{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"hearts","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-v-dundee-preview-naismith-suspended-haring-out-4-4-2-tactics-1-4860724","id":"1.4860724","articleHeadline": "Hearts v Dundee preview: Naismith suspended, Haring out, 4-4-2 tactics?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548183923000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts are without striker Steven Naismith through suspension for tomorrow night’s Ladbrokes Premiership clash at home to Dundee.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860723.1548183919!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Having notched an assist against Livingston in the cup, David Vanecek will be keen to add a goal against Dundee. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

The forward is serving an automatic one-match ban after picking up six cautions in the Jambos’ first 19 matches, while Dark Blues centre-back Darren O’Dea also misses out as he completes a two-match ban.

Naismith’s enforced absence could see Steven MacLean brought in to partner David Vanecek up front for Craig Levein’s side.

Sean Clare’s fine strike against Livingston in the William Hill Scottish Cup on Sunday should see the former Sheffield Wednesday man hold onto his starting berth, while Callumn Morrison is likely to continue in the right-midfield role.

With three central defenders in O’Dea, Andrew Davies and Josh Meekings all absent, Ryan Inniss will likely partner Genseric Kusunga at the heart of the Dee defence, with Jim McIntyre’s side still looking for a second away win in the league this season. Jesse Curran and Martin Woods are likely to pair up in the engine room.

Kenny Miller is expected to start up front with Paul McGowan slotting in behind the veteran striker. New signing Andy Dales, on loan from Scunthorpe, and Roarie Deacon could line up on either flank.

Injuries / suspensions / unavailable

Hearts - Peter Haring (hernia), Uche Ikpeazu (foot), Craig Wighton (ankle). Naismith is suspended.

Dundee - Andrew Davies (foot), Jack Hamilton (finger), Josh Meekings (hip). O’Dea is suspended.

Possible teams

Hearts: Doyle; Smith, Shaughnessy, Berra, Garuccio; Morrison, Lee, Djoum, Clare; Vanecek, MacLean. Subs from: Zlamal, Souttar, Brandon, Mitchell, Dikamona, Hughes, Burns, Bozanic, Cochrane, McDonald, Keena, Mulraney.

Dundee: Dieng; Kerr, Kusunga, Inniss, Ralph; Deacon, C Curran, Woods, Dales; McGowan; K Miller. Subs from: Parish, Jefferies, Madianga, Nelson, Ngwatala, Mendy, Moussa, Lambert, Kallman, C Curran, Kamara, Moore.

Magic number - 5

The number of matches between the two sides at Tynecastle since a Dundee win - a Ryan Conroy penalty in the third minute gave the Dark Blues a 1-0 victory in September 2012. Current Dundee goalkeeper Jack Hamilton was an unused sub for Hearts on that occasion.

Key battle

Genseric Kusunga will have his hands full with the man-mountain that is David Vanecek, with the Czech striker looking for a first Hearts goal since arriving earlier this month.

Key stats

Dundee have won just once on the road this season - a 2-0 win at Hamilton. Colin Doyle has conceded just twice in his last four games for the Jambos, keeping three clean sheets.


John Beaton takes charge of this match - his 28th involving Hearts. Of that total the Jambos have won eight, drawn four and lost 16.

The whistler’s 25 matches involving Dundee have produced eight wins, seven draws and ten defeats for the Dens Park side.

He is assisted by Stuart Stevenson and Joseph Lawson, with Steven Kirkland on fourth-official duties.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4860723.1548183919!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860723.1548183919!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Having notched an assist against Livingston in the cup, David Vanecek will be keen to add a goal against Dundee. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Having notched an assist against Livingston in the cup, David Vanecek will be keen to add a goal against Dundee. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4860723.1548183919!/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/inverness-interested-in-deal-for-hearts-midfielder-anthony-mcdonald-1-4860429","id":"1.4860429","articleHeadline": "Inverness interested in deal for Hearts midfielder Anthony McDonald","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548160606035 ,"articleLead": "Inverness Caledonian Thistle are interested in signing Hearts teenager Anthony McDonald on loan until the end of the season.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860428.1548160757!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Inverness are interested in a loan deal for Hearts teenager Anthony McDonald"} ,"articleBody": "

The midfielder has made just seven appearances at Tynecastle Park this term but could help Inverness in their Championship promotion push.

John Robertson, manager of the Highland club, is known to play attacking football which would suit 17-year-old McDonald's game. Robertson worked as an official Hearts ambassador before leaving for a second spell in charge of Inverness in June 2017.

The following month, McDonald graduated from the Riccarton youth academy to sign a professional contract at Tynecastle.

He made a senior breakthrough last season and played 14 times. However, he is keen for more first-team experience having found himself marginalised since 18 players arrived at the Edinburgh club last summer.

The Evening News revealed at the start of the month that McDonald and his fellow Hearts teenager Harry Cochrane had been the subject of loan enquiries from several Scottish clubs.

Inverness are monitoring McDonald and could move to take him north on loan before the January transfer window closes.

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4860428.1548160757!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860428.1548160757!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Inverness are interested in a loan deal for Hearts teenager Anthony McDonald","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Inverness are interested in a loan deal for Hearts teenager Anthony McDonald","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4860428.1548160757!/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/hibs/revealed-why-hearts-steven-naismith-will-serve-ban-but-hibs-stevie-mallan-won-t-1-4860667","id":"1.4860667","articleHeadline": "Revealed: Why Hearts’ Steven Naismith will serve ban but Hibs’ Stevie Mallan won’t","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548177795000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs midfielder Stevie Mallan has escaped a one-match ban despite picking up his sixth booking of the season – thanks to a change in the SFA’s disciplinary rules.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860666.1548177791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stevie Mallan was yellow-carded against Hearts - his sixth caution of the season"} ,"articleBody": "

The yellow card shown to Mallan in the Edinburgh derby against Hearts in the final game of 2018 would, in past seasons, have resulted in him missing Wednesday’s Premiership match against Motherwell at Fir Park.

However, the SFA’s rules now state that “a player accumulating six cautions will be automatically suspended for one match if he has accumulated those six cautions in (up to and including) a set number of matches in the relevant league.”

In the case of the Premiership, that figure is set at 19 games whereas Mallan’s sixth booking came in Hibs’ 21st game of the season meaning he escapes punishment.

Hearts forward Steven Naismith, though, wasn’t so lucky, his sixth booking of the season came against Aberdeen on December 22 – the Tynecastle club’s 19th league game – and, as a consequence, he is suspended for Wednesday’s visit of Dundee.

The new rules also mean, though, that if either player reaches a total of 12 bookings before the end of season, they will receive an automatic two-game ban.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4860666.1548177791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860666.1548177791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stevie Mallan was yellow-carded against Hearts - his sixth caution of the season","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stevie Mallan was yellow-carded against Hearts - his sixth caution of the season","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4860666.1548177791!/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-craig-levein-feeling-better-about-his-squad-1-4860453","id":"1.4860453","articleHeadline": "Hearts boss Craig Levein ‘feeling better’ about his squad","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548176784000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Levein is enjoying having the winning feeling back at Tynecastle as Hearts look to make it four wins from four when they host Dundee on Wednesday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860452.1548176780!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein says his players are building confidence"} ,"articleBody": "

Hearts started the season in impressive form, which took them to the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership, but a 3-0 Betfred Cup semi-final defeat to Celtic at Murrayfield in October led to a slump during which they secured only one win from ten games.

However, the 1-0 William Hill Scottish Cup win over Livingston on Sunday made it three wins in a row and booked them a last-16 tie at home to Auchinleck Talbot.

Ahead of Wednesday night’s game against bottom side Dundee, Levein said: “Confidence is a big thing.

“It wasn’t a fantastic match at the weekend but we won and progressed to the next round of the cup – that helps the players feel good about themselves and when they feel good about themselves they play better.

“I am looking forward to the game. I don’t think it will be easy in any way but I feel better that we are in better form.

“It was a frustrating period altogether. Sometimes you can start a slide and it doesn’t halt.

“The good thing is we have managed to turn things back around, three games without losing a goal.

“I was really happy with the performance of Conor Shaughnessy, making his debut, and also with David Vanecek, who is yet to get up to full speed.

“We have options now if someone goes out that we probably didn’t have even though we had a big squad. I feel better about that.”

Levein was delighted to see 22-year-old former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Sean Clare get his first goal, which came against Livi, since he joined Hearts in late September.

The former Scotland boss said: “Tynecastle is a difficult place to play, the expectations are really high.

“Sean came in when we had lost a lot of our best players carrying a little bit of an injury (foot) and also hadn’t played consistently for a long time.

“It wasn’t an ideal situation for him. He has been good in spells and I think he is gradually playing himself into good form.

“He has worked tremendously hard on his fitness and also getting over this injury he had, which was quite serious, so for him to get the winning goal was a great moment so I am very pleased for him.”

Levein, who will be without attacker Steven Naismith through suspension, is taking nothing for granted against Dundee, who continue their struggle to survive showing little improvement in results since boss Jim McIntyre took over from Neil McCann in October.

He said: “It is very difficult when you take over a team and you have to wait until the transfer window opens to make differences and sometimes you can’t make a difference because you don’t have any money.

“I think Jim will do a good job but I am hoping the start of that is next week sometime.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4860452.1548176780!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860452.1548176780!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein says his players are building confidence","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein says his players are building confidence","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4860452.1548176780!/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/scottish-football-live-no-new-hibs-deal-for-ambrose-gerrard-no-offers-for-morelos-celtic-boss-rubbishes-right-back-link-us-international-nears-rangers-deal-1-4860309","id":"1.4860309","articleHeadline": "Scottish Football Live: No new Hibs deal for Ambrose | Gerrard: No offers for Morelos | Celtic boss rubbishes right-back link | US international nears Rangers deal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548165488000 ,"articleLead": "

Follow The Scotsman’s daily blog as we keep you updated with all the latest news, views, rumours and much more from around Scottish football.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860307.1548165484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steven Gerrard has said there have been no offers for Alfredo Morelos. Picture: SNS/Craig Foy"} ,"articleBody": "

Refresh for live updates.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4860307.1548165484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860307.1548165484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Steven Gerrard has said there have been no offers for Alfredo Morelos. Picture: SNS/Craig Foy","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steven Gerrard has said there have been no offers for Alfredo Morelos. Picture: SNS/Craig Foy","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4860307.1548165484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5790964474001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/craig-levein-explains-why-he-ll-keep-faith-with-colin-doyle-in-hearts-goal-1-4860034","id":"1.4860034","articleHeadline": "Craig Levein explains why he’ll keep faith with Colin Doyle in Hearts goal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548138619000 ,"articleLead": "

After three successive clean sheets, Hearts manager Craig Levein will keep faith with goalkeeper Colin Doyle provided the Irishman’s form continues.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860033.1548090747!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Colin Doyle has kept three clean sheets in a row for Hearts. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Doyle kept Livingston out in Sunday’s 1-0 Scottish Cup triumph to follow shutouts against Hamilton and Hibs prior to the winter break. He now has a firm grip of the goalkeeping slot at Tynecastle Park, where Hearts host Premiership matches against Dundee tomorrow night and St Johnstone on Saturday.

The 33-year-old spent the first half of the season as deputy to the Czech Zdenek Zlamal. Both keepers were signed last summer, with Zlamal already in place as No.1 when Doyle arrived.

Zlamal was relegated to the substitutes’ bench after December’s 5-0 defeat by Livingston and Doyle has stepped in with some confident displays. Levein is hoping they continue over the coming weeks and stressed that both goalkeepers have plenty to offer.

“I gave Bobby [Zlamal] a fair run earlier on in the season so it’s up to Colin, really,” the manager told the Evening News. “We are in the fortunate situation where both of them can do us a turn.

“As long as I’m fair and treating them both the same, then I don’t see any reason why we can’t get the best out the both of them. Bobby has played more games for us than Colin but I wouldn’t say Colin has done anything to make me feel negative in any way.

“It’s good, strong, honest competition. That always helps to keep both goalkeepers on their toes. There is a fair bit of respect between them, so that’s good.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4860033.1548090747!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860033.1548090747!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Colin Doyle has kept three clean sheets in a row for Hearts. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Colin Doyle has kept three clean sheets in a row for Hearts. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4860033.1548090747!/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/first-hearts-goal-will-be-boost-sean-clare-needs-says-michael-smith-1-4859983","id":"1.4859983","articleHeadline": "First Hearts goal will be boost Sean Clare needs, says Michael Smith","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548138601000 ,"articleLead": "

Michael Smith believes Sean Clare’s first Hearts goal will give the Englishman a huge confidence jolt as he strives to find top form.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859981.1548087267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clare celebrates with team-mate David Vanecek after scoring against Livingston"} ,"articleBody": "

Clare’s classy finish decided Sunday’s Scottish Cup fourth-round tie against Livingston and earned Hearts a home draw against junior club Auchinleck Talbot.

Smith, who recently signed a new two-year contract extension at Tynecastle, hopes the midfielder can relax after opening his scoring account.

Still only 22, Clare joined Hearts on a three-year deal in September after leaving Sheffield Wednesday. He has struggled for consistency in 14 appearances so far but Smith expects him to take a big boost from Sunday.

“It will be massive for him. We know what type of player he is,” said the Northern Ireland defender. “He is a good player in training, it’s just he has not quite shown it in games. That goal will be massive for him. I think he will kick on and show everyone what he has got.”

Transferring training performances to matches has been difficult for Clare to date. “That happens when you are an attacking player and you have not scored in a while,” explained Smith.

“That goal will do him the world of good and boost his confidence. Hopefully he can kick on now and establish himself in the starting line-up.”

Clare’s strike secured a narrow 1-0 win against a Livingston team which beat Hearts 5-0 in December.

“Yes that’s one to forget, thanks for bringing it up,” smiled Smith. “We owed them one. It would have been nice to beat them 5-0 but I will take 1-0 all day long.”

Hearts supporters got their first look at new signing David Vanecek at the weekend and Smith also predicted a bright future for the Czech. “He is massive. With the attributes he has, he is going to be really good in this league.

“I think he will score a lot of goals. Hopefully if my crossing gets a little better I might get a few assists off him. From what he’s shown in training, I think he is going to be a bit hit.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859981.1548087267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859981.1548087267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sean Clare celebrates with team-mate David Vanecek after scoring against Livingston","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clare celebrates with team-mate David Vanecek after scoring against Livingston","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859981.1548087267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859982.1548087269!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859982.1548087269!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Michael Smith in action for Hearts","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Smith in action for Hearts","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859982.1548087269!/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-solid-hearts-just-awaiting-a-spark-to-fire-1-4860059","id":"1.4860059","articleHeadline": "Gary Mackay: Solid Hearts just awaiting a spark to fire","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548138601000 ,"articleLead": "

It feels like Hearts are just awaiting a spark at the moment and, when it comes, it could set us alight for the rest of the season.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860058.1548093068!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Vanecek will have a lot to offer Hearts once fully fit"} ,"articleBody": "

If we continue to get solid performances and get results, then somewhere along the line you will hope to hit form in an attacking and creative manner. As long as our solid base continues, then a really positive attacking display comes along, it will be the one which can push us on to that next level. Maybe the level we saw earlier in the campaign when everyone is fit.

It will inspire confidence and help the team gain momentum. If you can score three goals in a game, whether you win 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2, you have a blend in the attacking third.

It would be nice to see that on Wednesday night against Dundee because it would set us up nicely for what, on paper, looks a more difficult game on the Saturday against St Johnstone. There is no doubt Tommy Wright’s team are feeling that kind of confidence themselves right at this minute.

For Hearts, it is going to take time. Steven Naismith isn’t long back, David Vanecek has qualities but I think he looks a long way from full match fitness. That means there is more to come because a lot of individuals have more to give to the team.Once you have players hitting their peaks individually, then you have the collective of the team getting stronger and stronger.

Sunday’s win against Livingston was important to get to the next round of the Scottish Cup. The goal settled us and we were the better team in the second half, although Livingston will feel a wee bit hard done by.

If you keep a clean sheet in a cup tie then you have the best chance possible of winning it, so it was pleasing to see our defence keep Livingston out. We looked solid and ended up winning the game on the back of that defensive performance.

We now have another two home games to come, plus the Scottish Cup draw has been quite kind to us. There is a big enough squad to cope with the fixtures and that allows for a bit of rotation. Thankfully, we are getting near to our strongest team again.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4860058.1548093068!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860058.1548093068!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Vanecek will have a lot to offer Hearts once fully fit","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Vanecek will have a lot to offer Hearts once fully fit","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4860058.1548093068!/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/conor-shaughnessy-sets-the-tone-with-excellent-hearts-debut-1-4859876","id":"1.4859876","articleHeadline": "Conor Shaughnessy sets the tone with excellent Hearts debut","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548138600000 ,"articleLead": "

Galway lads tend to enjoy a physical challenge so it was no surprise Conor Shaughnessy excelled on his Hearts debut.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859875.1548079462!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Conor Shaughnessy marshalled Livingston forward Dolly Menga, pictured, during Hearts' Scottish Cup victory. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

As Livingston shelled balls on top of the loanee centre-back during Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie, he responded by winning headers, tackles and passing forward imaginatively.

Attention focused mainly on Hearts’ other new recruit, the Czech forward David Vanecek, allowing Shaughnessy to quietly show why he was lured north from Leeds United as Jimmy Dunne’s replacement. Hearts identified him as soon as Dunne hinted at returning to parent club Burnley. Early evidence suggests the four-month loan deal is a sound move.

Any fixture against the modern-day Livingston guarantees a fair number of aerial duals, and the weekend cup tie at Tynecastle Park was no exception. Shaughnessy handled the bombardment with aplomb in a game where neither team produced much aesthetically pleasing football.

The 22-year-old showed good levels of aggression, pace when required, and good timing in challenges both in the air and on the ground. The physicality didn’t worry him, perhaps due to an upbringing on Ireland’s west coast in amongst brutal sports like hurling and gaelic football.

That and time in youth academies at Reading and Leeds moulded him into a capable and commanding defender – one who looks capable of endearing himself to Hearts fans.

“I thought it was a fantastic debut for a centre-back,” said Jon Daly, the Hearts first-team coach who is also a fellow Irishman. “Conor was aggressive, he won his headers and tackles, he was composed and picked passes through the lines, fed balls into the striker. Overall, as debuts go, I don’t think it could have gone much better for him.

“The defence got a clean sheet and I thought Conor was excellent. As a centre-back, first and foremost, you are looking at defending and getting clean sheets. Everything else Conor brought to the table was spot-on and really good to see.”

Dunne earned enormous respect from coaching staff, colleagues and supporters due to a series of consistent displays in maroon.

His five-month loan in Scotland captured attention down south, to the point where he headed back to Burnley knowing another loan move to Sunderland was awaiting his signature. Shaughnessy, to his credit, does not look fazed about stepping into the void left by his compatriot.

“Jimmy was fantastic for us and obviously got a loan move to Sunderland off the back of what he did here,” said Daly. “I think Jimmy would be the first to tell you that. His loan move here was very successful and it worked for him in that regard.

“This is a great club to come and play at. It obviously wasn’t a full house at the weekend but the majority of the time it is full, which gives you that atmosphere. Conor has come from Leeds United, which is a very similar club in terms of atmosphere and pressure to perform.

“Sunday was a cup game, Livingston were throwing balls forward and making him compete. I thought he dealt with that really well. He just took it in his stride. Games are coming thick and fast for him now and he needs to just maintain the level he set against Livingston.”

Hearts resume Premiership duties this week by hosting Dundee tomorrow night and St Johnstone on Saturday before a trip to Kilmarnock a week on Friday.

Shaughnessy is being asked to hit the ground running in a new environment. That will bring some different challenges for a player with only 15 senior appearances to his name in England. Hearts are prepared to put their faith in him, however.

“I think he is fit enough,” said Daly. “He’s been down at Leeds training and playing with their under-23s, so he is fit and has been playing matches. I think you could see on Sunday that he looked comfortable in terms of fitness. As a young player, he might find the games coming up difficult but these are the situations he needs to deal with. He has to learn and adapt to it.

“Down in England, they play Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday. I don’t think playing three games in a week should be a problem for him.”

Shaughnessy’s arrival also increases the Irish contingent within the Hearts dressing room once again. Daly aside, goalkeeper Colin Doyle, winger Jake Mulraney and recently-returned striker Aidan Keena all hail from the Emerald Isle.

Keena’s season-long loan at Dunfermline was cut short earlier this month and he is now back at Riccarton to compete for a first-team place.

He was an unused substitute against Livingston but has been promised an opportunity in the weeks ahead. As a former striker himself, Daly is looking forward to helping the teenager with his quest to establish himself at Hearts.

“They are all good lads, good honest boys who work hard,” explained Daly. “I’m delighted to see Keena back. He had a very successful loan at Dunfermline. I’m always talking to him about waiting for his opportunity and needing to be patient. It didn’t feel the right time to get him on against Livingston because of the way the game panned out.

“Ideally, we would have liked to get him on the park at some stage. He came back from Dunfermline last week and trained really well. The games are coming thick and fast and I’m sure he is going to get an opportunity. It’s down to him to make sure he takes it.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859875.1548079462!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859875.1548079462!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Conor Shaughnessy marshalled Livingston forward Dolly Menga, pictured, during Hearts' Scottish Cup victory. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Conor Shaughnessy marshalled Livingston forward Dolly Menga, pictured, during Hearts' Scottish Cup victory. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859875.1548079462!/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/where-hearts-and-hibs-place-in-the-away-table-with-a-surprising-leader-1-4859932","id":"1.4859932","articleHeadline": "Where Hearts and Hibs place in the away table with a surprising leader","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548084476790 ,"articleLead": "Hearts and Hibs have had mixed fortunes away from home this season.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859919.1548084480!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts and Hibs have had mixed fortunes on the road this season."} ,"articleBody": "

Neil Lennon's men have won three times on the road, all against the bottom three sides, while the Tynecastle tasted success in their first three away fixtures. The team with the best away record is somewhat surprising. Click through the pages to find out how well each side have performed.

" ,"byline": {"email": "joel.sked@JPress.co.uk" ,"author": "Joel Sked"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859919.1548084480!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859919.1548084480!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts and Hibs have had mixed fortunes on the road this season.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts and Hibs have had mixed fortunes on the road this season.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859919.1548084480!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859920.1548084482!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859920.1548084482!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "10 games","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "10 games","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859920.1548084482!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859921.1548084483!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859921.1548084483!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "10 games","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "10 games","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859921.1548084483!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859922.1548084488!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859922.1548084488!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "10 games","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "10 games","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859922.1548084488!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859923.1548084494!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859923.1548084494!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "10 games","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "10 games","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859923.1548084494!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859924.1548084497!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859924.1548084497!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "11 games","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "11 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games","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859926.1548084502!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859927.1548084506!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859927.1548084506!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "11 games","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "11 games","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859927.1548084506!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859928.1548084508!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859928.1548084508!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "10 games","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "10 games","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859928.1548084508!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859929.1548084511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859929.1548084511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "11 games","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "11 games","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859929.1548084511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859930.1548084513!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859930.1548084513!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "10 games","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "10 games","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859930.1548084513!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859931.1548084516!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859931.1548084516!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "10 games","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "10 games","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859931.1548084516!/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-youngster-bartlomiej-gajda-on-trial-with-polish-side-gks-jastrzebie-1-4859763","id":"1.4859763","articleHeadline": "Hearts youngster Bartlomiej Gajda on trial with Polish side GKS Jastrzebie","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548075378000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts youngster Bartlomiej Gajda has gone on trial with GKS Jastrzebie.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859761.1548075373!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bartlomiej Gajda (left) takes part in a benefit match between a Falkirk & Hearts XI and Rangers for former player David Hagen. Picture: Michael Gillen"} ,"articleBody": "

The Polish 19-year-old, who has made just one competitive appearance for the Jambos in a 3-1 loss to St Mirren in the Irn-Bru Cup in 2017, hasn’t managed to force his way into Craig Levein’s first-team plans since joining in August 2017 from Gornik Zabrze in his homeland after impressing during a trial period.

The central defender’s contract at Tynecastle is due to run out in August 2020 but it looks as though Gajda - capped at Under-15, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 level for Poland - could be on his way back to Poland if his trial at Jastrzebie is successful.

Gajda has also spent time with Polish second-tier side Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała, and could line up against his former club if a deal is struck.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859761.1548075373!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859761.1548075373!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bartlomiej Gajda (left) takes part in a benefit match between a Falkirk & Hearts XI and Rangers for former player David Hagen. Picture: Michael Gillen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bartlomiej Gajda (left) takes part in a benefit match between a Falkirk & Hearts XI and Rangers for former player David Hagen. Picture: Michael Gillen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859761.1548075373!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5785066117001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/ex-hearts-defender-reveals-vladimir-romanov-s-bizarre-fascination-with-ginger-hair-1-4859744","id":"1.4859744","articleHeadline": "Ex-Hearts defender reveals Vladimir Romanov's bizarre fascination with ginger hair","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548073310449 ,"articleLead": "

Former Hearts full-back Jason Thomson has revealed that the club's former owner Vladimir Romanov had an unusual fascination with people with ginger hair.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859743.1548073590!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Thomson revealed Vladimir Romanov's unusual take on people with ginger hair."} ,"articleBody": "

The Arbroath defender came through the Hearts academy and was on the club's books until 2012, making more than 40 appearances.

In an interview with the Scottish lower league podcast Lower Ramblings, the 31-year-old recalled weird moment during a trip to Lithuania. where Romanov lived.

The ex-banker, who was involved with the club between 2004 and 2013, addressed the team via a translator where he gave his unique take on people with ginger hair.

\"We went to Lithuania,\" said Thomson. \"Lovely place we went to, all paid for and got a few nights out which was really good.

\"We were having a talk one day and he's speaking through his translator and you just hear him in his Russian and hear 'ginger' so I took notice.

\"He was still speaking through his translator: 'Yes, we had this ginger boy at school and he used to get bullied'.

\"Everyone focused on me and I was still quite young at the time so thought 'what's going on here?' He said: 'Everyone should be friends with the ginger guy'.\"

Thomson left Hearts permanently for Raith Rovers and is now a key part of Arbroath's ascension to the top of League One.

" ,"byline": {"email": "joel.sked@JPress.co.uk" ,"author": "Joel Sked"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859743.1548073590!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859743.1548073590!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jason Thomson revealed Vladimir Romanov's unusual take on people with ginger hair.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Thomson revealed Vladimir Romanov's unusual take on people with ginger hair.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859743.1548073590!/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-reaction-jon-daly-on-sean-clare-and-drawing-auchinleck-talbot-1-4859493","id":"1.4859493","articleHeadline": "Hearts reaction: Jon Daly on Sean Clare and drawing Auchinleck Talbot","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548052200000 ,"articleLead": "

Sean Clare waited four months for some jubilation in a maroon shirt. When Hearts needed a moment of quality, he produced it to nudge them into the Scottish Cup fifth round. Now comes a home tie against the giant-killing juniors of Auchinleck Talbot – who were beaten by Hearts en route to their famous 2012 Scottish Cup final win against Hibs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859492.1548069644!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jon Daly"} ,"articleBody": "

Yesterday’s sublime finish from new signing David Vanecek’s lay-off showed Hearts supporters Clare’s true capabilities as he converted the winning goal against Livingston. He arrived in September as a free agent after leaving Sheffield Wednesday but has taken time to find fitness and form in Scotland. Thanks to him, one of the Edinburgh club’s most vexing opponents this season were dispensed with in a tense and competitive encounter at Tynecastle Park.

Nobody needed reminding that Livingston had beaten Hearts 5-0 just a few weeks previously in a league fixture in West Lothian. Clare’s controlled effort early in the second half represented revenge. “We’re just happy to get through. Cup games are always just about winning,” admitted the Hearts coach Jon Daly afterwards.

“The task before the game was to make sure we were in the hat, to give ourselves a chance of getting one step closer to a cup final. Livingston keep you honest. They make you fight for 90-plus minutes and they’re a credit to themselves.

“They made us work hard. I don’t think we helped ourselves in the first half, we didn’t move the ball quickly enough. Our passing wasn’t great, our decision-making was poor, but in the second half we were a bit better.

“In the last five to ten minutes tactics go out of the window. They start throwing bodies forward and we needed to defend well, which I thought we did. We’re just very pleased to be in the hat.”

Clare would have felt relieved at full-time, not to mention happy with his important contribution. “I don’t think the jury’s out in terms of ourselves, we believe in him and know the qualities he has,” insisted Daly. “He’s a young player and he is still learning the game.

“Does he need to do more at times? Yes he does, but he is still getting used to Scottish football and the club. I think it’s important we stick by him and give us opportunities so he can repay us like this.”

It is merely coincidence that the draw for the next round of the Scottish Cup, made seconds after the final whistle at Tynecastle, pits Hearts against Auchinleck. They knocked Ayrshire neighbours Ayr United out of the tournament on Saturday with the greatest result in their history.

They also lost 1-0 in Gorgie in January 2012, when Gordon Smith’s late winner started Hearts’ path to a 5-1 victory in the final at Hampden Park. “It’s a home tie, which you always want. They’re the lowest ranked team in the competition so it’s a good draw and we’re happy,” said Daly.

“However, we need to go and beat them. We can’t just think we’re through to the next round because football is not played on paper, it’s played on grass. We need to make sure we turn up and not give them any hope. I know the year we won the cup we beat them so hopefully that’s an omen. But we won’t look too much into that.”

The Livingston manager Gary Holt declared himself satisfied with his players’ endeavour at a difficult venue. “I thought we stood up to the test well and competed well but we didn’t have the quality in the final third - taking care of the final pass and shooting on target,” he said.

“We didn’t get a lucky break. Alan [Lithgow] had one shot and Ryan [Hardie] had a header from a corner. Maybe we lost a bit of sharpness after three weeks off. Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve in football I think it was tough on the boys to come away with nothing. I don’t think there was too much in the game.”

Holt complimented Clare on the quality of his first-time conversion. “It was a good finish. I didn’t think the boy was going to hit it and Liam Kelly didn’t think so either. In truth, I don’t think Liam would have got to it anyway because it was a really good finish.

“I’m disappointed we lost the ball in our half and there are areas we want to improve, but it was a good strike for his first goal for the club. That wee five or ten minute spell after half-time was maybe our worst in the game and you can’t afford that at this level.

“I’m delighted how the players performed and worked. It was a good cup-tie, not one where teams went through the motions. Both sides tried to win it and on another day we could have had luck.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859492.1548069644!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859492.1548069644!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jon Daly","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jon Daly","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859492.1548069644!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5785575081001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-coach-s-dig-at-half-time-pushed-sean-clare-on-for-scottish-cup-winner-1-4859500","id":"1.4859500","articleHeadline": "Hearts coach’s dig at half-time pushed Sean Clare on for Scottish Cup winner","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548052200000 ,"articleLead": "

A half-time dig from Hearts coach Liam Fox inspired Sean Clare to score a sublime winning goal and knock Livingston out of the Scottish Cup.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859498.1548068584!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clare celebrates after scoring his first goal for Hearts"} ,"articleBody": "

Fox’s fellow coach Jon Daly revealed that Clare was told to improve his game during the break after a disappointing first half. Within two minutes of the restart, the English midfielder stroked David Vanecek’s lay-off into the bottom corner of the net to give Hearts a 1-0 victory.

They will meet Junior giant-killers Auchinleck Talbot in the last 16 next month thanks to Clare’s moment of quality. “Sean was slack and Foxy had a little pop at him. It’s great when you get a reaction from that,” explained Daly.

“Foxy was a midfield player when he played and he understands the role quite well. So he had a nibble at Sean and asked when we would see something from him. He’s got the reaction he wanted.

“To be fair to Sean, when he first signed he wasn’t 100 per cent fit. He had an issue with his foot. He has probably played a lot more than we would have liked so far. He’s been thrown into situations he wouldn’t have been had we had a fully-fit squad.

“I think he is starting to look better and stronger. It’s clear for everyone to see he didn’t start the game well but he definitely came out with the bit between his teeth and he got us through to the next round.”

Daly had a word with new signing David Vanecek during the break in an attempt to help him settle into Scottish football. That also had the desired effect as the Czech forward teed up Clare for his winning goal.

“We spoke to David at half-time about giving us a platform to build on. I thought he was loose in the first half,” said Daly, mindful that Vanecek’s last competitive game was at the end of November for former club Teplice.

“He has not played for a while. His season finished before our winter break so he’s probably a bit behind.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859498.1548068584!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859498.1548068584!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sean Clare celebrates after scoring his first goal for Hearts","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clare celebrates after scoring his first goal for Hearts","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859498.1548068584!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859499.1548068588!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859499.1548068588!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts coach Liam Fox","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts coach Liam Fox","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859499.1548068588!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5785575081001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/talking-point-are-hearts-on-a-similar-path-to-success-1-4859508","id":"1.4859508","articleHeadline": "Talking point: Are Hearts on a similar path to success?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548011722038 ,"articleLead": "No sooner had Hearts drawn minnowsAuchinleck Talbot in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup did the words 'it's fate' echo around the surrounding streets of Tynecastle Park as supporters made their way home following the narrow victory over Livingston.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859507.1548012012!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gordon Smith scores the only goal of the game to see off Auchinleck Talbot in January 2012. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Of course next month's clash won't be the first time the duo have met on Scottish Cup duty. Hearts hosted the Junior club at the formerly known Tynecastle Stadium seven years go in January 2012, where the Ayrshire club put up a brave fight before succumbing to a Gordon Smith strike six minutes from time. Debutant Fraser Mullen even had a first-half penalty saved in what was a nervy performance from Paulo Sergio's men.

However, no one really cared a jot about the earlier rounds that year as Hearts went on to claim the silverware and inflict the most humiliating of defeats on city rivals Hibs at the national stadium, an occasion that is forever etched in the memories of Jambos supporters young and old.

So, for the fantasists out there who dare to dream, are Hearts on course for another run to the final? Only time will tell.

That said, when you compare the 2012 cup-winning squad to the one Craig Levein has assembled this term, it could be argued the current Hearts head coach has more strength in depth, not to mention ability to work with than what Sergio had. Yes, that side included staunch 'Jambos' themselves in Rudi Skacel and Ryan McGowan, both goalscorers against Hibs at Hampden, but it was far from a side that was littered with world beaters.

When you look at what Levein has at his disposal and with the prospect of long-term absentees John Souttar and Uche Ikpeazu edging closer to a return from injury, add a fully fit Peter Haring into the equation, then there is every reason to be optimistic Hearts can progress to latter stages of the competition, even the final itself, irrespective of a fifth-round clash against Auchinleck. A lot will depend on the draw going forward, assuming the Capital men see off the Ayrshire outfit in three weeks time. Another 1-0 win would certainly set the wheels in motion.

" ,"byline": {"email": "neil.mcglade@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Neil McGlade"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859507.1548012012!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859507.1548012012!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gordon Smith scores the only goal of the game to see off Auchinleck Talbot in January 2012. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gordon Smith scores the only goal of the game to see off Auchinleck Talbot in January 2012. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859507.1548012012!/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/well-done-clare-sublime-finish-hope-he-kicks-on-from-this-hearts-fans-react-to-1-0-win-over-livingston-1-4859491","id":"1.4859491","articleHeadline": "'Well done Clare. Sublime finish. Hope he kicks on from this' – Hearts fans react to 1-0 win over Livingston","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548007638418 ,"articleLead": "

A few comments from Jambos fans who watched their side advance to the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup, where they'll face Junior side Auchinleck Talbot.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859490.1548007828!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Vanecek and Sean Clare celebrate at full time. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

@BigC1874: \"Really really pleased for Clare. Hope it’ll help his confidence and we’ll see him kick on.\"

@oldhamjambo1956: \"Best team won in the end, and @JamTarts are only going to get better.\"

@Gcuth1: \"Well done @JamTarts ! It was murder trying to follow the match via text feed from here in Sri Lanka!\"

@MacNaBracha: \"Well done Clare. Sublime finish. Hope he kicks on from this.\"

@GarryCoutts: \"Great to see Clare get his first goal. Talent oozes from him. Just needs to kick on.\"

@snapqans: \"That was hard to watch. Good finish from @sean8clare, Naismith wasnt bad, vanecek had some nice touches. Anyways a wins a win!!

Rods: Clare was always going to need time to settle and recover from the injury. I have said previously after the window we will start to see the best of Clare and I stand by those comments. We will see him get another goal in the next couple of games.

And on drawing Auchinleck Talbot at home (they did in 2012 and went on to win the competition) in the next round of the cup:

@RobertMitchell: \"Repeat of 2012 maybe?\"

@GingerPoet: \"First class to lifting that trophy.\"

@boomtownbri: \"What happened last time we played them now??????????????\"

@hendo-ayes: \"Written in the stars.\"

Phil Dunphy: \"I’m not convinced we’ll turn them over as easily as people think. Hopefully a professional performance and they get seen off.\"

gordie1968: \"If I remember right they brought around 2000 fans that day and i had Mullen first goal scorer at 25/1 and he missed a penalty.\"

The Frenchman Returns: \"Friday night would be good.\"

OmiyaHearts: \"Great draw for us. Terrible draw for the conspiracy theorists.\"

smartin1987: \"Scotland v Ireland rugby at Murrayfield 2.15 was hoping 3pm Saturday not looking likely with Hibs at home as well.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "neil.mcglade@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Neil McGlade"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859490.1548007828!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859490.1548007828!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Vanecek and Sean Clare celebrate at full time. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Vanecek and Sean Clare celebrate at full time. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859490.1548007828!/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/three-things-we-learned-from-hearts-1-0-livingston-1-4859483","id":"1.4859483","articleHeadline": "Three things we learned from Hearts 1 - 0 Livingston","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548005960000 ,"articleLead": "

Three observations from the Gorgie men's win at Tynecastle courtesy of Sean Clare's second-half goal.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859482.1548005598!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clare curls home the game's only goal at Tynecastle against Livingston his first for Hearts. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Good things come to those who wait

Match winner Sean Clare has taken a fair bit of stick from sections of the Hearts support since arrival in Gorgie four months ago. Considering there was interest from a host of English Championship clubs all vying for his signature, it was deemed something of a coup for Craig Levein to capture the former Sheffield Wednesday player on a three-year deal.

It’s taken the 22-year-old longer than expected to adjust to his new surroundings but netting his first goal for the club will be a huge weight off his shoulders. It’s been a long time coming with no goals in 13 appearances prior to this afternoon’s encounter with Livingston. Craig Levein and his backroom staff – not to mention the supporters – will hope Clare can kick on from here.

Feel-good factor continues

Hearts ended 2018 on a positive note, none more so than the 1-0 win over city rivals Hibs. Levein’s players have now won three games on the trot since last month's back-to-back defeats against Livingston and Aberdeen, where they also failed to score a goal and conceded seven. It’s worth noting the current run is their best since the club racked up 13 matches without defeat at the beginning of the season.

With consecutive home Premiership fixtures against Dundee and St Johnstone to come over the next six days, not forgetting a home draw to the lowest-ranked side Auchinleck Talbot in the next round of the the William Hill Scottish Cup, there is a lot to be optimistic for Hearts supporters over the coming weeks and months.

A Sweet win

Not only did Hearts seal a place in the next round of the cup, eliminating Livingston will have made today's victory all the more satisfying. Barring a cup win over Hibs or either side of the Old Firm, Livi would have been next on the Hearts supporters' hit list. Although it won't banish the humiliation of last month's capitulation at the Tony Macaroni Arena, getting one over Gary Holt's side was just what the doctor ordered.

Prior to Sean Clare’s winner, Hearts hadn't scored against the Premiership newcomers this season. Failure to beat the West Lothian outfit for a third time would have been deemed unacceptable in some quarters. However, Hearts can now look forward to next month’s visit of Livi on league duty having got that monkey off their back.

" ,"byline": {"email": "neil.mcglade@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Neil McGlade"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859482.1548005598!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859482.1548005598!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sean Clare curls home the game's only goal at Tynecastle against Livingston his first for Hearts. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clare curls home the game's only goal at Tynecastle against Livingston his first for Hearts. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859482.1548005598!/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/hibs/scottish-cup-fifth-round-draw-home-ties-for-hearts-and-hibs-1-4859466","id":"1.4859466","articleHeadline": "Scottish Cup fifth round draw: Home ties for Hearts and Hibs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548003631000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts and Hibs have both been drawn at home against lower-league opposition in the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859465.1548002751!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "."} ,"articleBody": "

Craig Levein’s Jambos will take on West Super League side Auchinleck Talbot at Tynecastle Park, while Neil Lennon’s Hibs will host League One Raith Rovers at Easter Road.

Hearts defeated Auchinleck 1-0 in Scottish Cup in 2012 thanks to goal from Gordon Smith – the last time the Jambos won the tournament.

Hibs last played Rovers in the Scottish Cup in 2016 on the way to winning the trophy when Darren McGregor and Dominique Malonga were on target in a 2-0 win at Stark’s Park.

The ties are due to be played on the weekend of February 9.

Full draw: Ross County v Inverness; Hibs v Raith; Kilmarnock v Cowdenbeath or Rangers; Hearts v Auchinleck Talbot; St Mirren v Dundee United; East Fife v Partick Thistle; Aberdeen or Stenhousemuir v Dundee or Queen of the South; Celtic v St Johnstone.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859465.1548002751!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859465.1548002751!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": ".","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": ".","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859465.1548002751!/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-1-0-livingston-how-the-hearts-players-rated-1-4859468","id":"1.4859468","articleHeadline": "Hearts 1 - 0 Livingston: How the Hearts players rated","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548002523618 ,"articleLead": "

Marks out of ten for every Hearts player as the Tynecastle side edged out Premiership rivals Livingston to advance into the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859467.1548002664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clare's first goal for Hearts proved to be the winner. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Colin Doyle: Got down well to hold a Ryan Hardie effort and was generally sound. 6

Michael Smith: Committed in the tackle and showed his energy to support his team-mates in the final third. 7

Conor Shaughnessy: Had a real tussle with Livingston’s Dolly Menga but can be pleased with his debut. 6

Christophe Berra: Captain won his aerial battles and marshalled the troops well. 7

Ben Garuccio: A couple of slack moments from the Australian but improved second half. 6

Olly Lee: Kept things neat and tidy and was the driving force in midfield. 7

Sean Clare: Wonderfully-placed finish for his first goal for Hearts and received a standing ovation after being replaced with 12 minutes remaining. 7

Arnaud Djoum: Terrific backtracking to deny Scott Pittman when the Livi man was through on goal. Didn't impose himself enough going forward. 6

Callum Morrison: The home side’s best outlet in attack but missed a great opportunity to double the lead. 7

Steven Naismith: Gradually influenced himself more as the game wore on. Started the move that led to the goal. 7

David Vanecek: Teed up Clare’s opener and showed some nice touches on his long-awaited debut in a maroon jersey. 6


Oli Bozanic: Didn't have much opportunity to get on the ball. 3

Jake Mulraney: Late sub for Morrison. 3

" ,"byline": {"email": "neil.mcglade@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Neil McGlade"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859467.1548002664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859467.1548002664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sean Clare's first goal for Hearts proved to be the winner. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clare's first goal for Hearts proved to be the winner. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859467.1548002664!/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-1-0-livingston-sean-clare-s-first-goal-sends-jambos-through-in-scottish-cup-1-4859464","id":"1.4859464","articleHeadline": "Hearts 1-0 Livingston: Sean Clare's first goal sends Jambos through in Scottish Cup","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1548001349833 ,"articleLead": "

Sean Clare's first Hearts goal took the Edinburgh club into the Scottish Cup last 16 at Livingston's expense.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859463.1548001454!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clare celebrates his first Hearts goal"} ,"articleBody": "

A sublime finish by the English midfielder early in the second half secured progress and some revenge for the 5-0 league mauling Hearts suffered against the same opponents in December.

Clare arrived at Tynecastle Park last September on a three-year contract after leaving Sheffield Wednesday. He and has taken time to find his feet in Scotland. His first goal in maroon was worth the wait. He slotted a perfect curling effort into the corner of the net on 47 minutes from new signing David Vanecek's lay-off.

That was sufficient to propel Hearts into the next round of the Scottish Cup. Livingston competed well on the day and created several scoring opportunities of their own, but were ultimately undone by a moment of quality from Clare.

New Hearts signings Vanecek and Conor Shaughnessy both made competitive debuts in front of the BBC One Scotland television cameras. Livingston named one of their new arrivals, Gregg Wylde, in the starting line-up and left the other, Chris Erskine, on the substitutes' bench.

After a minute's silence to honour the recent passing of Hearts legend Freddie Glidden, the game began in predictably competitive fashion. The visitors opened with plenty confidence after that 5-0 win a few weeks ago and weren't frightened to send balls in behind the opposition defence.

Although Hearts probed, they were unable to breakthrough and were wary of Livingston's quick counter-attacks. A lofted forward ball on 22 minutes landed for Alan Lithgow to volley across the face of goal and narrowly wide. Ryan Hardie rejoined Livingston on loan from Rangers a few days ago and his headed flick from Keaghan Jacobs' corner was also tantalisingly close.

Hearts came to life as the interval approached and midfielder Olly Lee dispatched a 25-yard shot. Liam Kelly in the away goal quickly adjusted his feet to account for the swerve on the ball and held it strongly. He also denied Steven Naismith with a breathtaking one-handed stop seconds later, although the offside flag was up as Callumn Morrison's cross arrived at the Scotland forward's feet.

Morrison looked to be the hosts' most useful attacking outlet on the right flank as the first half progressed. Vanecek was hoping to feed off crosses but was somewhat malnourished in that regard. Livingston's tactics were to send the ball forward directly and try to get defenders in maroon turning.

The deadlock was broken two minutes into the second period. Some neat build-up play involving Naismith and Vanecek ended with the Czech's lay-off into Clare's path. The Englishman didn't even need to break stride as he advanced to curl a perfect first-time finish beyond Kelly into the far corner of the net.

The Livingston captain Craig Halkett prevented a certain second soon after when he cleared Morrison's low shot off the goal line. However, at the opposite end there was a reminder of Hardie's ability. The striker collected Scott Pittman's pass for an angled drive which fully tested the Hearts goalkeeper Colin Doyle. Halkett drove another shot in from distance which the Irishman punched clear.

Time was running out on Livingston's Scottish Cup ambitions and they forced the issue entering the closing stages. Balls were showering down on the Hearts penalty area but were mainly met and repelled by the club captain Christophe Berra.

In the end, Clare's strike was enough to decide the game and send a contented home side through to the fifth round.

Hearts (4-4-1-1): Doyle; M Smith, Shaughnessy, Berra, Garuccio; Morrison (Mulraney 86), Lee, Djoum, Naismith; Clare (Bozanic 80); Vanecek. Unused subs: Zlamal, Mitchell, MacLean, Dikamona, Keena.

Livingston (3-5-2): Kelly; Gallagher, Halkett, Lithgow; Lawless, Pittman, Jacobs, Byrne, Wylde (Lamie 60); Menga (Hamilton 75), Hardie (Erskine 71). Unused subs: Stewart, Sibbald, Cadden, Lawson.

Referee: Willie Collum.

Attendance: 11,077.

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson at Tynecastle Park"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859463.1548001454!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859463.1548001454!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sean Clare celebrates his first Hearts goal","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clare celebrates his first Hearts goal","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859463.1548001454!/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-bobby-burns-is-studying-for-an-open-university-degree-1-4859264","id":"1.4859264","articleHeadline": "Hearts’ Bobby Burns is studying for an Open University degree","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547964000000 ,"articleLead": "

Most footballers will tell you they never look beyond the next game, but Hearts teenager Bobby Burns is planning years ahead. He is studying for a degree in maths and business management whilst striving to force his way into the first team at Tynecastle Park. He clearly doesn’t do things by halves.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859263.1547940552!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bobby Burns has continued his studies despite having a full-time football career at Tynecastle. Photograph: Craig Foy/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The 19-year-old Northern Irishman left Glenavon last summer to sign a three-year Hearts contract. He spent the first half of the season loaned to Livingston – today’s Scottish Cup opponents – before being recalled earlier this month. He also sought to make the most of his academic abilities.

As head boy at St Malachy’s College on Belfast’s Antrim Road, Burns achieved three A grades in his AS Levels in 2017. He followed that up last year with two A* grades and another A in his A Levels. Which prompts the question: Is there anything this kid can’t do?

Actually, there is. He can’t play in the Scottish Premiership and study full-time towards a degree. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Hence Burns has enrolled in a part-time Open University course which will take six years to complete. He is admirably determined to ensure he provides himself with a safety net should football not work out.

“My school grades were alright, yeah,” he laughs. “If I wasn’t playing football now I would probably be at university doing maths or business or something. I really enjoyed school back home. I only left last year when I was 18.

“A lot of people from Northern Ireland come over here at 16 and don’t get much of an education and end up being homesick. So it was great for me to mature a bit more and also learn my trade over there. I have played 75 men’s games now. I don’t know what I’d be doing right now if I wasn’t playing. Maybe something to do with accountancy, although maybe that’s a bit too boring.”

Football was always the priority in his mind. “It never came down to football or a degree. Once I have finished playing I can always go back to that. Once I got my grades my view was to give football everything I have and see where it takes me. Then, if I get to 28 or whatever, I can just go back to university again. It might be a bit grim with my brothers all working but it’ll be alright.

“I’m doing an Open University course in maths and business management. I’m doing it part-time so it takes six years instead of three. I don’t know if the boys in the dressing room know any of this. They do now, right enough.

“I know Ryan Edwards and a couple of boys at Livingston are doing similar courses. It’s hard, it’s all Skype calls, but it’s a good balance. Most of the other boys are playing Fortnite after training so it’s a bit more worthwhile. It doesn’t take much of my time. The football is my priority so it only takes me a couple of hours a week. We normally get a Wednesday off so that’s when I sit down and look at it.

“Very few people earn enough money during their football career to retire off it these days. So it’s good to have a back-up plan. I have a three-year contract here but you never know when you might finish, even with an injury. So my brains are probably more in my head than my feet.”

Highlighting the worth of academic studies over video games suggests he is certainly switched on upstairs. Yet there is plenty talent in both feet, too. He impressed enough at Livingston to be called into Northern Ireland’s senior squad for the first time and is now determined to make an impact at Hearts.

Today’s fourth-round tie at Tynecastle is the first competitive fixture since Burns rejoined his parent club. “It had to happen, I guess,” he smiles. “I really enjoyed my time at Livingston. I never really got to say goodbye because I left during the winter break, so I am looking forward to it. The banter has started already.

“I spoke with the gaffer [Craig Levein] and we discussed what might happen if I came back. I played a decent amount at Livingston but we agreed it was best to come back and try to push into the team. The manager has told me I will get a chance.”

He is also intelligent enough to realise Hearts’ cup potential despite being a relative newcomer. “I was at Livingston but I went to the [Betfred Cup semi-final] Hearts v Celtic game at Murrayfield and the atmosphere was great. You strive for those big days. It would be fantastic to get to another semi-final or a final and maybe go one better and win it.

“You could see how big a club this is on a day like that. The Scottish Cup is the one we’d love to win but we’ve probably been given the hardest draw of the lot.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859263.1547940552!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859263.1547940552!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bobby Burns has continued his studies despite having a full-time football career at Tynecastle. Photograph: Craig Foy/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bobby Burns has continued his studies despite having a full-time football career at Tynecastle. Photograph: Craig Foy/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859263.1547940552!/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-craig-levein-is-still-on-var-path-but-not-with-derek-mcinnes-1-4859013","id":"1.4859013","articleHeadline": "Hearts boss Craig Levein is still on VAR path – but not with Derek McInnes","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547879400000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Levein has urged all Scottish Premiership managers to tell their clubs they want VAR introduced as swiftly as possible following Thursday’s summit with match officials.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4855429.1547832237!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein was at the meeting in Perth"} ,"articleBody": "

A meeting was held at McDiarmid Park between ten top-flight bosses and referees following a spate of high-profile controversies in Scottish football in recent months.

Levein found the discussions productive and felt the overriding aspect was a widespread desire on both sides to see VAR introduced. “The most important thing in Scottish football right now is to bring VAR in,” said the Hearts manager, whose players saw a string of key decisions go against them towards the end of 2018.

“It would get rid of the current problems – which obviously manifested themselves in John Beaton being harassed recently (after the Old Firm game). I believe that VAR would stop it. Immediately.

“It might cost a little bit of money, but the cost to Scottish football, in terms of the bad publicity that is created, makes it a no-brainer for me. Absolutely, that was the mood in the room.”

Levein believes that VAR could be funded by extra revenue from the new TV deal which kicks in next year. “If you hand money out to clubs and ask for money back, it’s a problem. If you take the money off at source, then nobody misses it – particularly if we’re all getting an increase anyway. And I don’t think there is anybody, in their right mind, who could want the situation that is going on just now to continue. So VAR solves the problem. Simple as that. I don’t know what the timescales are but, in my opinion, the sooner the better. They should make it a priority. I think it is incumbent on every manager who was in that room (on Thursday) to go back to their club and say, ‘we need to get this introduced as quickly as possible’.”

Levein, meanwhile, explained that there was no lingering acrimony between himself and Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes as their paths crossed for the first time since their well-documented spat over the festive period. “We shook hands and spoke in general about things,” said Levein. “This business is emotional and Derek and I get on really well. We’ve had our issues but we shook hands and as far as I’m concerned it’s nothing now - it’s gone.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4855429.1547832237!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4855429.1547832237!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein was at the meeting in Perth","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein was at the meeting in Perth","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4855429.1547832237!/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/david-vanecek-not-100-per-cent-fit-but-is-set-to-start-for-hearts-in-cup-1-4859010","id":"1.4859010","articleHeadline": "David Vanecek ‘not 100 per cent fit’ but is set to start for Hearts in cup","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547879400000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Levein has confirmed that new striker David Vanecek is set to lead the Hearts attack in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup showdown with Livingston.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859009.1547832025!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Vanecek limbers up for Hearts v Livingston on Sunday. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The 27-year-old Czech is short of match fitness as he hasn’t played since his last game for former club Teplice seven weeks ago. However, Levein is ready to throw the target man in from the start in this weekend’s Tynecastle clash with the Lions.

“Is he 100 per cent? No. Is he ready to start? He hasn’t got a choice!” said the manager. “He hasn’t played since the end of November, something like that. It is almost like a full summer of six weeks or something like that so he is not fully up to speed but we will see how he does.”

Levein is weighing up whether to include John Souttar in the squad tomorrow after the Scotland centre-back returned to training this week following more than three months out with a hip issue. “He was back on Wednesday in full training and looks fantastic, like he has never been away,” said the manager. “The operation has solved a couple of impingement issues he had in his hips and there were some positions he got into where he felt restricted but all of those have gone.

“We will see how he is in training before the Livingston game but he is one of our best players and he was in a fantastic place mentally when he went out. He had just got into the Scotland team and had played a couple of matches. He was getting to that point over a year and a half ago when he did his Achilles and was out for nine months and unfortunately he has had this, which wasn’t quite as long term but it was a difficult situation. So it is great to see him back on the training ground and he looks like he is going to be ok.”

Uche Ikpeazu is a couple of weeks behind Souttar in the comeback trail and the striker is expected to be back in action early in February.

“He got the screw out of his foot on Monday and has to do nothing for a week to make sure there is no infections or nonsense like that. His foot is stable and basically he will be able to go full pelt, but he will have to catch up a little bit (fitness-wise) so we are looking at maybe two or three weeks.”

Peter Haring recently underwent a double hernia operation. “Peter is out and we had a couple of wee niggles over in Spain but nothing important,” said Levein when asked about the fitness of his squad for tomorrow’s game. After adding Vanecek and defender Conor Shaugnessy to his squad in recent weeks, Levein is not anticipating any further January arrivals at Tynecastle.

“I doubt it,” he said. “There was one player that we thought was a good possibility but it didn’t work out.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859009.1547832025!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859009.1547832025!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Vanecek limbers up for Hearts v Livingston on Sunday. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Vanecek limbers up for Hearts v Livingston on Sunday. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859009.1547832025!/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/ben-garuccio-hearts-will-channel-derby-positivity-against-livingston-1-4859020","id":"1.4859020","articleHeadline": "Ben Garuccio: Hearts will channel derby positivity against Livingston","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547879400000 ,"articleLead": "

Ben Garuccio is hoping that the lingering positivity from the Edinburgh derby victory three weeks ago can help Hearts eliminate Livingston from the Scottish Cup tomorrow.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859019.1547832387!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Olly Lee, left, celebrates his derby goal with Ben Garuccio at Easter Road"} ,"articleBody": "

The Tynecastle side have had three weeks to bask in the glory of their first away win over city rivals Hibs in more than four and a half years. It was one of their most celebrated victories for some time and Garuccio admits the subsequent winter break probably came at the wrong time in terms of using the feelgood factor to help generate further fruitful results on the pitch. Nonetheless, the Australian left-back is confident that his team can use the positivity generated at the end of 2018 to help them kick-off 2019 on a high note.

“If anything the break maybe came at the wrong time after that Hibs result,” said Garuccio. “You want to keep going, you felt like you could take on the world; you feel king of the world after a result like that. So we just want to continue where we left off.”

Garuccio seemed to thrive in the derby atmosphere as he produced arguably his best display to date.

“I had heard a lot of stories about how tough it had been to win there in recent years, so to get a good result like that was great, I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I live right in the city centre so people would stop me and say well done, and after a big win like that it’s nice.

“Obviously when you are on the other end of it you just want to stay in the house and not even go out. But it’s nice to know you’ve done your team proud and the fans are proud to say you’re a Hearts player.”

That wasn’t the case a mere three weeks previously for Garuccio and his colleagues after they had crashed to a humiliating 5-0 defeat away to Livingston. After the subsequent victory over Hibs earned them some forgiveness from their supporters, Garuccio is confident Hearts can take a further step towards banishing that grim Friday evening in West Lothian from memory.

“We haven’t really spoken about the desire for payback but as a footballer you remember those results,” said the Aussie. “There are games like that where you don’t really know what went wrong. It’s just a night to forget. When you look back you look at your own performance and it’s not very as good as well. It wasn’t very good from me that night and if you have a few people like that the chances are you’re going to have a bad result.

“That can happen, but on nights when it does you have to make sure it doesn’t get embarrassing like that. We’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen again. It was embarrassing for us, we want to put things right, and this is the best way to do it in front of our own fans.”

With the feelgood factor restored by back-to-back wins at the end of 2018 and key players returning from injury, Garuccio is hopeful that Hearts can rekindle the level of form that helped them move six points clear at the top of the Premiership in October. He is upbeat about their prospects of climbing back into the top four after they slipped to fifth place before the break.

“100 per cent I think we can start moving back up the league,” said Garuccio. “I don’t think it’s naive to think that either. Look back to the start of the season and how well we were playing, it felt like we were going away to tough places and getting results. It really felt like something special – as a footballer, you don’t always have that feeling.

“That result at Hibs brings that feeling and that belief back. You need to believe or there’s no way you’ll do it.

“Everyone collectively needs to believe. I seriously believe 100 per cent that we will move back up the league. We had a bad run but we’re still only six points off the top so that says something about how well we did at the start of the season. If we can get back to that form, we’ll definitely get closer to the top of the league.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859019.1547832387!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859019.1547832387!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Olly Lee, left, celebrates his derby goal with Ben Garuccio at Easter Road","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Olly Lee, left, celebrates his derby goal with Ben Garuccio at Easter Road","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859019.1547832387!/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/would-trust-him-with-my-life-hearts-fans-react-to-michael-smith-s-new-contract-1-4859049","id":"1.4859049","articleHeadline": "‘Would trust him with my life’: Hearts fans react to Michael Smith’s new contract","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547835986000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts fans were today greeted with the news that full-back Michael Smith had signed a two-year contract extension to remain with the club.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859047.1547835981!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Smith has signed a new deal to remain at Hearts until 2021. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

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The Northern Irishman, thanks in part to some superb displays in the centre of the defence as 2018 came to a close, has emerged as a firm fans’ favourite at Tynecastle. Therefore, it was little surprise to see the support unanimous in their praise of the move on social media...

@liam_1874226: Superb bit of business keeping the big man here!! One of our most underrated players!

@WoodburnCafu2: Mikey smith 2 year deal, what a start to the weekend.

@adamtkendo: One of the best moves you could’ve made this window @JamTarts, superb

@captainjamtart: Superb news been my Player of the Year this season. Mr Consistent.

@tweetercal: Great News! After a week of drab politics, this is the perfect tonic! Slainthe.

@kempy79: Well done Michael, delighted to have you for a few more years.

@welshy199008: Just the news we wanted to hear! Soutter back training and Michael new deal! Great start to this weekend.

@TStanders: Hopefully with a settled team the next couple of years we can really kick on now.

@IanWWright: Absolutely delighted. For me he’s the first name on the team sheet, then you just have to decide which position he plays.

@HeartsThough: Michael Smith:

- plays anywhere

- always solid

- bodies everyone

- dilf

- would trust him with my life

- kind of looks like he hates everything?

@BigC1874: Now do @DikamonaClevid #JamboSoldier

@gavinwallace30: Now all you have to do is #AnnounceNaisy on a pre contract. Don’t be long.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859047.1547835981!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859047.1547835981!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Michael Smith has signed a new deal to remain at Hearts until 2021. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Smith has signed a new deal to remain at Hearts until 2021. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859047.1547835981!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5982164859001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}