in to the arriving Naismith’s path, who dispatched past Cerny from close range.

Cowie almost made it three just after the half hour after some neat link up play between Amankwaa and Lafferty, but Cerny got down well to hold his low drive across goal.

Lafferty was then looking for a penalty after he felt he was tripped at the angle of the box, but Euan Anderson saw it differently and booked the striker for simulation.

A dominant first half display was capped with a third goal two minutes before the break as Hearts put the game to bed. Smith’s long throw from the right was met by Souttar, who forced home his first goal of the season.

The second half began just as positively as the first, Naismith teeing up Cowie for a well-struck drive that fizzed narrowly over Cerny’s crossbar.

Jon McLaughlin was forced in to his first real action of the game shortly after when he saved Kris Doolan’s near post attempt before Chris Erskine scooped the rebound over.

A slip from Godinho while the last man back put Miles Storey in one-on-one with McLaughlin, but the recent Scotland call-up stood up well to parry away for a corner.

He then denied Storey again, showing swift reactions to hold the Welshman’s flicked header at the neat post.

Hearts were content to see things out from then, the work done in the first 45 ensuring as comfortable an afternoon they’ve had at Tynecastle in some time.

Join our Facebook group Our Edinburgh to share images and news from and around the Capital

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ROSS PILCHER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707615.1521306682!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707615.1521306682!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts' Steven Naismith scores to make it 2-0. Picture: SNS/Rob Casey","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts' Steven Naismith scores to make it 2-0. Picture: SNS/Rob Casey","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707615.1521306682!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/timing-is-everything-as-jon-mclaughlin-reflects-on-scotland-call-up-1-4707315","id":"1.4707315","articleHeadline": "Timing is everything as Jon McLaughlin reflects on Scotland call-up","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521268221000 ,"articleLead": "

Jon McLaughlin feels his maiden Scotland call-up owes plenty to being in the right place at the right time.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707314.1521224837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jon McLaughlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The 30-year-old Hearts goalkeeper had performed consistently for Burton Albion in previous seasons without ever having his name mentioned in connection with international recognition. McLaughlin believes this was down do a combination of the form of Craig Gordon, Allan McGregor and David Marshall, who have dominated the No.1 jersey between them for the past decade, as well as the fact that hardly anybody in his homeland knew he was actually Scottish.

McLaughlin was born in Edinburgh to Scots parents but speaks with a strong Yorkshire accent after moving south as a child and spending most of his life in England. He senses that it is only in the past seven months, since moving to Hearts, that the Scottish public, and most importantly national team management, have become aware that he is both a bona fide Scot and a goalkeeper of substance. Crucially, his emergence as the standout custodian in the Scottish Premiership has coincided with an injury to Gordon and the fact Marshall is playing understudy to McGregor at Hull City at a time when new Scotland manager Alex McLeish has made a conscious effort to freshen the squad with new blood for this month’s friendly double-header against Costa Rica and Hungary .

In short, the stars have aligned perfectly for McLaughlin to earn his unexpected crack at international football. “There was never really any talk of me getting called up when I was in England,” he said. “If there is any talk you don’t hear it as much when you’re down there because you’re not on the radar as much. It sounds silly but maybe there were a lot of people who didn’t realise I was Scottish.

“That’s been one benefit of joining Hearts and being right up here in the centre of everything. It helps you get on the radar more. Last year in the Championship I was playing well. It’s a very difficult league and I was in a side who were down near the bottom so of course we weren’t doing as well. But the years before that we had won back-to-back promotions, we had done really well and personally I had played really well.”

McLaughlin explained how even Paul Gallacher, his goalkeeping coach at Hearts, wasn’t aware of the fact he is a fully-fledged Scot.

“Even some of the people at the club now were asking, Gall was saying: ‘What’s the connection?’ They hear the accent and because I’ve never been involved, but I’m 100 per cent Scottish, everyone in my family is from Edinburgh, I was born here and all the rest of my family are here but I just don’t have the accent. Hopefully this will convince everyone.”

McLaughlin knows that the form of Gordon, McGregor and Marshall has been a barrier to his involvement over the past decade. “It’s been a real position of strength for Scotland for a long time,” he said. “There’s some massive experience and perhaps I’ve been fortunate with Craig Gordon’s injury and you’ve got McGregor and Marshall, two good goalkeepers playing at the same club. McGregor is playing at the moment so things like this again possibly play into your hands. With Jordan Archer, McGregor and myself playing, it might have made their decision a bit easier.”

McLaughlin admits he didn’t think he’d ever get a Scotland call-up until the last few months when he started to earn widespread recognition for his part in Hearts’ run of clean sheets through the winter.

“It’s everyone’s dream to represent their country but I’ve come from non-league football and became a professional very late on - I was just about to turn 21 by the time I turned professional and started playing in the lower leagues. I’ve never been involved in any national side at any group so it’s not something you worry too much about.

“Speaking with my wife before the call-up, I said I had had a long career, I’m 30 years old and if I didn’t get called up that’s just the norm, it’s a continuation, nothing has changed. So, of course, when people start talking about it and it starts to look like a genuine possibility, you want it to happen more than anything. But if it hadn’t happened then nothing would have changed.

“And when you talk about international football, the reason you are so proud is because it’s a huge achievement. There’s no shame in not achieving it. But now I have it’s a big thing for myself and my family.”

McLaughlin has a new contract offer on the table from Hearts, but is openly weighing up his options for next season. He acknowledges that the fact he has earned a call-up so soon after moving to Tynecastle will play a part in his thinking.

“It’s another factor to weigh in, what is next for your career?” he said.

“You have to think long and hard about where the right places are to go. Last summer, I could have stayed in England and taken an easier option, but this was one that stood out because there was much more potential, and that’s ended up being true. Moving into the summer, these are things you need to factor in - if you move on somewhere else, what kind of impact is it going to have on your overall career.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707314.1521224837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707314.1521224837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jon McLaughlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jon McLaughlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707314.1521224837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/craig-levein-lays-down-the-gauntlet-to-hearts-players-1-4707325","id":"1.4707325","articleHeadline": "Craig Levein lays down the gauntlet to Hearts players","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521268202000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Levein has challenged Hearts to bounce back from a chastening fortnight and regain some momentum in the closing months of the season.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707324.1521225498!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein is glad Hearts are back at Tynecastle this afternoon"} ,"articleBody": "

After a strong run of form from November to February, the Tynecastle side’s last two fixtures have resulted in damaging away defeats by Motherwell and Hibs in the Scottish Cup and Premiership respectively. Those back-to-back setbacks have exasperated supporters and effectively left Hearts with only fifth place in the league to play for in their remaining eight matches.

Levein knows the situation is far from ideal, and has called for a strong reaction from his team, starting against Partick Thistle at Tynecastle today.

“We’ve had two fairly hefty knocks, the cup one probably bigger because in the second half we were on top and we lost a goal when a boy (Carl McHugh) who’s never kicked a ball with his right foot puts one in the top corner from 25 yards,” the manager told the Evening News.

“Obviously losing to Hibs at Easter Road is tough. But the thing now is to focus on what we can do in the next three games to make sure we get into the top six. Am I happy with just making the top six? No. But considering everything that’s happened, with Ian (Cathro) leaving, Jon (Daly) taking temporary charge, and then me coming in, and the stand project which has made things tough, we’ve had a lot to deal with. The supporters just want to see us win and I want to see us win. So my task is to finish this season strongly and get us in a better position next season. It’s that simple.”

Hearts currently sit sixth in the Premiership, four points ahead of a Motherwell side who have a game in hand. Levein is hopeful that today’s return to Tynecastle, where Hearts haven’t lost all season, can help get them back on track after five games without a win. “It’s a home game and there are reasons to be confident going into it,” said Levein. “Our home record is good. We have some injuries but it seems like we’ve been dealing with that situation all season.”

Among those missing through injury are on-loan pair David Milinkovic and Demetri Mitchell. Levein confirmed that Milinkovic will be sidelined for another couple of weeks with a knee problem, while Mitchell, also afflicted by a knee injury, is unlikely to be available until May. Regarding the prospect of the Manchester United left-back remaining at Tynecastle beyond the expiry of his loan deal in the summer, Levein said: “I haven’t had a definitive conversation about that yet but rest assured we’d like to keep him.”

Captain Christophe Berra is expected to play despite taking painkilling injections for an ankle problem recently. John Souttar, who has been troubled by a hamstring problem recently, is also likely to play, while Don Cowie could return. Harry Cochrane, who sustained a muscle injury at Easter Road last week, is out with long-term absentees Arnaud Djoum, Jamie Brandon and Rory Currie.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707324.1521225498!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707324.1521225498!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Craig Levein is glad Hearts are back at Tynecastle this afternoon","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein is glad Hearts are back at Tynecastle this afternoon","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707324.1521225498!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/maroon-memories-beattie-and-suso-strike-decisive-derby-goals-1-4706936","id":"1.4706936","articleHeadline": "Maroon Memories: Beattie and Suso strike decisive derby goals","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521267900000 ,"articleLead": "

A second goal in two starts for Hearts star Craig Beattie and a solo Suso Santana stunner secured victory over great rivals Hibs at Tynecastle, condemning the visitors to a tenth consecutive Edinburgh derby without a win.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706934.1521205987!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Suso Santana, right, celebrates scoring his goal in the 94th minute with team-mates and fans at Tynecastle"} ,"articleBody": "

Beattie, enjoying his first taste of this fixture, slipped a first-half strike through the legs of Graham Stack following a sensational Ian Black cross-field pass.

Late substitute Santana added some gloss to the result, with a splendid individual goal, darting from the halfway line before curling a fine effort past Stack.

The lacklustre visitors’ best chances came through Matt Doherty in the second period.

The result leaves the Easter Road outfit still without a win in three years in this fixture, and does nothing to ease Hibs’ relegation worries as they remain just four points ahead of Dunfermline at the foot of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

Hearts remain sixth in the standings, but have moved to within one point of St Johnstone and Dundee United in the chase for Europa League football.

The home side showed three changes from the side which drew 2-2 win St Mirren in the William Hill Scottish Cup last weekend.

Darren Barr replaced Marius Zaliukas and Jamie Hamill came in for Ryan McGowan. Meanwhile, Hearts top-scorer with 10 goals Rudi Skacel was drafted in for Adrian Mrowiec.

Tom Soares and David Wotherspoon were brought in by Hibs to replace suspended duo Ivan Sproule and Isaiah Osbourne in the only two changes from the 2-0 win over Ayr.

Pat Fenlon’s side included six players making their Edinburgh derby debut, with George Francomb, James McPake, Pa Kujabi, Jorge Claros and Roy O’Donovan joining Soares for this tempestuous fixture.

The first incident of note was fittingly physical, with a clash of heads between Francomb and Skacel leaving both dazed and the latter with a head wound.

Yet it was Francomb who clearly came off worse, having to be replaced by Matt Doherty.

It took 13 minutes for the first real opportunity, with Soares diverting a wicked Ian Black delivery a matter of inches over his own crossbar.

A wayward Beattie effort followed, heading wide from a Driver cross.

With the hosts in the ascendancy, Graham Stack was forced into action. The former Arsenal trainee fisted away a towering header from stand-in skipper Webster, following a super Danny Grainger corner.

Against the run of play, Hibs could have claimed the lead with the half-hour mark approaching.

Some nice interplay between the previously quiet Leigh Griffiths and Pa Kujabi set the Gambian left-back free inside the box. His delivery across the face of goal was tantalising but there were no takers.

And seconds later Fenlon’s men were behind. A stunning 50-yard diagonal ball from Black set Beattie through on goal and the former Celtic striker held off the challenge of 
Doherty brilliantly before sliding a low effort past Stack.

Beattie, a constant nuisance to the Hibs backline, volleyed over the bar just before half-time after a long Skacel clearance was inadequately headed away by Paul Hanlon.

Hibs emerged with more vigour after the break, and Matt Doherty saw two headers - within seconds of each other - cleared off the line, with Beattie, then Driver, in the right place at the right time.

With less than 20 minutes to play Griffiths wasted a decent chance for the Easter Road outfit. From a nicely placed free-kick from 25 yards the Scotland under-21 international fired wastefully over the bar.

Five minutes later Hibs should have been level. Griffiths delivered a sumptuous clipped cross into the box but, from point-blank range, Roy O’Donovan’s glancing header was saved by the legs of Jamie MacDonald.

It would prove to be the last chance for Fenlon’s men, and it was Hearts who would end the game in style.

Santana, on as a late replacement for Skacel, picked up the ball on halfway, danced past two challenges on his way to the box and curled a delightful effort past Stack.

Hearts: MacDonald, Hamill, Barr, Webster, Grainger, Taouil, Beattie, Black (McGowan 79), Driver, Skacel (Santana 90), Elliott (Robinson 44). Subs Not Used: Ridgers, Novikovas, Glen, Holt.

Hibs: Stack, Francomb (Doherty 9), McPake, Hanlon, Kujabi, Wotherspoon (O’Connor 61), Claros, Soares, Stevenson, O’Donovan (Doyle 79), Griffiths. Subs Not Used: Brown, Booth, O’Hanlon, Towell.

Ref: Craig Thomson

Att: 15,128

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Hearts 2, Hibs 0 (SPL). Sunday, March 18, 2012"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706934.1521205987!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706934.1521205987!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Suso Santana, right, celebrates scoring his goal in the 94th minute with team-mates and fans at Tynecastle","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Suso Santana, right, celebrates scoring his goal in the 94th minute with team-mates and fans at Tynecastle","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706934.1521205987!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706935.1521205989!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706935.1521205989!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Craig Beattie punches the air after opening the scoring","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Beattie punches the air after opening the scoring","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706935.1521205989!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-v-partick-thistle-match-preview-and-probable-line-ups-1-4707184","id":"1.4707184","articleHeadline": "Hearts v Partick Thistle: Match preview and probable line-ups","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521218789000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts host Partick Thistle tomorrow targeting a positive result as the Jambos look to put space between themselves and Motherwell and close the gap on Kilmarnock.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707183.1521218783!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Starting berth: Danny Amankwaa. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

Hearts are unbeaten at Tynecastle on league duty since a 2-1 loss to Kilmarnock on November 5, but are on a winless run of five matches.

The Jags are on a six-game winless run, and have only won one away game all season - a 3-1 victory over St Johnstone in late January.

Hearts are without Demetri Mitchell, Jamie Brandon, Rory Currie and David Milinkovic, who are all out with knee injuries, while Arnaud Djoum (Achilles) and Harry Cochrane (muscle) are also sidelined.

Craig Levein is likely to keep faith with youngster Marcus Godinho at right back, while Michael Smith is likely to assume left back duties despite being deployed as a defensive midfielder against Hibs last week.

READ MORE - Danny Amankwaa desperate to show Hearts fans what he can do

Christophe Berra is expected to play after a scan on his ankle showed no major damage and Danny Amankwaa is in line to make just his second start for Hearts in place of Milinkovic.

Partick have no injury worries apart from Stuart Bannigan, who is still out with a knee injury.

Connor Sammon is ineligible to face his parent club, so Kris Doolan will likely step in.

READ MORE - Craig Levein: Malaury Martin is just not my type of player

The Jags kept a clean sheet against Aberdeen last weekend and will be looking for a repeat performance - and the three points - as they bid to keep pace with tenth-placed Dundee.

Alan Archibald is likely to go 4-4-2 at Tynecastle, with Christie Elliot, Danny Devine, Baily Cargill and Callum Booth in the back four; a midfield of Chris Erskine, Andrew McCarthy, Martin Woods and Steven Lawless and Doolan and Miles Storey leading the attack.

Four of the last five meetings between these two teams have ended all square; with three of those draws coming at Tynecastle. Hearts’ last victory against Partick came at Firhill, with Tony Watt grabbing a last minute winner, while their last win at Tynecastle came back in the 2015/16 season, when a Djoum goal handed Hearts the three points.

Last five meetings: Hearts 1-1 Partick Thistle; Partick Thistle 1-1 Hearts; Hearts 2-2 Partick Thistle; Partick Thistle 2-0 Hearts; Hearts 1-1 Partick Thistle.

Probable Hearts team: (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; Godinho, Souttar, Berra, Smith; Callachan, Adao; Cowie, Naismith, Amankwaa; Lafferty. Subs from: Hamilton, Hughes, Randall, McDonald, Henderson, Moore, Buaben, Irving.

Probable Partick team (4-4-2): Cerny; Elliot, Devine, Cargill, Booth; Erskine, McCarthy, Woods, Lawless; Storey, Doolan. Subs from: Scully, Keown, Barton, Spittal, McGinn, Edwards, Osman, Penrice.

Referee: Euan Anderson

Kick-off: 3pm

Odds: Hearts 6/5 Draw 21/10 Partick 14/5 (Odds correct at the time of writing)

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707183.1521218783!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707183.1521218783!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Starting berth: Danny Amankwaa. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Starting berth: Danny Amankwaa. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707183.1521218783!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-well-down-the-road-with-much-of-summer-recruitment-1-4706566","id":"1.4706566","articleHeadline": "Hearts ‘well down the road’ with much of summer recruitment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521181856000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Levein has revealed that he has already kicked off efforts to reshape Hearts’ squad this summer, with the manager anticipating in the region of seven to ten new arrivals.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706564.1521142312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein wants players who suit his style"} ,"articleBody": "

The Tynecastle side have had a high turnover of players in recent years and more changes are likely at the end of what will have been a second underwhelming campaign in succession.

“We started our recruitment process in January so we are well down the road with quite a lot of things,” said Levein. “We know what we need, well I think I know what we need, and we are working towards that. It is not a still picture, it is a moving scene all the time. We also have other loan situations which I would look to, with Joaquim Adao, Demetri Mitchell and Steven Naismith, who we would like to keep, but that might not be possible.”

Levein, who confirmed that Allan McGregor and Scott Bain are two goalkeepers being monitored in the event that the out-of-contract Jon McLaughlin declines the chance to stay at Hearts, is unfazed by the level of work he will have to carry out in his first full summer transfer window as manager as he bids to build a squad more suited to his own style of play.

“Everywhere I’ve been I’ve had to ship loads of players out,” he said. “It’s important to understand that there’s a way I want my team to play. At this moment in time, we don’t have everything I need to do that. We need to get to that point. We need to get the core of the team right. If we do that and then start adding things it will become much easier.

“I was really pleased with the recruitment in January but there will be a shuffle again because what Ian (Cathro) and I wanted to do are completely different things. I’d rather do an overhaul over two windows than four because I want to get to the point where we have a secure base to build on.

“There will be quite significant changes this summer. There has to be. I can’t do what I want to do with what I have got just now. We need to get a core in the team that plays every week. That will be the starting point. Then we can add what I think we need to be successful in this league. I’m very clear on what we need.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706564.1521142312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706564.1521142312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Craig Levein wants players who suit his style","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein wants players who suit his style","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706564.1521142312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/craig-levein-malaury-martin-is-just-not-my-type-of-player-1-4706593","id":"1.4706593","articleHeadline": "Craig Levein: Malaury Martin is just not my type of player","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521181845000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Levein today moved to clarify the reason for the ongoing omission of Malaury Martin by explaining that the French midfielder is simply not his type of player.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706592.1521146278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Malaury Martin hasn't made the Hearts matchday squad since December"} ,"articleBody": "

The 29-year-old joined Hearts a year past January when Ian Cathro was head coach and remains contracted to the Tynecastle club until summer 2020 after being handed a three-and-a-half-year deal upon arriving from Norwegian club Lillestrøm.

By his own admission, Martin struggled to make an impact in his early months in Edinburgh as his new team endured an alarming dip of form in the second half of last season. The player spoke in the summer of his desire to start afresh this term, but Martin hasn’t made a single competitive start and hasn’t appeared in the team since being given a one-minute cameo by caretaker Jon Daly in the 1-0 win at Kilmarnock in August.

Part of his absence in the intervening seven months can be attributed to an injury that sidelined him from October to December, but Martin has been fit for the past three months and has made the match-day squad only once in that time – for the goalless draw at Aberdeen at the end of December.

Some supporters have questioned why Martin – who scored a penalty for the development team in midweek – has been unable to get a chance at a time when Hearts have been hit hard by injuries in midfield, but Levein, who was director of football when the former Monaco and Middlesbrough player signed 14 months ago, explained that he has simply been a victim of the summer managerial change undertaken at Tynecastle when he stepped in to replace Cathro at the helm in late August.

“We’ve got other midfield players that I feel can do a better job than him at this moment in time,” Levein explained to the Evening News when asked about Martin’s situation. “The type of player he is, I want to play a different way. It was Ian’s decision to sign him, to help him play the way he wanted to play, which I supported and which made sense. But I want to play with more dynamic players in midfield. Basically, he’s the type of player Ian wanted his team to play with but he’s not the type of player I want my team to play with. He just doesn’t fit in with what I want to do.”

Levein insists relations between he and Martin remain cordial, although the Frenchman appears destined to leave Hearts long before the expiry of his contract.

“He’s nearly left a couple of times already,” said Levein. “He nearly left at the end of August and he nearly left in January but it just didn’t work for him. He’s got a contract here. It’s not his fault. He came here under the premise that he would play under Ian and then the manager changed. It’s a normal situation. Everything’s amicable. He’s a nice lad, I don’t have any problems with him at all. He played in the 20s on Tuesday and he’s training away with no problems.”

Martin’s situation – signed on a long-term deal then barely used – is viewed by critics as a microcosm of why Hearts have lost their way in the last couple of years, with many placing the blame for the high level of recent player turnover at Levein’s door. The manager, who has had just one full transfer window since becoming manager, said: “People think I signed every player of the last three years, but that’s not how it works. The director of football’s role is not to tell the manager who to sign – it’s to ask the manager why he’s signing certain players. And if it makes sense, you support them. No matter what I say, people will judge me how they want to judge me. I’m not asking to be judged or not judged – that’s not my thing. There are a lot of people who do know how things work, and there are others who just want to keep regurgitating the same old rubbish.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706592.1521146278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706592.1521146278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Malaury Martin hasn't made the Hearts matchday squad since December","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Malaury Martin hasn't made the Hearts matchday squad since December","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706592.1521146278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/danny-amankwaa-desperate-to-show-hearts-fans-what-he-can-do-1-4706514","id":"1.4706514","articleHeadline": "Danny Amankwaa desperate to show Hearts fans what he can do","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521181838000 ,"articleLead": "

While many observers are of the view that Hearts’ season is effectively over, Danny Amankwaa feels his campaign is just getting started.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706513.1521134715!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Amankwaa is feeling in good physical shape after Hearts put him through a spell of intense fitness work"} ,"articleBody": "

A run of five games without a win over the past four weeks has served to rule the Tynecastle side out of the race for a European place and end their participation in the Scottish Cup.

Although a scrap for fifth place is unlikely to be getting anyone in Gorgie overly excited in the coming weeks, Hearts’ remaining eight Premiership games are anything but meaningless for Amankwaa as he strives to make a belated impact in maroon.

Since arriving in late January from FC Copenhagen, the 24-year-old Danish winger has started only one game out of a possible nine for Hearts – the 1-0 home win over St Johnstone five weeks ago – after he was temporarily removed from the match-day equation in order to increase his fitness levels.

Amankwaa, having been badly restricted by injury in recent seasons, was happy to undergo a mini pre-season with fitness staff at Riccarton in order to get himself equipped for the rigours of Scottish football and, after coming off the bench in each of the last three matches, he now feels ready to start making his presence felt.

“We don’t have many games left but hopefully I can start playing from the start and show people how good I am,” he told the Evening News.

“I feel a lot sharper now than when I first arrived. I knew when I came in I wasn’t 100 per cent. Before I signed, I had just come back from the holidays (winter break) and I hadn’t trained properly for a week because my old team was away at training camp and I wasn’t away with them so I was only working in the gym in that time.

“I knew I needed time to get up to speed but I just wanted to play when I first signed. In the first couple of games, my technique was still there but my running capacity wasn’t, so after one or two sprints, I was tired and needed a breather.

“The manager could see I needed a bit of extra fitness work and we decided I should come out of the team for a couple of weeks. He wants me to show how good I am and I can only do that when I am fully fit.

“I don’t want to go out in front of new fans and everybody thinks I’m not very good, so I thought it was a good idea from the manager. It was really intense work I did. I did a lot of extra running with the fitness coach after training. It was like pre-season. It was hard and it wasn’t much fun but I feel much better now and I’m ready to show it. I also need match fitness now, but that will come.”

Amankwaa knows Craig Levein took a gamble when he signed him given his injury problems in recent seasons. He is well aware that the manager demands high work-rate from all his players and has spent the past month working diligently to ensure he equipped to go past opponents and also adequately fulfil his defensive duties.

“It’s very important that the manager believes in you and I feel like he believes in me,” said Amankwaa. “I want to show him he can rely on me. I have had to do the extra running because I was not fit enough to do the extra running defensively. I could do the offensive stuff okay, but the defensive stuff was a bit of a struggle. When I’m fit, I’m totally comfortable doing my defensive duties. I don’t like a guy just running past me – that annoys me. I will always track back.”

Given that he hasn’t had a proper chance to showcase his qualities since arriving in Edinburgh, Amankwaa took the opportunity to recap what type of player he is. In short, he believes he can make Hearts a more dangerous attacking force when playing at full pelt.

“I am stronger on my right foot but I like to play on the left,” said Amankwaa, who hopes to start against Partick Thistle at Tynecastle tomorrow. “I like to cut inside, play one-twos and look for openings to create rather than go to the line. I also like playing through the middle because I think I’m a goalscorer but I haven’t shown enough of that side of my game. Hopefully, I can show it here. My aim is to chip in with lots of assists and goals.”

Despite his shortage of action so far, Amankwaa has enjoyed his early weeks in Edinburgh. Having signed a contract until summer 2019, he is already looking forward to next season. “I like it here and I like the city,” said Amankwaa.

“My team-mates have been showing me around – I like it. I am happy with my decision to come here. I am alone here just now but my girlfriend will come over after the international break.

“Next season is very important for me. I will be here from the start (as opposed to arriving mid-season) which is very important for me, so I’m looking forward to that.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706513.1521134715!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706513.1521134715!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Danny Amankwaa is feeling in good physical shape after Hearts put him through a spell of intense fitness work","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Amankwaa is feeling in good physical shape after Hearts put him through a spell of intense fitness work","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706513.1521134715!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/craig-levein-to-make-between-7-and-10-new-signings-this-summer-1-4706450","id":"1.4706450","articleHeadline": "Craig Levein to make ‘between 7 and 10’ new signings this summer","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521129393000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts could be set for another summer of upheaval after manager Craig Levein admitted he is looking to add up to 10 new players.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706448.1521129655!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Ajer contract | Naismith ‘open to permanent Hearts deal’ | Celtic eye Majer

The Jambos have had a frustratingly inconsistent season after former boss Ian Cathro made wholesale changes to the playing squad before losing his job.

Cathro brought in 11 new players last summer and the uncertainty that brought translated onto the pitch.

With his side’s campaign in danger of fizzling out, Levein says he is already looking at how he can strengthen ahead of next season.

He said: “From my point of view, it has been a tumultuous year. I think there are a number of areas we need to improve on in the football department, and that’s something I’m addressing at this moment in time.”

When asked how many players he thought he would need to bring in, Levein said: “It can change, (but) somewhere between seven and 10.

“It’s a normal situation. Going into the summer you have players out of contract and some of them will leave, some might leave that you don’t want to leave, some might be moved on and it’s just normal.”

He added: “We have begun the recruitment process since January, and we are making progress on a number of fronts.”

Hearts’ well-documented financial problems in the past have meant they have often had to rely on loan deals to bring players in, while the development of the new stand at Tynecastle has also been a significant outlay by the club. Although he is aware he will not get a huge amount to spend in the summer, Levein is confident he will be backed in the market.

“We won’t get to the position where we are throwing huge amounts of money at the playing budget because the club will be run frugally,” he said. “But I can only stress that I’ve been happy with the money that’s been spent on the squad.

“I don’t expect a reduction.”

On the pitch the Jambos are on a run of five games without a win and are in danger of slipping out of the top six but will be boosted by the presence of captain Christophe Berra against Partick Thistle this weekend.

The experienced defender was left out of Alex McLeish’s first Scotland squad and there were concerns an ongoing ankle problem had forced him to pull out, but Levein revealed his exclusion was not down to fitness.

He said: “I don’t believe it was through injury. He has had a little knock and has played with an injection in the last couple of games, but he is fit and will be involved for us on Saturday.

“He has a little problem but nothing to worry about.”

READ MORE - Where next for Hearts after four seasons of overhaul?

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Will Jackson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706448.1521129655!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706448.1521129655!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706448.1521129655!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5644148758001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/norwich-loanee-steven-naismith-open-to-permanent-hearts-move-1-4705661","id":"1.4705661","articleHeadline": "Norwich loanee Steven Naismith open to permanent Hearts move","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521104054000 ,"articleLead": "

Steven Naismith would happily convert his Hearts loan into a permanent transfer if Norwich City let him leave Carrow Road.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705660.1521104051!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steven Naismith"} ,"articleBody": "

The striker revealed to the Evening News today that he is open to an extended stay at Tynecastle if both clubs can reach a deal.

Norwich have Naismith contracted until summer 2019 but he is surplus to requirements there, hence a five-month loan move to Hearts in January. After nine appearances and one goal in maroon, the 31-year-old explained he is happy in Edinburgh and willing to stay beyond the summer.

He admitted much will depend on Norwich and their demands. They paid Everton £8.5million to sign him in January 2016 and he remains their joint record signing alongside Dutchman Ricky van Wolfswinkel. They may look to recoup some of that fee through a sale this summer, which would all but remove Hearts from the equation.

His vast salary in England is also a potential stumbling block, but Naismith is keen to at least explore the possibility of becoming a bona fide Hearts player.

“A lot is going to be up to Norwich to be honest,” he said in an exclusive interview. “I’ve got another year on my contract there and they’ve moved in a different direction, undoubtedly. They will have a say in it but I would definitely be open to staying in Scotland and staying at Hearts.

“I’ve loved every minute of it here and the club have been great with me. Probably the biggest thing is they have a very good squad of players with ability and who are also good characters to be around.

“I’m open-minded to anything at the moment. I have enjoyed it here. It’s a totally different set-up in terms of what I have been at before. That brings its own new challenges but also good points as well. Norwich will have a big say in what happens in the summer but I’m definitely open-minded.

“At the moment, I stay until the end of the season. The manager said at the start of it all that he wanted me to come in and show, through the experiences I’ve had, what he would expect from players day-to-day.

“That means your attitude before training, what you do afterwards, how you conduct yourself around the place. He wanted to give the younger players an insight into what it’s like at higher levels.”

Organising his club future will be the player’s main priority after the season’s final ball is kicked. He also has his international career to consider.

Naismith last played for Scotland 12 months ago in the 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Slovenia and is eager to add to his 45 caps. Encouragingly, the first of those was given to him 11 years ago by Alex McLeish during his previous Hampden tenure.

The reappointed national coach left him out of the squad for this month’s friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary in favour of younger forwards like Jason Cummings and Oliver McBurnie. That does not necessarily mean the end of Naismith’s days in dark blue, for he is determined to play his way back into McLeish’s thoughts.

“I would never shut the door on Scotland, definitely not,” he said. “It’s one of the proudest things I did in my career. Don’t get me wrong, as you get older your attributes change in terms of how you play. You form into a different type of player.

“When I made my debut for Scotland, I was a different type of player to what I am today. That might open some doors for me, or it might not. You just try to do well and if the manager calls upon you, then you’ll be ready for it.

“It’s something I’ll always push for. I’ll try to keep doing well to hopefully get selected again. I expected the manager to come in and introduce some new faces and put his own stamp on it. He’ll change it up and drive it forward, not only the way he wants but maybe also touching on a few things he did in the past as national manager.

“He gave me my first cap and, fortunately for me, he has got a bit of knowledge of what I can do.”

Hearts can play their part in potentially helping him return to the international fray for end-of-season friendlies against Peru and Mexico. Naismith agreed to the Tynecastle loan with the thought of rekindling his Scotland career firmly in his mind.

“When I decided I had to go somewhere to get playing in January, I wanted to firstly make sure I was playing every week. Then you’ve got to hope you get recognised for the national team,” he added.

“I’ve had some great experiences with Scotland, and also some tough times. I love every minute of being involved with the international set-up. I love meeting up, spending time with the squad and also what you learn.”

McLeish is taking the opportunity to assess several prospering new recruits – Naismith’s Hearts colleague Jon McLaughlin amongst them – this month.

Others are likely to be given an opportunity in the summer tour to South and Central America before the squad for the inaugural UEFA Nations League is finalised.

Naismith is banking on more changes and another opportunity to prove he still has the required attributes to thrive at international level.

“I know how quick it can change. Since I made my international debut, there are probably more changes within international squads than ever before. It’s a lot more about form, how you’re doing at a specific time, as well as injuries.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4705660.1521104051!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705660.1521104051!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Steven Naismith","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steven Naismith","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4705660.1521104051!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5644148758001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/surgery-fears-as-hearts-captain-christophe-berra-has-scan-on-ankle-1-4705681","id":"1.4705681","articleHeadline": "Surgery fears as Hearts captain Christophe Berra has scan on ankle","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521095409000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts captain Christophe Berra has undergone a scan to determine whether he needs surgery on his injured ankle. Tynecastle officials hope to alleviate the problem without an operation and were today anxiously awaiting the results.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705679.1521046328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra has taken injections to play with his ankle injury. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Berra, 33, has taken pain-killing injections to play in Hearts’ last two matches against Motherwell and Hibs after going over on his ankle in training. The injury is not subsiding and manager Craig Levein is keeping his fingers crossed his centre-back will not require surgery.

“That’s one of the reasons we’re getting it scanned, to discover the extent of it,” Levein told the Evening News. “Christophe is a tough boy and tends to play on even when he has an injury. He took an injection to play in the last two matches. That’s just him, he wants to play. We’re trying to ascertain what the problem is.”

Levein is also contending with doubts over several other key men ahead of this weekend’s Premiership match with Partick Thistle at Tynecastle. The match could be pivotal to the Edinburgh club’s hopes of securing a top-six place but a number of influential players are struggling.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we don’t end up with a major problem for the weekend,” said Levein. “Harry Cochrane is going to struggle, obviously, with his muscle injury. Christophe went for a scan and we’re waiting on the results of that.

“John Souttar has this hamstring problem, which he’s been playing with, but he hasn’t trained this week yet. Don Cowie had a chest infection which floored him and he didn’t make the Hibs match. He did a little bit of training earlier in the week but still felt rough, although he’s keen to be involved on Saturday. David Milinkovic went for a scan [on his injured knee] as well so we just have to wait to know who is or isn’t available. Today will be a telling day because the ones who will look to be involved at the weekend will really need to do some training.”

With Cochrane and Arnaud Djoum sidelined in midfield, others will be asked to step in against Thistle. “Prince Buaben played 45 minutes for the Under-20s on Tuesday. Andy Irving also played, plus we’ve got Ross Callachan. I’m hopeful Cowie will feel better come the weekend,” said Levein.

Hearts enter the match sitting sixth in the league table – four points ahead of seventh-placed Motherwell having played one fixture more. Levein admitted his team have plenty to do in order to secure their top-six place.

“We’ve never been in a position where I’ve felt we’ve got that tucked away. I’ve never thought to myself: ‘That’s the top-six place safe,’” he stated. I wasn’t expecting to be saying we had the top six tied up because I’ve never felt confident that we had it tied up, so I think we’ve still got work to do. I’m glad we’re back at Tynecastle. I feel much better when we’re playing at home and I think our recent home results have been decent.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4705679.1521046328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705679.1521046328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Christophe Berra has taken injections to play with his ankle injury. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra has taken injections to play with his ankle injury. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4705679.1521046328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/crime/ex-hearts-striker-accused-of-ex-girlfriend-assault-and-baby-kidnap-threat-1-4705845","id":"1.4705845","articleHeadline": "Ex-Hearts striker accused of ex-girlfriend assault and baby kidnap threat","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521054815000 ,"articleLead": "

FORMER Hearts strike Christian Nade has appeared in court accused of repeatedly attacking his ex-girlfriend and threatening to kidnap an 11-month-old baby.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705844.1521054424!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Paisley Sheriff Court, Picture: Google"} ,"articleBody": "

The Frenchman, who was capped by France at under-21 level and now plays for Dumbarton, denies assaulting Laura Kennedy on three sepearte occasions including one using a toy car as a weapon.

Nade also denies battering her dad and leaving him and her mum ‘scared and alarmed’ on Mother’s Day.

Nade, 33, was arrested over the accusations and held in police custody at Helen Street police station in Glasgow, pending his appearance at Paisley Sheriff Court.

He faces six charges, which are all said to have been committed between December 5 last year and March 11 this year, at addresses in Renfrew. He denies assaulting Miss Kennedy by striking her on the head to her injury on December 5. A second assault charge states he struck her on the head with “a boxed toy car to her injury” on December 12.

He also denies behaving in a threatening or abusive way towards her, which placed her in a state of fear and alarm, by shouting and swearing at her and acting in an aggressive manner towards her, and threatening to kidnap a child, on various occasions between December 5 and February 2.

He also denies placing her mum and dad, Ann and Lawrence Kennedy, in a state of fear an alarm, in breach of the same section of that Act, by acting in an aggressive and intimidating manner towards them at a property in Tay Avenue, Renfrew, on Mother’s Day.

And he denies a final charge of assaulting her 60-year-old dad to his injury by pushing him in to a high chair, going head to head with him, punching him on the head, causing him to hit his head off a window and fall to the ground, and punching and striking him on the head.

Defence solicitor Aimee Doran said: “I appear on behalf of Mr Nade. He tenders pleas of not guilty to all charges on the complaint and seeks bail.

“He is a professional football player and is employed by Dumbarton Football Club.”

Prosecutor Colin Wilson said: “Part of the alleged conduct is that he said he was going to take [an 11-month-old baby] away on a plane and [the mum of the child] couldn’t do anything about it.

Sheriff Tom Ward then agreed to release Nade, who has also played for Dundee, Raith Rovers, Hamilton Accies, Stranraer and Annan Athletic, on bail with special conditions banning him from approaching or contacting his alleged victims.

As he did so, Sheriff Ward warned him not to breach the special conditions, adding: “If you do that there’s a chance you’ll be remanded in custody - bear that in mind.”

He is due to go on trial in May, with a pre-trial hearing scheduled for April.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4705844.1521054424!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705844.1521054424!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Paisley Sheriff Court, Picture: Google","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Paisley Sheriff Court, Picture: Google","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4705844.1521054424!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-hopeful-over-harry-cochrane-s-injury-absence-1-4705417","id":"1.4705417","articleHeadline": "Hearts hopeful over Harry Cochrane's injury absence","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521034017359 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Levein today confirmed Hearts midfielder Harry Cochrane will be sidelined through injury but the club hope he can return quicker than they first thought.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705416.1521034150!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Harry Cochrane trudges off after treatment from the Hearts physio at Easter Road"} ,"articleBody": "

The 16-year-old midfielder hobbled off after just 15 minutes of last Friday's Edinburgh derby at Easter Road, with staff initially fearing he would miss around four to six weeks with a hamstring problem.

Manager Levein is hopeful he will be fit sooner after a more encouraging diagnosis, although he is unsure exactly how long Cochrane will be missing.

\"Harry has improved a fair bit, that was the first assessment,\" he told the Evening News. \"It's not his hamstring as such, it's just above that, so it isn't quite as serious as a hamstring.

\"I'm not exactly sure how long he will be out because it's quite an unusual muscle injury. Hopefully it will only be around two or three weeks but we aren't certain yet.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4705416.1521034150!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705416.1521034150!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Harry Cochrane trudges off after treatment from the Hearts physio at Easter Road","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Harry Cochrane trudges off after treatment from the Hearts physio at Easter Road","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4705416.1521034150!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/poll-on-fans-forum-backs-craig-levein-to-continue-as-hearts-manager-1-4705245","id":"1.4705245","articleHeadline": "Poll on fans forum backs Craig Levein to continue as Hearts manager","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521027181000 ,"articleLead": "

The vast majority of Hearts supporters want Craig Levein to stay on as the club’s manager, according to a poll on a fans’ forum.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705244.1521028585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein"} ,"articleBody": "

Popular website Jambos Kickback has started a vote on whether the 53-year-old should remain in the Tynecastle dug-out for next season in the wake of Hearts’ 2-0 derby defeat by Hibs last Friday.

A large majority of supporters have backed Levein, with 74 per cent wanting him to stay, while 26 per cent would prefer to see someone else in charge next term.

Levein, who also holds the role of director of football at Hearts, took over from Ian Cathro at the end of August last year after the club surprisingly exited the Betfred Cup at the group stages.

The former Scotland boss has this season presided over a 4-0 home win over Celtic in the Premiership and guided the club to a 1-0 win over Hibs in the Scottish Cup, but he has also lost two leagues derbies at Easter Road and the club are battling to hold on to their top-six spot. Hearts also departed the Scottish Cup at the quarter-final stage, losing to Motherwell.

Levein has won ten of his 29 matches in charge this season, drawing 11 and losing eight. The club has the second-best defensive record in the league with 29 goals conceded – helped by a club-record eight consecutive clean sheets across all competitions – but is also joint second-bottom of the scoring charts with 29 goals. Only Partick Thistle (26) have netted fewer times.

Despite an unremarkable campaign on the pitch, which has also coincided with the construction of a new main stand at Tynecastle, most Hearts fans want to give Levein the summer to reshape his squad and make the team more competitive in the 2018/19 season.

The poll and comments left by Hearts fans can be viewed here: http://www.hmfckickback.co.uk/index.php?/topic/175914-levein-poll/

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PETER WALES"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4705244.1521028585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705244.1521028585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Craig Levein","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4705244.1521028585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/adam-eckersley-feels-he-deserves-premiership-chance-after-hearts-exit-1-4705067","id":"1.4705067","articleHeadline": "Adam Eckersley feels he deserves Premiership chance after Hearts exit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521009027000 ,"articleLead": "

Adam Eckersley may wonder if he is fated not to experience any Scottish football glory. Released by Hearts after promotion and denied a Premiership chance, he also left Hibs just four months before they lifted the Scottish Cup. Understandably, he is now utterly determined to seize his moment of distinction with St Mirren.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705064.1520976971!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Adam Eckersley"} ,"articleBody": "

The left-back is 32, living with his family in Renfrew and preparing for likely promotion to the Premiership this summer. It has been a long wait since that fateful day in April 2015 when Hearts told him there would be no new contract despite his role in a record-breaking Championship title win. He joined Hibs but chose to leave for Canadian club Edmonton in January 2016 – four months before the Scottish Cup curse at Easter Road ended.

Eckersley is entitled to feel he has earned any success this season. St Mirren are ten points clear atop the Championship and firm favourites to return to the top flight.

“I wanted a crack at the Premiership, so this is an important year for me,” the Englishman told the Evening News. “If we kick on this year and get this team promoted then we get a shot at the Prem. I never got that chance with Hearts and I feel I deserve it. Hopefully, if things go right, I will get that chance to play in the top league next season. That’s the goal.

“I had a chance to stay at Hibs a couple of years back. Alan Stubbs wanted to keep me but I just felt I needed to try something different. I was probably still a bit upset by the Hearts thing. Not that I went to Hibs because of what happened at Hearts, I just wanted to get out of Scotland basically because I felt like I got burnt.

“We went to Canada but I actually missed the attention around football. It’s not the same over there. My wife didn’t enjoy living there either because I was away constantly. That’s why we came back and the fit with St Mirren and [manager] Jack Ross just felt right.

“Now I feel like it’s my time to get an opportunity to play in the Premiership. I felt I deserved it at Hearts and I feel I’ve done well this year. Hopefully I get rewarded for that and get to play in the top league next year.”

Wearing the same No.44 which brought him success at Tynecastle, Eckersley has made 21 St Mirren appearances so far this season.

“I don’t want to tempt fate right now and say we’re definitely going up. It’s looking good and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I want to play at the highest level in Scotland against the best players. I want to measure myself against them and keep myself on my toes. I want those challenges.

“I don’t want to go out on a pitch thinking: ‘I could take my foot off the gas here if I wanted to.’ I want to know I’m in for a tough task. There have been some games in recent years in Scotland and Canada where my mentality maybe hasn’t been great. That’s because I haven’t had that fear factor.

“With the amount of fans there, I’ve not been up for it as much as I know I could be. Playing for Hearts was a bit easier because you’re playing in front of a massive crowd every week. It’s easier to get up for it. I like to keep myself going and get the best out of myself. I’m not ready to hang my boots up yet. I feel I’m in great shape and I still have a lot to offer.”

The irony in Hearts struggling to properly replace him at left-back after three years of trying isn’t lost on the Mancunian.

“A lot of people keep tweeting me and sometimes when I bump into Hearts fans they’re saying: ‘We still haven’t replaced you.’ Sometimes it still burns a little bit, what could’ve been,” said Eckersley. “If only they could have nurtured the squad they had at that time and added to it, I think it could have become some squad.

“They chose to go down a different route and bring in foreign players. I don’t personally feel they’ve really kicked on that much. However, that’s in the past now. I’ve got a project here and I’m enjoying myself. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to play Hearts next year.”

Ross, the former Riccarton youth coach, has surrounded himself with Tynecastle connections in Paisley. Eckersley aside, he has Liam Smith on loan from Hearts, plus strikers John Sutton and Gavin Reilly on permanent contracts.

It is impossible to write about St Mirren without mentioning the manager’s breathtaking overhaul. He took charge in October 2016 with the club bottom of the Championship and winless in eight matches. They lurched to the point of sitting 11 points adrift of guaranteed safety near the end of the January 2017 transfer window. Ross reshaped his squad, including signing Eckersley, and Saints lost only one more league game. They finished seventh.

“I knew Jack from Hearts and at the time I signed I was thinking: ‘This is going to be some task. If we can get ourselves out of this, it will be a hell of an achievement,’” recalled Eckersley.

“After a couple of months, once I’d seen the players he’d brought in, I was thinking: ‘If we can manage to avoid the drop here then we will have a real chance next year.’ He had assembled a good squad with experience and some youth. It was a good blend.

“I never said anything to anybody but I had it in my mind and it’s come to light now. I always knew we would be able to challenge. After just a few games, I felt we had a real good chance of staying up. And we did. Finishing seventh was unbelievable from the position we were in.”

And they haven’t let up since. Ross has been able to put a winning team on the park which applies his own footballing philosophy.

“Whenever we stand in a tunnel next to the other team before a game, we’re a bunch of midgets,” said Eckersley, who is 5ft 9in tall. “We only have a few players above six foot and the rest of us are midgets. Our style of football is ball-on-the-ground, passing, moving and interchanging positions.

“That’s the way the gaffer wants us to play. When we’re moving the ball around we can really cut teams open and destroy them. There was more pressure on us last year but, with the pressure off, we’re playing some really good stuff. It must be great for the punters to watch.

“I didn’t work too much with Jack at Hearts. The reason I signed for him was because I knew he was a nice guy. I’d spoken to him in and around the Hearts training ground and I knew I wanted to work with him because of his personality.

“He’s very good with his players and he gets the best out of them because of his relationship with them. He is honest, and honesty is the biggest thing for me. He tells you when you aren’t playing and gives you the reasons why. He’s always truthful with you and I think that’s quite a rare thing in football.”

The blunt truth of the matter now is that St Mirren need to get over the line and end their three-year absence from Scotland’s top league. Eckersley’s deal runs until summer 2019, so provided they finish the job he will be there to sample it. He has waited long enough.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4705064.1520976971!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705064.1520976971!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Adam Eckersley","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Adam Eckersley","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4705064.1520976971!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4705065.1520976973!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705065.1520976973!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Eckersley knew St Mirren manager Jack Ross from his time at Hearts","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Eckersley knew St Mirren manager Jack Ross from his time at Hearts","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4705065.1520976973!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4705066.1520976975!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705066.1520976975!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Eckersley celebrates Hearts winning the Championship","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Eckersley celebrates Hearts winning the Championship","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4705066.1520976975!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-defender-john-souttar-named-in-scotland-under-21-squad-1-4704740","id":"1.4704740","articleHeadline": "Hearts defender John Souttar named in Scotland Under-21 squad","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1520945322652 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts centre-back John Souttar is included in the Scotland Under-21 squad despite being touted for a call-up to the senior side.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704739.1520945393!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts defender John Souttar is an important member of the Scotland Under-21 side"} ,"articleBody": "

National Under-21 coach Scot Gemmill has named a 23-man squad to face Andorra in a European Championship qualifier later this month.

Souttar is included alongside his Tynecastle colleague Liam Smith, currently on loan at St Mirren, and former Hearts striker Robbie Muirhead.

A series of consistent displays in central defence this season had seen Souttar tipped for a place in the full Scotland squad by new manager Alex McLeish.

However, he remains a key part of the Gemmill's Under-21 side and could don the captain's armband for the match in the Andorran capital Andorra la Vella.

Hearts are also celebrating Marcus Godinho's first call-up to Canada's full squad after just two senior appearances in maroon. The 20-year-old is named in coach John Herdman’s squad for the forthcoming friendly against New Zealand.

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704739.1520945393!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704739.1520945393!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts defender John Souttar is an important member of the Scotland Under-21 side","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts defender John Souttar is an important member of the Scotland Under-21 side","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704739.1520945393!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-need-stability-after-summer-rebuild-says-colin-cameron-1-4704271","id":"1.4704271","articleHeadline": "Hearts need stability after summer rebuild, says Colin Cameron","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1520938333000 ,"articleLead": "

Another summer rebuild is the last thing Hearts want, but it seems necessary to restore the Edinburgh club to the upper echelons of the Ladbrokes Premiership.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704269.1520936275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein"} ,"articleBody": "

Sitting sixth with little left to play for in mid-March isn’t acceptable to owner Ann Budge, manager Craig Levein or supporters.

Heavy investment at Tynecastle Park should see finishing touches applied to its £15million new main stand in time for next season. The construction of a team to justify those surroundings is ongoing despite extensive recruitment in the last six transfer windows.

Fighting to stay in the top six, a League Cup group exit last July under Levein’s predecessor Ian Cathro, and a Scottish Cup quarter-final loss against Motherwell aren’t what lured the director of football back into frontline management. He will demand better, which means more new faces.

The squad turnover in recent years has been the subject of much debate and signs are it won’t slow down. A total of 20 players have joined Hearts and left again since summer 2015. Levein knows more than anyone that stability is a prerequisite for long-term success, however he will also acknowledge the pressing need to revitalise his squad again at the first opportunity.

Three first-team players are out of contract in May, with five loans also expiring. Goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin, centre-back Aaron Hughes and midfielder Prince Buaben are in the final stages of their deals. Left-back Demetri Mitchell, winger David Milinkovic, forward Steven Naismith, midfielder Joaquim Adao and right-back Connor Randall are due to rejoin parent clubs as things stand.

Some others still under contract will be surplus to requirements. That leaves Hearts potentially looking to sign more than half a team again.

Only 12 senior professionals are contracted beyond the summer – Michael Smith, John Souttar, Christophe Berra, Danny Amankwaa, Kyle Lafferty, Arnaud Djoum, Jack Hamilton, Don Cowie, Ross Callachan, Malaury Martin, Conor Sammon and Liam Smith. The last two spent this season loaned out to Partick Thistle and St Mirren respectively, whilst Frenchman Martin is out of favour.

Promising teenagers like Harry Cochrane, Andy Irving, Anthony McDonald and the rest will, of course, play useful supplementary roles. They cannot yet be expected to form the spine of a side challenging for Europe and silverware, though.

“There will be more changes, no doubt about that,” said the former Hearts midfielder Colin Cameron. “The problem for Craig will be that he might not find it easy to offload some players depending how long their contracts run. How many leave will determine how many he is will be able to bring in. He’ll have a budget.

“One thing in Craig’s favour is he’ll be able to work with whoever comes in during pre-season. He’ll get to understand their strengths and weaknesses. It’s more difficult doing business in the January transfer window when it’s mid-season.

“The summer gives him a chance to get a good month of work done with the guys he decides to bring in. He didn’t have that last year. He was still on the scene but he wasn’t in charge like he is now.

“This will be a big, big pre-season for Craig. You’ll have players leaving, new ones coming in, and then it’s how quickly he can get the new guys to settle in and produce what’s expected from them.”

McLaughlin has already refused one Hearts contract offer, which remains on the table, and has suitors down south. He was deservedly named in Alex McLeish’s Scotland squad yesterday in a move which does not help the Tynecastle hierarchy’s hopes of persuading him to stay. Clubs in England were already aware the goalkeeper had set a new Tynecastle record of eight successive clean sheets before a first international call-up from the country of his birth.

Buaben’s future is uncertain as his agreement nears expiry. He has started only nine of Hearts’ 30 league games to date this season but was heavily involved in the team during the aforementioned run of clean sheets. At 29, he is certain to want more regular game time either way.

Hughes, aged 38, will decide at the end of the season whether to prolong his career for another year. He was again named in the Northern Ireland squad yesterday and clearly still has something to offer at club and international level despite his veteran status.

What Hearts must do this year is identify the right incomings who can have a long-term future in Gorgie, thus avoiding the need to terminate contracts and pay severance packages further down the line. Levein watched previous head coaches sign many players they identified. Now he is trying to ensure squad stability for next season and beyond.

The 20 players who have come and gone since summer 2015 are: Blazej Augustyn, Gavin Reilly, Juanma Delgado, Igor Rossi, Juwon Oshaniwa, Danny Swanson, Perry Kitchen, Robbie Muirhead, Faycal Rherras, Viktor Noring, Bjorn Johnsen, Krystian Nowak, Lennard Sowah, Andraz Struna, Dylan Bikey, Alex Tziolis, Tasos Avlonitis, Esmael Goncalves, Cole Stockton and Rafal Grzelak.

It should be noted that Goncalves, Muirhead, Rossi and Johnsen all left for a transfer fee, but nonetheless that level of upheaval inside three years does nothing for continuity or team spirit.

“At any club, when lots of players are coming and going, it takes time to bed in together,” explained Cameron, who is currently head coach at Edusport Academy in Edinburgh. “If you’re constantly changing then there isn’t going to be consistency. You have to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and that comes from playing and training together every week.

“If you add two or three new faces here and there, it’s easier to integrate them. Any new player has to figure out how the manager works and what he wants from them. If there’s a lot of your squad trying to learn that at the same time, it’s hard to get consistency.

“It poses lots of challenges if there is a big turnover of players, which has been the case lately at Hearts. Every time I go to a game there’s somebody new involved. I’m asking: ‘Who’s that? Where did he come from?’ I’m not there every week or anything but I find myself asking when did this player come in and things like that.

“Craig will have an idea in his head of what he wants. It’s just as difficult for the manager to learn about players. You might see different things when you work with them on a day-to-day basis. If you’re having to run the rule over a lot of players rather than two or three, maybe he isn’t getting to concentrate on what he wants. He will certainly want more stability going forward.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704269.1520936275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704269.1520936275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704269.1520936275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704270.1520936279!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704270.1520936279!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Colin Cameron","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Colin Cameron","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704270.1520936279!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ {"gallery": {"id":"1.4704712","galleryImages":[ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704700.1520943418!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704700.1520943418!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Conor Sammon - expires May 2019","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Conor Sammon - expires May 2019","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704700.1520943418!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704701.1520943422!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704701.1520943422!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Malaury Martin - expires May 2020","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Malaury Martin - expires May 2020","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704701.1520943422!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704702.1520943427!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704702.1520943427!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Liam Smith - expires May 2019","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam Smith - expires May 2019","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704702.1520943427!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704703.1520943432!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704703.1520943432!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jack Hamilton - expires May 2020","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jack Hamilton - expires May 2020","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704703.1520943432!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704704.1520943434!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704704.1520943434!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Arnaud Djoum - expires May 2019","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Arnaud Djoum - expires May 2019","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704704.1520943434!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704705.1520943438!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704705.1520943438!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Michael Smith - expires May 2019","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Smith - expires May 2019","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704705.1520943438!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704706.1520943441!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704706.1520943441!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kyle Lafferty - expires May 2019","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Lafferty - expires May 2019","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704706.1520943441!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704707.1520943446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704707.1520943446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Christophe Berra - expires May 2020","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra - expires May 2020","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704707.1520943446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704708.1520943448!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704708.1520943448!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ross Callachan - expires May 2019","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ross Callachan - expires May 2019","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704708.1520943448!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704709.1520943450!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704709.1520943450!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Don Cowie - expires May 2019","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Don Cowie - expires May 2019","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704709.1520943450!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704710.1520943452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704710.1520943452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Danny Amankwaa - expires May 2019","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Amankwaa - expires May 2019","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704710.1520943452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704711.1520943455!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704711.1520943455!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Souttar - expires May 2020","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Souttar - expires May 2020","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704711.1520943455!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ]}} ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-boss-wants-more-from-winger-danny-amankwaa-1-4704406","id":"1.4704406","articleHeadline": "Hearts boss wants more from winger Danny Amankwaa","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1520922644000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Levein wants to see more from Hearts winger Danny Amankwaa between now and the end of the season. The manager advised the 24-year-old to get fitter and now hopes to see him produce his best form in a maroon shirt.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704405.1520875603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Amankwaa is now fully match fit"} ,"articleBody": "

Amankwaa arrived from FC Copenhagen in January on an 18-month contract. However, early last month he was taken out of Hearts’ first-team squad and told to work on sprinting and conditioning.

He has played as a substitute in each of the past three matches against Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Hibs. Levein intends to give him more game time in the final two months of the season to see exactly what he can do.

“I’d hope to see more of him,” said the manager. “Danny came in and he didn’t show an awful lot [against Hibs] on Friday night but he’s been doing quite well in training.

“It’s just these repetitive bursts of speed with him. We need to get him fully up to the right level with them. I think you’ve seen the ability he’s got. He’s taken time out to get fitter and playing games now will help him over the next few weeks.”

Hearts’ quality in the final third let them down in the 2-0 defeat against Hibs as well as two lapses of concentration when defending. Levein was frustrated by events at both ends of the field and wants 
to see his team create more scoring chances.

“I moved Harry Cochrane further forward to try and get him on the ball higher up the pitch. I thought Michael Smith did well in midfield and I was pleased with him,” he explained.

“I didn’t feel we were under pressure in terms of a constant threat. The game opened up a bit later on, obviously, but I’m just frustrated by the manner of the goals we lost.

“Also, we can do much better going forward. We got into good areas and when we needed to compose ourselves, we didn’t do it. Then we gave the ball away in areas where we might have been able to trouble Hibs. That was frustrating as well.

“I just think we need to play better in the last third. We did a lot of work throughout last week on switching the play to find the spare midfield player. That worked really well, but once we did that it was making the correct pass.

“One correct pass on a few occasions would’ve given us opportunities to score. We chose the wrong option too many times. We will look at it on video analysis.

“There were a lot of things I was pleased with on Friday night but the goals we lost were poor and I thought we could’ve done better in attack.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704405.1520875603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704405.1520875603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Danny Amankwaa is now fully match fit","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Amankwaa is now fully match fit","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704405.1520875603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-duo-called-up-for-northern-ireland-friendly-clash-1-4704145","id":"1.4704145","articleHeadline": "Hearts duo called up for Northern Ireland friendly clash","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1520859774000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts players Kyle Lafferty and Aaron Hughes have been included in the Northern Ireland squad for the friendly against South Korea at Windsor Park on Saturday, March 24.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704143.1520862306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty"} ,"articleBody": "

Striker Lafferty, who has 67 caps, will be looking to add to his 20 goals so far. Central defender Hughes, 38 – his country’s second most capped player behind legendary goalkeeper Pat Jennings (119) – will be hoping to earn his 110th cap.

Celtic goalkeeper Conor Hazard, currently on loan at Falkirk from Celtic, has been handed a first-call-up by manager Michael O’Neill.

Kilmarnock’s Jordan Jones, Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn, Motherwell’s Trevor Carson and Rangers’ Lee Hodson are also included.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PETER WALES"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704143.1520862306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704143.1520862306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704143.1520862306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704144.1520862309!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704144.1520862309!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Aaron Hughes","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aaron Hughes","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704144.1520862309!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hibs-dylan-mcgeouch-and-hearts-jon-mclaughlin-named-in-scotland-squad-1-4704076","id":"1.4704076","articleHeadline": "Hibs’ Dylan McGeouch and Hearts’ Jon McLaughlin named in Scotland squad","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1520854522000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs midfielder Dylan McGeouch has been called into the Scotland squad for the first time.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704075.1520854869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs midfielder Dylan McGeouch, left, has been picked for the Scotland squad. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The 25-year-old joins Easter Road team-mate John McGinn in the 27-man group named by manager Alex McLeish today for the upcoming friendlies at home to Costa Rica and away in Hungary.

Uncapped Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin is also included, but there is no place for Jambos captain Christophe Berra due to an ankle injury. Tynecastle defender John Souttar had been tipped for a call-up, but he has not been selected.

Hibs centre-half Paul Hanlon also misses out despite being the squad for the national team’s last match against the Netherlands.

Scotland face Costa Rica at Hampden on Friday, March 23 before travelling to Budapest to play Hungary on Tuesday, March 27.

Scotland squad: Jordan Archer (Millwall), Allan McGregor (Hull City), Jon McLaughlin (Hearts), Barry Douglas (Wolves), Grant Hanley (Norwich City), Russell Martin (Rangers), Scott McKenna (Aberdeen), Charlie Mulgrew (Blackburn Rovers), Callum Paterson (Cardiff City), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Kieran Tierney (Celtic), Stuart Armstrong (Celtic), Tom Cairney (Fulham), James Forrest (Celtic), Ryan Fraser (Aberdeen), Kevin McDonald (Fulham), Dylan McGeouch (Hibs), John McGinn (Hibs), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Kenny McLean (Aberdeen), Scott McTominay (Manchester United), Jamie Murphy (Rangers), Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United), Ryan Christie (Aberdeen), Jason Cummings (Rangers), Oliver McBurnie (Barnsley), Matt Phillips (West Bromwich Albion)

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARK ATKINSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704075.1520854869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704075.1520854869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs midfielder Dylan McGeouch, left, has been picked for the Scotland squad. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs midfielder Dylan McGeouch, left, has been picked for the Scotland squad. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704075.1520854869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4704081.1520854874!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4704081.1520854874!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin is also in the squad. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin is also in the squad. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4704081.1520854874!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/gary-mackay-loyal-hearts-fans-are-being-short-changed-1-4703822","id":"1.4703822","articleHeadline": "Gary Mackay: Loyal Hearts fans are being short changed","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1520836244000 ,"articleLead": "

After the debacle that unfolded last term, the last thing we needed this time round was to be in a position where our season is effectively over in early March

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4703986.1520846146!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts have experienced players such as Steven Naismith and Christophe Berra. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

It speaks volumes about where we are that Steven Naismith is talking about making sure we get into the top six and Christophe Berra is already looking towards next season. After exiting the Scottish Cup at Motherwell and then having our lingering European hopes killed off with a meek performance at Easter Road on Friday, we now face a grim couple of months with little to play for and a fanbase exasperated with the situation.

Put simply, the loyal Hearts supporters have been short changed for the second season running. In our current predicament, where we are able to sign players like Kyle Lafferty, Christophe Berra and Steven Naismith, nine wins from 30 Premiership games is not good enough.

We have all the resources to at the very least be competing with Hibs, and, in our third season back in the top flight, we should also have been in a position to challenge Aberdeen.

Yes, we’ve changed managers, but that was over six months ago. Look at the swiftness with which Steve Clarke transformed Kilmarnock from relegation fodder to a team that now look better than us on a fraction of our budget.

With the players in our squad, we should have become more than simply a hard team to beat. Yes, we’ve had injuries, but every team gets them. We’ve also pitched in lots of youngsters, but we’ve also had plenty senior players sitting on the bench while playing the kids. That, to me, highlights that recruitment hasn’t been good enough.

Why, for instance, can’t Malaury Martin get a game ahead of 16-year-olds? That is a pretty damning indictment of a guy we felt merited a three-and-a-half-year contract.

The next few weeks are going to be a real test for the football department as they battle to win back the goodwill of the support. The very fact that our top-six spot is not secure at this stage is reason enough to question, once again, the level of progress being made by a club heavily reliant on the ongoing backing of its supporters. With yet another rebuild on the cards in the summer, the current situation is as depressing as it is worrying.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4703986.1520846146!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4703986.1520846146!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts have experienced players such as Steven Naismith and Christophe Berra. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts have experienced players such as Steven Naismith and Christophe Berra. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4703986.1520846146!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}