{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"hearts","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/raith-rovers-1-1-hearts-jambos-win-4-2-on-penalties-after-poor-betfred-cup-display-1-4772219","id":"1.4772219","articleHeadline": "Raith Rovers 1-1 Hearts: Jambos win 4-2 on penalties after poor Betfred Cup display","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532190604907 ,"articleLead": "League One Raith Rovers sprang a Betfred Cup surprise by holding Premiership Hearts to a draw before losing the subsequent penalty shootout 4-2.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772218.1532202486!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Souttar scores Hearts' final penalty against Raith Rovers at Bayview"} ,"articleBody": "

The Edinburgh side underperformed on the day and their fortunes in this tournament could worsen on Monday when they are sanctioned for fielding an ineligible player.

Hearts could be fined and/or deducted points in Group C for their misdemeanour last Wednesday, adding extra importance to this game against Raith. Andy Irving took the field as a substitute against Cove Rangers despite not being registered and the punishment will be decided by an SPFL panel at a hearing on Monday.

The Tynecastle side took a bonus point from this affair after winning the shootout but they really wanted all three. It must be said their display did not merit such a reward. Kevin Nisbet scored early in the second half before Michael Smith's first Hearts goal prevented a damaging defeat. Olly Lee missed his penalty for Hearts but two failed attempts from the spot by Raith's Kyle Benedictus and Ross Matthews ended their hopes of an extra point.

New goalkeeper Colin Doyle started on the Hearts bench against a Raith side depleted by injury and carrying only four substitutes. They switched the game to Bayview, home of East Fife, whilst the Stark's Park pitch is relaid. They also needed a result having lost their opening group match against rivals Cowdenbeath last weekend.

The early stages were relatively frantic and Hearts' midweek goalscorer Lee again displayed his threat with two early attempts at the Raith goal. Left wing-back Jake Mulraney also looked threatening whenever he ran at the opposition. The visitors' problem was getting in behind those in dark blue as the first half progressed.

Kyle Lafferty's deflected free-kick bounced just wide of target on 26 minutes, but Hearts survived a fortunate escape ten minutes later. Centre-back Peter Haring conceded possession cheaply inside his own half and Raith mounted an attack down their left flank. From Euan Valentine's deep cross, Jamie Watson's header bounced beyond the far post.

As the half-time whistle sounded it was obvious Hearts needed a jolt to lift their performance with the scoreline blank. Raith were resilient and well-organised by manager Barry Smith and would have sensed the potential for a cup upset.

That possibility grew considerably five minutes after the restart. A meandering run by Nisbet from the right took him deep into opposition territory without a challenge. His square ball found Grant Gillespie and the midfielder's attempted shot deflected back into the path of Nisbet, who had continued his forward run. He completed the simple task of stroking the ball beyond goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal and into the Hearts net despite offside claims.

Craig Levein, the Tynecastle manager, quickly replaced Lafferty with teenage forward Aidan Keena. Another youngster, Callumn Morrison, came on for Oliver Bozanic as Hearts changed from a 3-4-1-2 system to 4-2-3-1. Raith might have struck again on 63 minutes when Gillespie sprung the offside trap, however his low cross was cleared by Lee.

Morrison, Mulraney and Burns sent several deliveries in towards the Raith goalkeeper Robbie Thomson, who dealt with them and a Haring header comfortably. The travelling fans from Edinburgh were becoming increasingly irked by events on the field as the clock ticked towards the final ten minutes.

Then came a goal out of nothing precisely when Hearts needed one. Full-back Smith ambled forward and sent a left-footed shot from 25 yards soaring into the top corner of Thomson's net. That teed up an onslaught for the closing stages as the Tynecastle side pursued a winner.

Smith had another attempt following Anthony McDonald's clever reverse pass, and Christophe Berra had a header disallowed in the 89th minute when referee Don Robertson judged a foul on goalkeeper Thomson. Morrison cut inside from the left but his angled attempt cleared the far post. Keena's shot was blocked by Benedictus and Berra saw another header cleared off the goal line. The final whistle confirmed penalties for the chance of a bonus point.

Smith, Keena, Steven Naismith and John Souttar scored for Hearts, although Lee's penalty was punched to safety by Thomson. Gillespie and Euan Murray hit the net for Raith, but Benedictus' shot was saved by Zlamal and Matthews sent his attempt over the bar. That ensured a 4-2 shootout win and an extra point for Levein's side.

Raith Rovers (4-1-4-1): Thomson; Watson, McKay, Benedictus, Murray; Davidson; Nisbet (Stevenson 80), Matthews, Gillespie, Valentine; Duggan (Milne 62). Unused subs: McGuff, Berry.

Hearts (3-4-1-2): Zlamal; Haring, Souttar, Berra; M Smith, Burns, Bozanic (Morrison 59), Mulraney (McDonald 73); Lee; Lafferty (Keena 52), Naismith. Unused subs: Doyle, Garuccio, Hughes, Edwards.

Referee: Don Robertson.

Attendance: 1452.

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson at Bayview"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772218.1532202486!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772218.1532202486!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Souttar scores Hearts' final penalty against Raith Rovers at Bayview","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Souttar scores Hearts' final penalty against Raith Rovers at Bayview","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772218.1532202486!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/craig-levein-hopes-sanction-doesn-t-ruin-betfred-cup-run-1-4771813","id":"1.4771813","articleHeadline": "Craig Levein hopes sanction doesn’t ruin Betfred Cup run","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532170242000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Levein is hopeful that any punishment imposed on Hearts for fielding an ineligible player against Cove Rangers won’t leave them facing elimination from the Betfred Cup.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771812.1532094620!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein"} ,"articleBody": "

The Tynecastle side are set to find out their fate at a hearing on Monday after it emerged on Thursday morning that Andy Irving, who came on as a substitute in the second half of the 2-1 victory at the Balmoral Stadium the previous evening, wasn’t clear to play.

The teenage midfielder signed a contract extension with Hearts in January, but the club had failed to register it with the SFA due to an administrative error, meaning Irving was effectively ineligible to play upon the expiry of his original deal last month.

Hearts owner Ann Budge immediately issued a statement admitting the club were “embarrassed” by the error, which could have a damaging effect on their hopes of progressing in the Betfred Cup.

Instant expulsion from the tournament would be the most severe sanction Hearts could suffer, although that appears unlikely given that the offence occurred in a group match and not in a straight knockout tie. A likelier outcome would be the docking of the three points from Wednesday’s match or a fine.

“It’s a bizarre situation, it was back in January that we signed Andy on a new deal and we’re normally right on the ball with these kind of things,” said manager Levein. “We found out Thursday morning that something was wrong and it’s slightly embarrassing, as Ann said.”

Levein was wary of discussing his club’s potential punishment in any great detail ahead of Monday’s hearing, although he did acknowledge that, with a possible points deduction on the cards, there would be no margin for error in his team’s remaining three Group C matches, starting with today’s meeting with Raith Rovers at New Bayview. “I have no idea what the sanctions are because I think this is an unusual situation,” he said. “There used to be a mini-group for the League Cup away back in the mid-80s and I don’t know if there is anything that ever happened at that point that sets a precedent.

“We were winning 2-0 when Andy came on. I have to be careful with what I say as there is hearing on Monday although naturally I would hope that any sanction would not be damaging for out prospects in this competition. I don’t want to pre-empt anything that happens at the hearing. Whatever happens, we need to be doubly focussed on the remaining matches against Raith, Cowdenbeath and Inverness.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4771812.1532094620!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771812.1532094620!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Craig Levein","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4771812.1532094620!/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/new-hearts-keeper-colin-doyle-puts-feet-first-in-bid-to-be-no-1-1-4771945","id":"1.4771945","articleHeadline": "New Hearts keeper Colin Doyle puts feet first in bid to be No.1","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532151000000 ,"articleLead": "

Goalkeeper Colin Doyle is relishing the chance to continue developing as a ball-playing goalkeeper at Hearts as the Tynecastle side place extra emphasis on building from the back this season.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771944.1532107749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Colin Doyle"} ,"articleBody": "

The 33-year-old Irish internationalist this week signed a two-year contract with the Edinburgh club after leaving Bradford City following two years as their number one.

Having spent the majority of his career focusing on the basics of goalkeeping such as shot-stopping and commanding his penalty area, Doyle has enjoyed adapting his game in recent seasons to become a goalkeeper comfortable with the ball at his feet and able to spark attacks. He is pleased that his new team, who struggled to establish a clear playing style last season amid a series of obstacles, are intent on accommodating his new-found desire to build from the back-line as opposed to going long and direct.

“When I came here on Monday, the manager showed me clips from my time at Bradford, highlighting things he wanted me to do,” said Doyle. “He told me he wants me to play out to feet, which, predominantly at Bradford under Stuart McCall, we ended up doing. I enjoyed that because in previous years, it tended to just be get the ball and kick it as far as I can. I’m excited about playing this way.

“The art of goalkeeping is probably changing now. I did a B licence in the summer and I was asked the question: if you were a manager, what type of keeper would you look for? Would you look for a keeper who comes for crosses and saves some shots or one who doesn’t comes for crosses, but is really good with his feet? You have all those dilemmas now. Look at Ederson at Man City and the new lad (Alisson) who has just gone to Liverpool. They are phenomenal with the ball at their feet. Obviously they can save a ball as well, but Ederson probably doesn’t come off his line as much as a lot of them. As a keeper playing with the ball at his feet, I don’t think I’ve seen better. The art of goalkeeping is changing, football is developing all the time and moving forward.

“I’m not too bad with my feet. I had to work on it a bit because, before that, it was sort of, put the ball down, take a goal kick and just squeeze up. I enjoyed playing at Bradford. We tried to get the full-backs out, get the centre-halves on it, the midfield on it. I got used to it quite quickly and I quite enjoyed it.”

After forcing his way back into the Ireland set-up during his two years with Bradford, the former Birmingham City and Blackpool goalkeeper was psyched for extending his stay with the English League One side. However, after being unable to reach an agreement with Yorkshire club, he was delighted when Hearts got in touch earlier this month to offer him the chance to compete with Zdenek Zlamal for the No.1 jersey at Tynecastle. “I came up on Monday but I heard of Hearts’ interest just over a week ago,” said Doyle. “There was contact with my agent and he asked if I’d like to come. We came up on Monday to have a look at the facilities and they were top class. Once I saw that, it was an easy decision. I’ve no grudges against Bradford, I had two fantastic years there.

“They said they’d offer me a deal, and we put something to them, which agents sometimes do, and we just never heard back, no negotiations, nothing. We made a few phone calls to try and get in contact with them. I wasn’t stressing or worrying about it because I thought it would be sorted. But a few days before pre-season started I was on holiday and my agent got a phone call to say they were going down a different route. It’s part of football and you have to accept it and move on.

“I had a couple of offers down south, but once this came up it was a no-brainer really. Playing in the Premiership, you’ve got big games here against Celtic, Rangers, Hibs, Aberdeen – it’s big teams, big crowds and it’s what I want to play in front of.”

Doyle finished last season by playing three games for Ireland – against France, USA and Celtic, when he appeared in Scott Brown’s testimonial at Celtic Park. “It was a good atmosphere and it was the first time I had been to Celtic Park to play, I’ll certainly looking forward to going back,” he said of a venue Hearts are due to visit in three weeks’ time.

Doyle’s move to Hearts has reunited him with two former colleagues, Uche Ikpeazu and Olly Lee. “I know Uche from Blackpool and Olly from Birmingham,” said the goalkeeper. “When I came in on Monday to look round, I didn’t meet anyone other than Olly and Uche. I don’t know whether that was set up by the gaffer to convince me to sign!”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4771944.1532107749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771944.1532107749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Colin Doyle","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Colin Doyle","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4771944.1532107749!/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-delighted-to-have-two-first-choice-keepers-battling-for-gloves-1-4771952","id":"1.4771952","articleHeadline": "Hearts boss delighted to have two first-choice keepers battling for gloves","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532151000000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Levein is delighted to have two senior goalkeepers vying for the Hearts No.1 slot after the recruitment of Irish internationalist Colin Doyle this week.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771951.1532110487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Colin Doyle"} ,"articleBody": "

Zdenek Zlamal, the 32-year-old Czech, appeared destined to be the clear first choice when he arrived earlier this summer following the departures of Jon McLaughlin and Jack Hamilton.

However, the signing of 33-year-old Doyle, who has started each of Republic of Ireland’s last three matches, means Hearts now possess two experienced keepers intent on playing regularly.

“I am really thrilled with the signing of Colin,” said Levein.

“To have that competition for that position makes me feel really good.

“After signing Bobby (Zlamal), I was initially looking for a No 2 goalkeeper. Actually saying it makes me feel that that isn’t a proper thing. We now have two goalkeepers fighting for the No 1 spot which makes me feel much better than saying he’s the No 1 and he can just sit there.

“They are both experienced goalkeepers and they have both been in the same situation before.”

Zlamal, who made an impressive competitive debut in the 2-1 win over Cove Rangers in Wednesday, is currently in command of the gloves and will start against Raith Rovers at New Bayview today.

“Bobby is the man in possession right now because I thought he did well on Wednesday. I thought he was steady, calm and made a lot of good decisions.

“There is touch of eccentricity in there somewhere, but I quite like that.

“Colin has only really trained since yesterday. Bobby’s had most of the pre-season and he played other day. He’s fine and he will play against Raith, so we’ll see where it takes us.”

Steven Naismith is set to return to the squad today after serving a suspension against Cove but veteran striker Steven MacLean will be rested. Australian left-back Ben Garuccio will be among the substitutes after not being included in the squad for Wednesday’s trip north, but Harry Cochrane, Anthony McDonald and Don Cowie are all sidelined with minor injuries.

“Don’s had a calf strain,” said Levein.

“Him and Arnaud Djoum are training together. They’re both out running and are close to coming back.

Harry’s had one niggling problem after another and Anthony’s Achilles has been a bit tight – we might see them in the next two or three weeks.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4771951.1532110487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771951.1532110487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Colin Doyle","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Colin Doyle","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4771951.1532110487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/maroon-memories-mcglynn-bosses-the-kingdom-once-more-1-4771458","id":"1.4771458","articleHeadline": "Maroon Memories: McGlynn bosses the Kingdom once more","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532150723000 ,"articleLead": "

John McGlynn had some happy times in Fife at the helm of Raith Rovers and having taken over the managerial reins at Hearts his return visits aren’t going too badly either.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771457.1532039777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGlynn looks on from the East End Park dugout with his coaching staff including Gary Locke, right"} ,"articleBody": "

Having won at his former Kirkcaldy stomping ground seven days previously, McGlynn completed a double as his new charges cruised to a victory over Dunfermline.

Goals in either half from Andy Webster and John Sutton, the latter from the penalty spot, confirmed Hearts’ superiority and were a reminder that despite the new age of austerity down Gorgie way, the new Hearts boss still has some accomplished resources at his disposal. As well as the goalscorers, there were impressive performances down either flank from David Templeton and Andy Driver, whilst Ryan McGowan once again caught the eye in his recast role as supporting front man to Sutton. “After the midweek setback to Falkirk, it was good to get back to winning ways,” professed McGlynn. “I thought we should have won by more but it was a good all-round performance. I definitely think McGowan can do well playing further forward because he’s got the pace and legs for it.”

In his programme notes former Hearts man and current Dunfermline manager Jim Jefferies reflected on what has been an exceptionally trying pre-season for himself and the Fife club with the prolonged uncertainty over whether they would be playing SPL or SFL football only being brought to a close last Monday. With it finally being decreed that they will drop into the First Division after all, 
Jefferies has had his work cut out trying to build a squad equipped for the campaign ahead and this was reflected when he used no fewer than 18 players, including several trialists over the course of the 90 minutes. Regarding the tantalising prospect of Kevin Kyle once again joining forces with Jefferies – the player was a second-half substitute in this game – the official line remains that he is merely training with the East End Park side.

Despite some sterling performances for some from Jefferies’ experimental squad, Hearts were well on top from the early stages of this encounter, but it took them a while to get their rhythm and passing into shape.

Perhaps keen to make their mark in more ways than one some of the home players’ challenges fell into the robust category and somewhat unusually for a low key friendly we had the sight of two Dunfermline players – Josh Falkingham and John Potter – being shown yellow cards in quick succession midway through the first half.

Giving away needless free kicks played right into the visitors’ hands as they posed a considerable threat from set-pieces from the aerial prowess of Sutton, Webster and Marius Zaliukas. It was indeed the result of a free kick that was only cleared for a corner that gave Hearts the lead with Templeton floating the ball over and it fell to Webster to hook it into the net from near the penalty spot.

The Tynecastle men took command after this with Driver unlucky with a succession of attempts and Templeton doing his bit from the other flank. Inevitably, the game suffered as a spectacle as time ticked by – at one point we had the astonishing sight of Jefferies introducing six players in a mass substitution. Not to be outdone McGlynn replaced four in a single swoop later on.

Despite this, the pattern of the play remained remarkably unchanged and Hearts eventually extended their lead when Templeton was floored by one of Dunfermline’s trialists and Sutton put away the spot kick.

Dunfermline: G Smith; Geggan, Potter, Dowie, McMillan; Burns, Falkingham, Thomson, Trialist, Cardle; Barrowman.

Hearts: McDonald; Paterson, Webster, Zaliukas, McHattie; Driver, Robinson, Holt, Templeton; R McGowan, Sutton.

Referee: S Somers. Attendance: 1700.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Dunfermline 0, Hearts 2. Saturday, July 21, 2012"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4771457.1532039777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771457.1532039777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John McGlynn looks on from the East End Park dugout with his coaching staff including Gary Locke, right","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGlynn looks on from the East End Park dugout with his coaching staff including Gary Locke, right","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4771457.1532039777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/craig-levein-hearts-must-accept-and-deal-with-any-spfl-sanction-1-4771665","id":"1.4771665","articleHeadline": "Craig Levein: Hearts must accept and deal with any SPFL sanction","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532085875000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts boss Craig Levein says the club have to accept whatever punishment they are given after admitting to fielding an ineligible player against Cove Rangers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771663.1532085872!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein speaks to the press. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Hearts fielded an ineligible player in Betfred Cup win

The Jambos released a statement on Thursday night expressing their “embarrassment” after bringing on the unregistered Andrew Irving in the second half of the 2-1 Betfred Cup win.

They will face a Scottish Professional Football League disciplinary hearing on Monday where they will learn their fate, and could potentially be docked points for what Levein has described as an administrative error.

“It’s an unfortunate situation and I don’t think in my whole time in football I’ve been involved in a situation like this,” he said. “They do happen, and it was just an administrative error back in January.

“We have processes in place which are fairly robust and we have missed something in January, which is highly unusual.”

Chairwoman Ann Budge said in a statement that the club had not uploaded the details of a new contract for Irving to the Scottish Football Association registration system, and following the expiration of his previous deal in June it left him unregistered.

“I don’t know if the club has ever been involved in anything like this,” Levein admitted.

“It’s not something we make a habit of and I don’t know how the hearing will go or the possible sanctions.

“I know teams have been fined and other teams have been docked points, but it might be different because it’s a group section rather than just a straightforward tie.

“We have to accept whatever it is and deal with it and see if we can still qualify.

“It gives us a challenge and a common cause to rally together and try to get through to the next round of the competition.”

He added: “I don’t know what the sanctions will be and I don’t want to preempt any of that.

“The only thing was that we were winning 2-0 when he came on and we lost a goal! It didn’t help us, that’s for sure.”

If Hearts were to be denied the points gained from Wednesday’s win, it would leave them six points adrift of Inverness in Group C of the cup and make Saturday’s clash with Raith Rovers all the more important if they are to progress.

They will be boosted by the return of Steven Naismith following suspension but Steven MacLean, who made a goalscoring debut during the week, will miss out along with Harry Cochrane who has suffered a fresh ankle knock.

Levein said: “At the beginning of the competition our focus was to win all four matches because that guarantees you get through to the next round.

“We have played one and won it, but whether we have won it or not we will have to wait and see and the intention hasn’t changed, and that’s to win the rest of the matches we play.

“We play Raith on Saturday who will be hurt a little bit after losing a derby match to Cowdenbeath and I’m sure they will be fired up to make sure that situation doesn’t reoccur.”

READ MORE - Hearts striker Steven MacLean dispels idea he can’t play on plastic

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "WILL JACKSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4771663.1532085872!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771663.1532085872!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein speaks to the press. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein speaks to the press. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4771663.1532085872!/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/astroturf-not-a-problem-for-me-says-hearts-striker-steven-maclean-1-4771351","id":"1.4771351","articleHeadline": "Astroturf not a problem for me, says Hearts striker Steven MacLean","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532079667000 ,"articleLead": "

Steven MacLean has quashed suggestions he can’t play on astroturf and insisted he will “play in a car park” for Hearts if asked.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771350.1532079664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steven MacLean scored on his debut for Hearts"} ,"articleBody": "

The 35-year-old striker scored his first competitive goal for the Edinburgh club on Cove Rangers’ new synthetic surface in Wednesday night’s Betfred Cup win. He stressed he wants to be involved in every Hearts game from now on.

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright regularly left MacLean out of games on plastic pitches because of doctors’ advice following a previous knee injury. After leaving McDiarmid Park for Tynecastle Park this summer, concerns rose that the player could miss a quarter of Hearts’ Premiership away matches as Kilmarnock, Hamilton and Livingston all use astroturf.

MacLean stressed he is able to perform on any surface and rejected talk that he will sit out certain fixtures due to injury risk.

“I can play,” he insisted. “I said to the gaffer that I wanted to play on Wednesday and he picked me. I was going to play, simple as that. Whether he picks me on Saturday, it’s up to him. He’s in charge, if he wants me to play, I’ll play.

“If he wants me to play in the car park, I’ll play in the car park for Hearts. I just want to play games and do well and be enthusiastic. I’m here to play so I’m looking forward to it.

“Astroturf isn’t ideal but I said to the gaffer that I was comfortable to play. I’ve just been itching to get out there and make my competitive debut. I just want to play as many games as I can for Hearts, score goals, and hopefully win games.”

The forward admitted Wright tried to protect him by not selecting him on synthetic pitches towards the end of his six years in Perth.

“The gaffer at St Johnstone just took it out of my hands. Whether that’s right or wrong, I don’t know.”

MacLean justified new manager Craig Levein’s faith by scoring what proved to be the winning goal on his competitive debut against the Highland League champions. His close-range strike after Olly Lee’s opener put Hearts 2-0 ahead before Cove Rangers scored a consolation.

He is now determined to help Hearts through Betfred Cup Group C and into the knockout stages. “Hearts went out of the Betfred Cup last year at this stage so we’ve got make sure we don’t go out. We won 2-1, it’s three points, and we’ve got to make sure we win on Saturday against Raith and next Tuesday against Cowdenbeath, then Inverness the following Sunday.

“It will not be easy. Teams will see Hearts as a scalp and that’s why the game is on the TV because they’ll be looking for an upset. We’ve got to make sure our attitude is right and go and win games.

“This is a chance to win a cup. If you get through these group stages, you’re three games from a final. Simple as that. We had a chat about it and the guys did a presentation on it. We need to get to the next round to start with and we’ll take it from there.”

MacLean explained his sense of satisfaction from finally getting to play for Hearts eight years after being refused a contract. He was on trial at Riccarton in January 2010 and then-manager Csaba Laszlo was desperate to sign him. However, Vladimir Romanov and the club hierarchy at the time would not sanction the move.

“It did work out, he [Laszlo] wanted to sign me,” smiled the player. “I was hoping to sign then and when it came about this time I jumped at the chance. I met the gaffer, got on really well, and it was done in a day. I don’t have an agent. I did it myself.

“Ever since then I’ve just been champing at the bit to get going. I’ve done the running, done the pre-season, and I’ve just been itching to get playing. The competitive games are coming now. I’m just buzzing and want to play.”

Scoring his first goal in maroon made up for some of the frustration at being rejected by Romanov all those years ago. “I live in Peebles. I’d left my house and got five miles to Eddlestone and got told to turn back,” he recalled.

“It does make up for it. That was then, this is now. There’s a new regime and it’s exciting times here. It’s a great club, it’s a club going in the right direction. All the little things that they are doing is going to make big differences.

“As players, we need to make it work on the pitch. Nothing they’re doing off the pitch matters unless you take it to the pitch and win games.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4771350.1532079664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771350.1532079664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Steven MacLean scored on his debut for Hearts","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steven MacLean scored on his debut for Hearts","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4771350.1532079664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5754974922001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-keeper-zdenek-zlamal-reveals-why-he-s-called-bobby-1-4771364","id":"1.4771364","articleHeadline": "Hearts keeper Zdenek Zlamal reveals why he’s called ‘Bobby’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532077582000 ,"articleLead": "

Recruiting goalkeepers is becoming a favoured pastime for the Hearts manager Craig Levein. Zdenek Zlamal signed in May and arrived in June from Czech Republic. The young American Kevin Silva began a trial last month and signed this month. Ireland internationalist Colin Doyle yesterday signed on a two-year deal.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771362.1532077574!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Zdenek Zlamal"} ,"articleBody": "

Levein is not simply stockpiling keepers for the sake of it. He wants to engineer as much competition as possible in every area of his playing pool. Zlamal and Doyle will compete at first-team level, with Silva and Kelby Mason joining the reserve squad. Zlamal welcomes the competition after securing his “dream” move to Britain from Fastav Zlin.

“This is normal. It happens everywhere. I think the better goalkeeper will play. That happens at every club and I like it this way,” he told the Evening News. The 32-year-old Czech remains the man in possession after making his Hearts debut in Wednesday night’s 2-1 Betfred Cup win at Cove Rangers. Whether he is in goal again against Raith Rovers in Methil tomorrow remains to be seen.

Levein faces a difficult choice for his No.1 between Zlamal and Doyle and will want to assess both as much as possible before the Ladbrokes Premiership begins next month. Zlamal, recovered from an ankle infection, staked his claim on the outskirts of Aberdeen against the Highland League champions.

“Wednesday was my second game for Hearts because I had the little problem with my ankle. I’m happy that we won the game,” he said. “We knew these matches can be very tough because other teams have a lot of motivation against us. We won and I felt good.”

Hearts fans arriving early at the newly-constructed Balmoral Stadium would have seen the giant keeper put himself through a rather unusual warm-up routine. A series of cartwheels, handsprings and backflips prepared Zlamal for action and caused a few raised eyebrows in the process.

Expect it to be a regular pre-match occurrence this season. “I warmed up like this since my childhood,” he stated. “When I was younger I did gymnastics as well as football and other sports. I kept this warm-up with me. It doesn’t matter to anybody else, it is just for me and for my confidence. I do this before every game.”

If the warm-up needed explaining, the nickname definitely does. Zlamal has brought the moniker “Bobby” with him to Edinburgh from his homeland and Hearts players, staff and fans have been asking the story behind it.

He is not merely trying to curry favour with locals by choosing an authentic Scottish name. He has actually been called “Bobby” throughout his career thanks to a well-known relative.

“My nickname is Bobby because my first name is a little bit difficult for people outside Czech Republic to say,” said Zlamal. “My Uncle was a very famous goalkeeper in Czech Republic, especially at Slavia Prague. He looks like Bobby Charlton because he has no hair. He was called Bobby Zlamal for that reason.

“When I started playing football and I went to Prague, many players asked if Bobby Zlamal was related to me. I said he was my uncle and from then everybody called me Bobby.”

Having an easily-pronounced name is probably more important for a new goalkeeper mired in a huge group of summer signings. Zlamal is still getting to knew his Hearts team-mates, who in turn are trying to familiarise themselves with him and one another.

“We need time to get used to each other. We are training to help this and we are getting to know each other every day. We will get better and better,” said the keeper, frustrated at not keeping a clean sheet on Wednesday against Cove.

“Every goal is a little bit disappointing. I think it might have been offside, I don’t know. I hope I can keep a clean sheet in the next game. If I lose one goal and we win the game, it doesn’t matter. It is more important that we win.”

These are, of course, minor details in the grand scheme of Zlamal’s personal happiness. He hankered for a move to the UK for years and finally got the opportunity when Hearts made contact. He wasted no time in calling a certain Rudi Skacel for advice.

“I asked Skacel. I know him, although not too well. I have met him a few times. He recommended Hearts to me and told me it was a very good club with a lot of fans, the best fans.

“He said every home match is sold out so that is perfect. I am looking forward to that. I listened to what Skacel said but my dream as a child was to play in Britain. When I heard I had an offer from Hearts, I said: ‘Yes, I want to go there.’ It was easy.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4771362.1532077574!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771362.1532077574!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Zdenek Zlamal","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Zdenek Zlamal","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4771362.1532077574!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4771363.1532077579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771363.1532077579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bobby Charlton","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bobby Charlton","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4771363.1532077579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5795246155001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-apologise-for-using-ineligible-player-in-betfred-cup-tie-1-4771331","id":"1.4771331","articleHeadline": "Hearts apologise for using ineligible player in Betfred Cup tie","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532020140889 ,"articleLead": "Hearts are facing punishment from the Scottish Professional Football League after fielding an ineligible player against Cove Rangers on Wednesday night.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771330.1532020235!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Irving was ineligible to play for Hearts against Cove Rangers"} ,"articleBody": "

Teenage midfielder Andy Irving played as a second-half substitute but was not properly registered for the Betfred League Cup tie.

Hearts owner Ann Budge has admitted to the mistake and offered apologies, with an SPFL hearing scheduled for Monday to determine sanctions against the Edinburgh club.

The governing body could decide on a fine potentially deduct points from Hearts' total in Betfred League Cup Group C. Ironically, Cove Rangers themselves were fined £2,000 along with Stranraer in 2016 for listing ineligible players in the same competition.

In a statement on the Hearts website, Budge said: "It is with much embarrassment that we have to advise that during last night’s Betfred Cup group stage match away to Cove Rangers, Hearts inadvertently fielded an ineligible player.

"Due to an administrative error on the club’s part at the end of the January transfer window, Andrew Irving entered the field of play in the 65th minute as an unregistered player.

"Andrew was given an extension contract in January, 2018 and his extension paperwork was all properly completed and in order. However, it was not loaded onto the online SFA registration system at the time. His official registration, therefore, ran out on 9th June, 2018. Unfortunately, this was not picked up in advance of last night’s game.

"While stringent processes are already in place to try to prevent something of this nature occurring, clearly mistakes can happen. An additional step in our internal procedures will be implemented immediately to try to ensure this cannot happen again.

"The club would like to apologise to its supporters, to Cove Rangers Football Club and to the footballing authorities for this inadvertent breach of the rules.

"A hearing with an SPFL panel has been scheduled for Monday, July 23rd and will be attended by representatives of the club, where sanctions against Hearts will be determined. Until then, no further comment will be made."

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4771330.1532020235!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771330.1532020235!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andy Irving was ineligible to play for Hearts against Cove Rangers","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Irving was ineligible to play for Hearts against Cove Rangers","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4771330.1532020235!/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/pune-city-deny-approach-for-hearts-assistant-austin-macphee-1-4771147","id":"1.4771147","articleHeadline": "Pune City deny approach for Hearts assistant Austin MacPhee","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532009300000 ,"articleLead": "

Pune City insist they did not make an approach for Hearts assistant Austin MacPhee.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771145.1532009298!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts assistant coach Austin MacPhee. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Why David Vanecek appears to be a long-term replacement for Kyle Lafferty

It was reported last week that MacPhee was a leading contender to take over the Indian Super League side.

After taking the weekend to think things over, while speaking to manager Craig Levein and owner Ann Budge, the 38-year-old decided to remain at Tynecastle.

However, Pune City have now claimed in a Facebook post on their official page that no offer was made.

They said: “In light of recent media reports publishing that an interest and subsequent offer to Heart of Midlothian assistant coach Austin MacPhee, FC Pune City hereby wishes to state that this information is absolutely untrue.

“FC Pune City has made no contact whatsoever or any kind with the club or coach or to any agents or representatives.”

Hearts announced on Monday evening that MacPhee had received a “managerial offer” which he had turned down.

MacPhee told the club’s website: “It was an interesting offer from the Indian Super League side and one I thought very seriously about.

“However, at this moment in time it is probably not the right opportunity for me and I am delighted to be continuing my work at Hearts.

“There is a lot to feel positive about as we head into the new season and I’m very much looking forward to the campaign ahead.”

READ MORE - Conor Sammon joins Motherwell on season-long loan from Hearts

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PETER WALES"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4771145.1532009298!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771145.1532009298!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts assistant coach Austin MacPhee. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts assistant coach Austin MacPhee. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4771145.1532009298!/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/done-deal-ireland-goalkeeper-colin-doyle-is-hearts-13th-summer-signing-1-4771127","id":"1.4771127","articleHeadline": "Done deal: Ireland goalkeeper Colin Doyle is Hearts' 13th summer signing","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532008107537 ,"articleLead": "Hearts have completed the signing of Republic of Ireland international goalkeeper Colin Doyle on a two-year contract.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771126.1532008167!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Irish goalkeeper Colin Doyle has signed a two-year deal with Hearts. Pic: Heart of Midlothian FC"} ,"articleBody": "

He passed a medical to become the club's 13th summer signing and the third goalkeeper to arrive at Tynecastle Park since May.

Doyle, 33, has four Irish caps and played against world champions France in a friendly two months ago. He joins Hearts to compete for the first-team goalkeeping slot with another recent arrival, Zdenek Zlamal.

The American keeper Kevin Silva signed a two-year deal on Wednesday night but he will mainly feature at reserve level this season. The trio complete manager Craig Levein's goalkeeping recruitment ahead of the new season.

Doyle left English League One club Bradford City at the end of last season. He is 6ft 5in tall and has also represented Blackpool, Millwall, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City in his career.

He becomes signing No.13 for Levein after Zlamal, Silva, Peter Haring, Ben Garuccio, Bobby Burns, Olly Lee, Oliver Bozanic, Ryan Edwards, Jake Mulraney, Steven Naismith (on loan from Norwich City), Steven MacLean and Uche Ikpeazu.

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4771126.1532008167!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771126.1532008167!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Irish goalkeeper Colin Doyle has signed a two-year deal with Hearts. Pic: Heart of Midlothian FC","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Irish goalkeeper Colin Doyle has signed a two-year deal with Hearts. Pic: Heart of Midlothian FC","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4771126.1532008167!/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/in-pictures-cove-rangers-1-2-hearts-player-ratings-1-4770988","id":"1.4770988","articleHeadline": "In pictures: Cove Rangers 1 - 2 Hearts player ratings","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531999277000 ,"articleLead": "

Ratings out of 10 for every Hearts player as they got their season underway with a 2-1 win over Highland League side Cove Rangers in the Betfred Cup.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770974.1531999232!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts players celebrate afer Olly Lee opens the scoring. Picture: SNS/Gary Hutchison"} ,"articleBody": "

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770974.1531999232!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770974.1531999232!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts players celebrate afer Olly Lee opens the scoring. Picture: SNS/Gary Hutchison","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts players celebrate afer Olly Lee opens the scoring. Picture: SNS/Gary Hutchison","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770974.1531999232!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ {"gallery": {"id":"1.4770987","galleryImages":[ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770975.1531999238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770975.1531999238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Zdenek Zlamal - The Czech goalkeeper had very little to do but was confident with crossed balls and made a tremendous triple save from an offside effort. Very vocal. (6/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Zdenek Zlamal - The Czech goalkeeper had very little to do but was confident with crossed balls and made a tremendous triple save from an offside effort. Very vocal. (6/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770975.1531999238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770976.1531999243!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770976.1531999243!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Peter Haring - Looks a sound addition to the backline. Happy to take the ball in deep positions and won his aerial duels. (6/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Peter Haring - Looks a sound addition to the backline. Happy to take the ball in deep positions and won his aerial duels. (6/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770976.1531999243!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770977.1531999245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770977.1531999245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Souttar - Faced the wrath of Christophe Berra on a couple of occasions but a standard performance, always positive and confident with the ball. Has bulked up. (6/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Souttar - Faced the wrath of Christophe Berra on a couple of occasions but a standard performance, always positive and confident with the ball. Has bulked up. (6/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770977.1531999245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770978.1531999249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770978.1531999249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Christophe Berra - The captain has simply picked up from where he left off last season. Headed, blocked and cleared. He probably does all those things in his sleep. (7/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra - The captain has simply picked up from where he left off last season. Headed, blocked and cleared. He probably does all those things in his sleep. (7/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770978.1531999249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770979.1531999251!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770979.1531999251!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Callumn Morrison - A performance the 19-year-old can be pleased with as he adapts to the wing-back role. Was positive with the ball and on the receiving end of a few physical challenges. Showed great endeavour. (6/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Callumn Morrison - A performance the 19-year-old can be pleased with as he adapts to the wing-back role. Was positive with the ball and on the receiving end of a few physical challenges. Showed great endeavour. (6/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770979.1531999251!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770980.1531999255!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770980.1531999255!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bobby Burns - Hearts have a very promising talent on their hands. Only 18 but played as if he was in his mid-20s, although he drifted in and out the game. Possesses a lovely left foot. (6/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bobby Burns - Hearts have a very promising talent on their hands. Only 18 but played as if he was in his mid-20s, although he drifted in and out the game. Possesses a lovely left foot. (6/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770980.1531999255!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770981.1531999257!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770981.1531999257!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Oliver Bozanic - Assured display at the base of the midfield. Was combative and tenacious without the ball and commanding with it. Clearly has bundles of experience. (7/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Oliver Bozanic - Assured display at the base of the midfield. Was combative and tenacious without the ball and commanding with it. Clearly has bundles of experience. (7/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770981.1531999257!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770982.1531999260!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770982.1531999260!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jake Mulraney - Pace. Directness. Width. Hearts fans liked what they saw from the Irishman who was a constant threat. Cove's right-back may have had nightmares of Mulraney running at him. (8/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jake Mulraney - Pace. Directness. Width. Hearts fans liked what they saw from the Irishman who was a constant threat. Cove's right-back may have had nightmares of Mulraney running at him. (8/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770982.1531999260!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770983.1531999264!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770983.1531999264!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Olly Lee - Impressed in an advanced role. Passed the ball crisply, tried to play forward and was a goal threat with his shooting from distance and supporting runs. Should have netted a second. (8/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Olly Lee - Impressed in an advanced role. Passed the ball crisply, tried to play forward and was a goal threat with his shooting from distance and supporting runs. Should have netted a second. (8/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770983.1531999264!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770984.1531999268!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770984.1531999268!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Steven MacLean - Surprised many by playing on the artificial surface and netted his first goal for the club on his competitive debut. He also scored in the first half but it was judged, perhaps wrongly, to be offside. Grew as the game progressed. (7/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steven MacLean - Surprised many by playing on the artificial surface and netted his first goal for the club on his competitive debut. He also scored in the first half but it was judged, perhaps wrongly, to be offside. Grew as the game progressed. (7/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770984.1531999268!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770985.1531999271!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770985.1531999271!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kyle Lafferty - Assisted the opening goal with a deft touch but looked rusty throughout. Was a target of abuse from the home fans but his finishing let him down in his quest to quieten them down. (6/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Lafferty - Assisted the opening goal with a deft touch but looked rusty throughout. Was a target of abuse from the home fans but his finishing let him down in his quest to quieten them down. (6/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770985.1531999271!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770986.1531999273!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770986.1531999273!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Subs: Andy Irving (5/10): Didn't get involved. Michael Smith (6/10): Steady presence who looked to take the safe option. Uche Ikpeazu (6/10): Brought chaos as Cove didn't know how to deal with him.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Subs: Andy Irving (5/10): Didn't get involved. Michael Smith (6/10): Steady presence who looked to take the safe option. Uche Ikpeazu (6/10): Brought chaos as Cove didn't know how to deal with him.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770986.1531999273!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ]}} ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/scottish-football-transfer-live-rangers-unlikely-to-move-for-defender-ex-hibs-star-signs-for-verona-hearts-make-13th-signing-1-4770796","id":"1.4770796","articleHeadline": "Scottish football transfer LIVE: Rangers unlikely to move for defender, ex-Hibs star signs for Verona, Hearts make 13th signing","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531985051000 ,"articleLead": "

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

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770794.1532011323!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Harry Forrester has made a shock move to Iran. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Refresh the page for updates.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770794.1532011323!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770794.1532011323!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Harry Forrester has made a shock move to Iran. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Harry Forrester has made a shock move to Iran. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770794.1532011323!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5798046043001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/six-things-we-learned-from-cove-rangers-1-2-hearts-1-4770791","id":"1.4770791","articleHeadline": "Six things we learned from Cove Rangers 1 - 2 Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531984884000 ,"articleLead": "

Joel Sked gives his take as Hearts kicked off their Betfred Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Highland League side Cove Rangers in the first competitive game at the recently-opened Balmoral Stadium.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770790.1531984880!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Olly Lee celebrates after scoring Hearts' first goal. Picture: SNS/Gary Hutchison"} ,"articleBody": "

• READ MORE: Cove Rangers 1, Hearts 2: Jam Tarts win Betfred Cup opener

This season’s style

It is clear that the 3-5-2 system is the formation going forward. The centre-backs and full-backs were worked hard in the warm-up recycling the ball from left to right and vice versa.

In new boy Peter Haring and John Souttar, who was played in the centre of the three, Hearts boss Craig Levein has two composed passers of the ball at his disposal in defence.

The stereotype of Craig Levein teams and Hearts in general is big, strong and physical, content to play it long. Yet, the former Scotland manager has clearly recruited players who can take care of the ball.

In Olly Lee, Oliver Bozanic and Bobby Burns, Levein has technicians in midfield. The latter two want the ball at feet, happy to take possession in tight areas and build the play. All three were confident in possession and should give fans comfort in the way they spread play to the wing-backs accurately and efficiently.

The midfield were utilised throughout as Hearts attacked Cove with pace down the flanks by getting the ball to the feet of the wing-backs or by cutting through the Highland League side with quick interchanges in the centre, looking to involve strike pairing Steven MacLean and Kyle Lafferty.

Plan B?

Following on from the previous point an issue raised as the game progressed at the Balmoral Stadium was a lack of creativity. Levein talked positively after the game about the creativity, which was on show in the first half as Hearts dominated.

However, when play slowed and Hearts weren’t getting the ball wide as frequently it was difficult to see where chances were coming from.

At one point in the second half the centre of midfield consisted of Bozanic, Burns, Michael Smith and Andy Irving before Uche was brought on to support a tiring Lafferty. But with the pressure mounting as Cove came back into the take Hearts ran out of ideas, leaving the strikers to create something out of nothing.

It was enough to raise slight concerns about how Hearts would adapt against stronger opposition who were more robust in the centre of the pitch, albeit with the caveat that this was the first competitive outing with a host of new players still building relationships.

Olly Lee could be the new Paul Hartley

The midfielder signed from Luton will be replaying one moment over and over in his head in the coming days. Exchanging passes with Steven MacLean, following some slick build-up play, Lee was put through on goal. Rounding the goalkeeper he could only hit the post from a matter of yards, if not inches.

There is no other way to put it than it will be one of the worst misses of the season.

However, it shouldn’t take away from a commanding performance. Stationed at the tip of the midfield three, Lee wants to get the ball and play forward or spread the ball to the wing-backs in advanced positions. From which point he looks to support the play at every opportunity. That was seen in his goal where he ran into a Kyle Lafferty lay-off and finished expertly, as well as the chance created by MacLean.

He had previously showed in pre-season he is a fine striker of the ball. Only early showings, the Englishman could be in line for double figures this season, becoming the sort of talisman like Paul Hartley or Bruno Aguiar.

• READ MORE: Hearts set to sign Irish international goalkeeper Colin Doyle

Squad depth

Levein was often lamenting the lack of options he had on the bench, especially towards the end of the previous campaign. He can have no such complaints this season.

After an extensive recruitment drive the first-team squad is now 33 strong which discounts Malaury Martin, recent signing David Vanecek, as well as Daniel Baur, Euan Henderson and Kelby Mason.

Ryan Edwards didn’t make it off the bench against Cove, while the squad didn’t include Arnaud Djoum, Steven Naismith, Anthony McDonald, Harry Cochrane, Ben Garuccio, Danny Amankwaa, Don Cowie and Ross Callachan, with goalkeeper Colin Doyle set to join.

It can be looked at in a number of ways. But after the disjointed and undermanned squad last season it is a much needed change which should provoke healthy competition.

While the team may lack the quality which exists at Aberdeen or Hibernian, the squad depth is certainly much stronger. These options allow Levein to be more selective with the minutes for the talented young players with the hope that their development won’t be stifled by the sheer numbers.

Pace and width

Ask Hearts fans what was missing from last season’s squad and you would have been met with a number of responses. The main words being ‘pace’ and ‘width’. In Jake Mulraney Levein has found a player who falls into both categories.

Eyebrows were raised when Hearts’ interest in the player became known. The Irishman was far from a prominent player in his two seasons with Inverness CT and Levein admitted that his signing was low-risk.

Eyebrows were further raised when he played left-wing-back during pre-season. Yet, against Cove, he looked very comfortable.

Defensively he put in a sound performance. But going forward he excited fans with his positivity and pace. Cove’s No.2 was made to look as if he was stuck in a vat of jam as Mulraney constantly motored past him.

With the physical attributes in place, Levein will look to work on his end product which proved erratic. He, however, could have a similar impact in the top tier as Martin Boyle did when making the step up from the Championship with Hibs.

• READ MORE: Once compared to Aaron Lennon, Jake Mulraney senses second chance at Hearts

New boys

Eight players were handed their competitive debuts against Cove, including the previously mentioned Olly Lee and Jake Mulraney.

In goals Zdeněk Zlámal, nicknamed ‘Bobby’, had little to do with no chance at the goal, but he did make an impressive triple save, although the striker was flagged offside. He is very vocal presence behind the defensive line, something which irked John Souttar at one point.

Peter Haring played with composure on the right hand side of the back three, while proving his worth in the air. Oliver Bozanic complemented an impressive work-rate and combative approach out of possession with a level head with the ball. Bobby Burns was very similar, possessing a cultured left foot.

Steven MacLean scored his goal and contributed outside the box even if he was loose with the ball at times. However, the surprising aspect was that he played on the artificial surface having not done so latterly at St Johnstone. Uche Ikpeazu, in his cameo, provided sheer chaos. Cove players were merely bouncing off him when the ball was at his feet.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770790.1531984880!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770790.1531984880!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Olly Lee celebrates after scoring Hearts' first goal. Picture: SNS/Gary Hutchison","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Olly Lee celebrates after scoring Hearts' first goal. Picture: SNS/Gary Hutchison","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770790.1531984880!/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/hearts-set-to-sign-irish-international-goalkeeper-colin-doyle-1-4770778","id":"1.4770778","articleHeadline": "Hearts set to sign Irish international goalkeeper Colin Doyle","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531951210000 ,"articleLead": "

Republic of Ireland international goalkeeper Colin Doyle is due to undergo a medical at Hearts today.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770777.1531951207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Colin Doyle left Bradford City this summer"} ,"articleBody": "

The 33-year-old is close to completing a move to Tynecastle Park after leaving Bradford City at the end of last season.

Hearts manager Craig Levein signed American keeper Kevin Silva on a two-year deal last night to compete with Kelby Mason at reserve level. Doyle is wanted to challenge for the first-team No.1 spot alongside the Czech, Zdenek Zlamal. He holds a handful of Ireland caps and played against world champions France in May. At club level, he has represented Bradford, Blackpool, Millwall, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City.

Doyle is keen to move to Scotland and, provided there are no issues with his medical, is expected to become the 13th signing of a hectic summer at Hearts.

Levein’s side began their Betfred League Cup campaign last night with a 2-1 win away at Cove Rangers in Group C. Midfielder Olly Lee and striker Steven MacLean scored their first competitive goals in maroon before Paul McManus reduced the deficit for the Highland League champions late on.

“We played a lot of good stuff and should have scored a lot of goals,” Levein said of the display. “Losing a goal late on was a bit disappointing but I was a bit relaxed about it. I don’t think they had any chances after that.

“This early in the season, these games are always potential banana skins. There have been a lot of surprises since this competition started, and we got caught out last season. It was really important to get off to a winning start.

“If we’d taken the chances we created, it would have been over at half-time. That would’ve made my life easier.”

Levein revealed that new signing MacLean, who often did not play on astroturf pitches with former club St Johnstone, had been nagging him for game time.

“He’s been pestering me for two weeks about playing. It was him who wanted to play,” he said of the striker’s appearance on the synthetic surface at Cove Rangers’ new Balmoral Stadium.

“This is a brand new surface which made me feel a bit more secure in my decision. Steven was good. He linked the play well and got a goal, which is good for him. He must be pretty happy that he did play.”

Levein was also satisfied with his three-man defence of Peter Haring, John Souttar and Christophe Berra. They played behind wing-backs Callumn Morrison and Jake Mulraney.

“The way we played, we left the defence quite exposed. They dealt with that really well,” continued the manager. “Big Bobby [Zlamal] looked secure in goal. He didn’t have a lot to do but what he did he did comfortably. Callumn and Jake were lively down the sides, so in general I was pleased.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770777.1531951207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770777.1531951207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Colin Doyle left Bradford City this summer","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Colin Doyle left Bradford City this summer","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770777.1531951207!/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/cove-rangers-1-hearts-2-jam-tarts-win-betfred-cup-opener-1-4770761","id":"1.4770761","articleHeadline": "Cove Rangers 1, Hearts 2: Jam Tarts win Betfred Cup opener","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531947710000 ,"articleLead": "

Cement dust still hovers in the air at the recently-built Balmoral Stadium, where Hearts made a reasonably concrete start to their Betfred League Cup campaign. Olly Lee and Steven MacLean scored their first competitive goals in maroon in a victory with a nervous ending at the new home of Highland League champions Cove Rangers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770760.1531947706!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Olly Lee strikes home the opener for Hearts at Cove"} ,"articleBody": "

It was an efficient if unspectacular beginning to Hearts’ season. Three more testing Betfred Cup Group C games lie in wait against Raith Rovers, Cowdenbeath and Inverness. This was a case of building some momentum against part-time opponents from the fifth tier of Scotland’s football pyramid.

The Edinburgh club dominated possession as expected and fashioned a multitude of scoring chances over the 90 minutes. Lee and MacLean converted their goals instinctively, one in each half, with Paul McManus reducing the deficit for Cove with 15 minutes to play. That ensured an needlessly worrying finish for Hearts. Profligacy in attack will be a slight concern for manager Craig Levein, although he will may forgive some ring-rustiness so early in the campaign.

The Balmoral Stadium might not be quite as grandiose as its royal namesake along the road, however, it will serve Cove’s needs for years to come. Seats in the miniature main stand gleamed and there was a general pristine feel to the astrotruf pitch and the surrounding enclosures. Hearts’ lack of a clinical edge at times took the shine off their performance before that late McManus goal.

History was in the making as this was the first competitive fixture at Cove Rangers’ new base. Three homeless years ended when they officially opened this 2600-capacity venue against Aberdeen on Sunday. That friendly was abandoned after a head injury to Cove midfielder Jordon Brown, who is thankfully recovering after time in hospital.

Hearts arrived with yet another new signing on board after the American trialist goalkeeper Kevin Silva agreed a two-year deal. He was on the substitutes’ bench as the 12th summer arrival at Tynecastle Park, seven of whom made their competitive debuts in Levein’s starting line-up. On-loan Steven Naismith missed out through suspension as he served the second of a two-game ban for a challenge on Celtic’s Scott Brown back in May.

Callumn Morrison, the 19-year-old, and Jake Mulraney started as Hearts’ wing-backs with Michael Smith amongst the subs and Ben Garuccio not selected. Levein’s plan was clearly to pin Cove back with plenty pace out wide, and Morrison regularly galloped forward down the right during the early stages.

It took just 11 minutes for the visitors to break the deadlock. Lee enjoyed plenty freedom in the advanced midfield role and was looking to shoot whenever possible given his penchant for long-range goals at previous club Luton Town. He was involved in a flowing passing move before finding the net. Centre-back Peter Haring stroked the ball forward to Lee, who played a crisp one-two with Kyle Lafferty on the edge of the Cove penalty box and drove the return ball low beyond goalkeeper Stuart McKenzie.

Mulraney quickly began rampaging down the left with direct running and dribbling. After Lafferty evaded the attentions of Darryn Kelly and sent a delivery across the face of goal, the Irishman hit a first-time effort with his left foot which rolled just wide of target. Moments later, Mulraney also came close from 30 yards.

MacLean was initially denied his first Hearts goal by an offside flag on the half-hour mark after McKenzie repelled Lafferty’s prodded attempt. The keeper then sprawled himself to save again from MacLean following yet another Mulraney run and cross towards the end of the first half. At that stage you had to feel sympathy for Cove’s right-back, Cameron Milne. He was being tortured by Mulraney’s pace as the wing-back repeatedly skinned him one-on-one.

Cove were competing well if not retaining possession of the ball to any great standard. Their best chance of the first period came when Mitch Megginson – top scorer last season with 52 goals – dispossessed Haring and ran at John Souttar. The Scot made a well-executed last-ditch tackle to stop his opponent running past him 40 yards out, with only goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal behind. Souttar then ventured up the other end and would have scored with a header had Kelly not cleared off his own goal line.

The second period began with Mulraney refusing to relent on Milne. He sprinted past the full-back with ease again only to see his eventual low effort blocked by McKenzie’s legs. Oliver Bozanic’s follow-up was stopped on the line by the Cove defender Ryan Strachan.

It was the Australian midfielder Bozanic who supplied the corner which led to Hearts’ much-anticipated second goal on 57 minutes. Haring rose to win the delivery with his head and nod the ball down into the six-yard area. MacLean was lurking with intent and poked a first-time finish into the net.

That should have been the end of the game as a contest. Lee somehow contrived not to score Hearts’ third moments later. From MacLean’s weighted through ball, the midfielder rounded MacKenze but fired the ball against the post rather than into the unguarded net.

Cove then succeeded in making the closing stages much more interesting. Megginson and Daniel Park exchanged passes before Park’s right-sided cross found McManus unmarked five yards from goal. He tapped the ball into an empty net, and suddenly there was work to do for Hearts to see out this tie and claim three group points.

Levein was seen barking at his players from the technical area and they regained their composure after an uneasy few minutes with Cove on the attack. The final whistle brought warm applause from the home support, recognising their team had given everything and come closer to matching their guests than perhaps many expected.

Cove Rangers (4-4-2): McKenzie; C Milne (Redford 75), Strachan, Kelly, H Milne; Park, Yule, Scully, Masson (J Smith 82); McManus, Megginson. Unused subs: Emmett, Gray, Watson, McCafferty.

Hearts (3-4-1-2): Zlamal; Haring, Souttar, Berra; Morrison, Burns, Bozanic, Mulraney (Ikpeazu 80); Lee (M Smith 62); Lafferty, MacLean (Irving 62). Unused subs: Silva, Hughes, Edwards, Keena.

Referee: N Walsh

Crowd: 1728

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770760.1531947706!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770760.1531947706!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Olly Lee strikes home the opener for Hearts at Cove","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Olly Lee strikes home the opener for Hearts at Cove","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770760.1531947706!/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-sign-goalkeeper-kevin-silva-on-two-year-deal-1-4770685","id":"1.4770685","articleHeadline": "Hearts sign goalkeeper Kevin Silva on two-year deal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531933998000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts have completed the signing of goalkeeper Kevin Silva on a two-year deal.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770684.1531933994!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kevin Silva has impressed Hearts boss Craig Levein during pre-season"} ,"articleBody": "

The 20-year-old American arrived at Riccarton on trial four weeks ago hoping to secure a move to Europe having played with several different universities in the United States. He featured in friendlies against Arbroath, Partick Thistle, Queen of the South and Forfar and has done enough to win a permanent contract.

Silva, Hearts manager Craig Levein’s 12th summer signing, will deputise for new Czech goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal, and goes straight into the squad for tonight’s Betfred Cup match against Cove Rangers.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770684.1531933994!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770684.1531933994!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kevin Silva has impressed Hearts boss Craig Levein during pre-season","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kevin Silva has impressed Hearts boss Craig Levein during pre-season","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770684.1531933994!/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-ryan-edwards-aims-to-capitalise-on-steven-naismith-suspension-1-4770127","id":"1.4770127","articleHeadline": "Hearts’ Ryan Edwards aims to capitalise on Steven Naismith suspension","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531891855000 ,"articleLead": "

Ryan Edwards aims to exploit Steven Naismith’s absence tonight by cementing himself in the attacking midfield role for Hearts against Cove Rangers. The Australian feels he performs best in that position and is expected to start there in the Betfred League Cup tie.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770126.1531854997!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ryan Edwards sees himself as an attacking midfielder"} ,"articleBody": "

Naismith rejoined Hearts on loan from Norwich City earlier this month but must serve the second of a two-game ban he received at the end of last season for a challenge on the Celtic captain Scott Brown. The Scotland internationalist would be favourite to play in behind the strikers in Hearts’ 3-4-1-2 formation, but Edwards wants to take advantage of his unavailability.

Having played in a deeper midfield position with former club Partick Thistle last season, he intends to prove he is best utilised further up the field. “That was one thing that stuck out when I had talks with the manager here before signing, that he wants me to play further forward,” said Edwards.

“I think my best football with Thistle was playing further forward. Last season was a bit difficult. We had a number of injuries and I was getting moved about, which is fine. Attacking midfield is probably my preferred position and I think it brings the best out of my game.”

The 24-year-old acknowledged the fierce competition for places at Tynecastle Park after 11 summer signings by manager Craig Levein. He hopes he can learn from Naismith whilst challenging for the same position in the team.

“That’s one thing I’m really excited about because what I’ve realised coming into this dressing-room is that there is going to be a lot of competition for places,” added Edwards.

“You will have two starting elevens that have good experience and will be wanting to play on match day. I’m really looking forward to it. Bringing Naismith back is brilliant. He is an attacking midfielder who I’m sure I’ll relish playing with and learning from because he is a Premier League footballer.

“I think it will be really beneficial. It was documented last season that there wasn’t enough depth and the team wasn’t fit enough. You can see through training and in games and with the type of personality of the players that they’re trying to fix that.”

Thistle’s relegation from the Ladbrokes Premiership in May saw Edwards decide to activate a release clause to leave Firhill. He insists he is still feeling the effects of the disappointment but could not refuse a move to Hearts.

“I’m still hurting and it’s disappointing we got relegated. It’s not a nice feeling. It’s a hard decision to turn down Hearts and to play for the manager. It would have been very difficult not to come here, even if Partick stayed up. It’s such a massive opportunity to come to a club with massive ambition and to test myself at a higher level.

“I’ve always said I want to progress each year and I think this is the next step for me. I’m looking to forward to playing in front of amazing fans and for a team who wants to push on at the top of the table.”

The former Reading player explained that it took him just a few days to decide his future lay in Edinburgh after talks with the Thistle manager Alan Archibald. “There were different deadlines with the clauses in the players’ contracts at Thistle,” he said.

“The club had to notify me about wages and what they wanted to do within two weeks. Other players were seven days and a month. I had two weeks to make a decision. After a few days of talks with my agent, the club and Alan Archibald, it was decided after two or three days.

“It was probably still hasn’t sunk in. You get relegated, it hurts, you’re down and you don’t know what’s going to happen. A lot of changes at the club happened and a number of players left and there were relegation clauses and things like that.

“I had a holiday booked so I left not knowing if I was going to stay or move on. I had a decision to make in the first couple of days because of the budget cuts and they wanted to sort out where the manager and players were staying or going.

“It all happened very quickly and you have to make the decision that’s best for you. I spoke to Thistle on a number of occasions and the manager was very supportive. We thought it would be the best decision for both parties at that time.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770126.1531854997!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770126.1531854997!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ryan Edwards sees himself as an attacking midfielder","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ryan Edwards sees himself as an attacking midfielder","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770126.1531854997!/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/once-compared-to-aaron-lennon-jake-mulraney-senses-second-chance-at-hearts-1-4770168","id":"1.4770168","articleHeadline": "Once compared to Aaron Lennon, Jake Mulraney senses second chance at Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531891826000 ,"articleLead": "

A deep Irish accent and softly spoken tones mask the fierce drive within Jake Mulraney.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770167.1531858534!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jake 'Mulraney accepts it's time for him to fulfil his potential"} ,"articleBody": "

This is a footballer who has lived away from his Dublin home since the age of 15, fuelled by an inner desire to reach the top of his profession. Tonight, he takes the latest step in that crusade with Hearts.

Competitive action for the Edinburgh club begins at Cove Rangers’ new Balmoral Stadium in Betfred League Cup Group C. Whatever the surroundings may lack in glamour will not dilute Mulraney’s buzz. The 22-year-old winger senses a second chance has arrived and is eager to seize it.

He played at Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers in his teens and was released by both clubs. Dagenham & Redbridge, Stevenage and Inverness Caledonian Thistle have all been necessary stopping points on Mulraney’s route to top-flight football.

He impressed Hearts enough during a trial period in December to earn a two-year contract, with midfielder Angus Beith joining Inverness in a swap deal completed in May. Mulraney knows it is time to finally realise the potential which saw him previously compared to the England international winger Aaron Lennon.

“It was up and down since January. I wasn’t 100 per cent sure what was happening,” he says of his switch to Tynecastle Park, speaking exclusively to the Evening News. “It was only about two months ago I knew I was coming to Hearts. Inverness was like a stepping stone and this is an even bigger platform.

“This is one of the biggest clubs in the country so it’s a big step up. No disrespect to Inverness but it’s run a lot better here. You actually feel way more like a pro here. Everything is done properly, recovery is very efficient, all that stuff.

“I came over to England when I was 15. I was really young but I’ve been living on my own for a while. My girlfriend came over with me. My dad is down in Birmingham. I haven’t seen him in a while but he is close enough and I have other family down there as well. I’m alright.

“I’d like to achieve as much as I can with Hearts. You want to come to the big clubs to win trophies. That’s why I’ve come here. It’s up to myself to do enough to get in and around the side.”

He will use his strongest asset to help him do so – pace. Adjectives to describe it would include searing, burning, frightening and a long list of others. He is that quick. “I’ve always had pace. I’ve never really had to work on that, although I do some individual stuff on the side to keep myself sharp,” explains Mulraney.

Queens Park Rangers Under-21 coach Steve Gallen noted that commodity and others in the 18-year-old Mulraney, saying: “He is a left-footed winger who plays on the right. He has a bit of Aaron Lennon about him in his style of play. He is small with explosive pace, great speed – real acceleration. He is a typical winger who likes to get behind the full-back and get crosses in.”

The Irishman must prove he is more than merely a roadrunner to hold down a place at Hearts. Particularly since manager Craig Levein is utilising a 3-4-1-2 system and deployed Mulraney at left wing-back in most pre-season friendlies.

“I’ve had to change my position slightly because the gaffer is playing with wing-backs, whereas I’m more of a winger. You just adjust, I suppose,” says the player. “The more positions you can play the better. Last season, I played 95 per cent of my games on the right. It is a bit different coming over to the left but I don’t mind at all.

“I got a sense of it when we started training and working on team shape. There’s nothing you can do. You have to do what you need to do to play. The main thing is being more concentrated when you’re playing wing-back. There’s been a few times when Christophe [Berra] has had to give me a shout to get back in position.

“Last year, I wouldn’t have to get back in as quickly but now I have to get straight back into position, almost at left-back.

“Everybody wants to play. You just have to do whatever you can to get your name on the teamsheet. Everyone is looking forward to the competitive action starting. We’ve got these cup games and then we have the league starting against Hamilton, then Celtic at home in the second game.”

Before Premiership matches, there is a rather intriguing engagement with Mulraney’s former club at the end of the month. Inverness visit Tynecastle for the last Betfred Cup group match, bringing Beith, Brad McKay, Mark Ridgers and manager John Robertson back to their old place of work.

“I’m sure I’ll get a bit of stick off the boys up there. It will just be the same as any other game for me,” says Mulraney. McKay may not agree. He revealed on these pages a few weeks ago how being tormented by Mulraney in training led to him asking coaches not to put him one-on-one against the winger.

“I remember that,” laughs Mulraney. “He used to go mad. He would lose his head quite quick. That was the day before a game and I remember going one against one and just going past him. We just had to ease off because he was losing his head.”

So Mulraney could prove a useful weapon against Inverness. First, he must nail down that first-team place.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770167.1531858534!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770167.1531858534!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jake 'Mulraney accepts it's time for him to fulfil his potential","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jake 'Mulraney accepts it's time for him to fulfil his potential","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770167.1531858534!/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/our-region/edinburgh/ex-hearts-and-rangers-star-david-hagen-diagnosed-with-mnd-1-4770125","id":"1.4770125","articleHeadline": "Ex-Hearts and Rangers star David Hagen diagnosed with MND","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531854901000 ,"articleLead": "

Former Hearts star David Hagen is battling motor neurone disease (MND), it has been revealed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770124.1531997698!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Hagen (left) runs at John Philiben of Motherwell in a game at Fir Park in 1995. Picture: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

The Edinburgh-born ex-Hearts and Rangers footballer has been diagnosed with the incurable illness at the age of just 45.

Rumours of Hagen’s MND fight had been circulating online since last week, but the news has now been made official.

Among the well-wishers paying tribute is ex-Ibrox hero Fernando Ricksen, who has also been fighting the deadly condition.

Ricksen said: “It’s always terrible to hear somebody new is diagnosed with MND.

“I want to wish David Hagen, family and friends all the strength they need to fight this demon.

“My advice to him would be to take the MND as it comes, day by day and keep doing the day-to-day things for as long as possible.”

READ MORE: Special ball raises £300k to support Doddie Weir MND cause

A close friend of Hagen’s said it was a tragedy that the disease had struck so early but added that friends and family would rally around to support him.

They said: “David has confirmed he’s battling MND and he would like to thank everyone who has shown their support at this very difficult time.

“David was a brilliant professional throughout his career and always gave everything on the pitch for every club he played for.

“To be struck down like this at such a young age is a tragedy but he is a fighter and has a close family and many friends to support him.”

The shock news was confirmed in a statement from Falkirk FC, where David Hagen spent five seasons as a player.

Club chairman Margaret Lang said: “The club is aware of rumours that have arisen on social media forums regarding the health and well-being of former Falkirk player David Hagen.

“To prevent further speculation and further attempts by the media to visit him at home – and in consultation with David’s family – the club can confirm he has very recently been diagnosed with motor neuron disease.

“The club is providing to David and his family our fullest support and would ask that their privacy is respected at this difficult time.”

The former midfielder began his career at Rangers before spending a season at Hearts in 1994/95.

During his stint at Tynecastle, Hagen scored 4 goals in 27 appearances.

Hagen was also part of the U16 Scotland team which played in the U16 FIFA World Cup in 1989.

Scotland, who were playing as the host nation, narrowly lost out 5-4 on penalties against Saudia Arabia in the match at Hampden Park.

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4770124.1531997698!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4770124.1531997698!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Hagen (left) runs at John Philiben of Motherwell in a game at Fir Park in 1995. Picture: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Hagen (left) runs at John Philiben of Motherwell in a game at Fir Park in 1995. Picture: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4770124.1531997698!/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-wants-his-big-characters-up-to-speed-at-cove-1-4769649","id":"1.4769649","articleHeadline": "Hearts boss wants his ‘big characters’ up to speed at Cove","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531805617000 ,"articleLead": "

Cove Rangers might wonder if dressing-rooms at their new Balmoral Stadium will be able to accommodate the bloated Hearts squad tomorrow. Fear not, for manager Craig Levein will only take players ready and in form to Aberdeen for their first Betfred League Cup tie.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4769647.1531811332!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein believes Betfred Cup results can set the tone for a season"} ,"articleBody": "

Hearts have completed 11 new signings so far this summer, with No.12 to come in the shape of American goalkeeper Kevin Silva. Levein is still unsure about exactly who will slot in and where after five pre-season friendlies, but he will take no chances as competitive action begins with the League Cup group phase.

The 2600-capacity Balmoral Stadium contains a humble main stand with a small seating area. It replaces Allan Park, fully three years since Rangers vacated the old venue in Cove Bay. The new away dressing room may not exactly be sprawling in size but Levein is bringing only a selected squad north. There should be no overspill into the corridor.

His starting line-up will be what he feels is the strongest available, with several experienced internationalists due to feature. “When you start a season, it’s important your big characters are up to speed. We can carry other things if that’s the case,” said the manager.

“We will be relying heavily on Christophe Berra, John Souttar, big Bobby [Zlamal] in goals, Kyle Lafferty and Steven MacLean and boys like that who have been over the course before.” Other likely starters are left-back Ben Garuccio, centre-back Peter Haring, plus midfielders Olly Lee and Oliver Bozanic.

“We have loads of options,” continued Levein. “People are finding their place in the pecking order after pre-season. I’m pretty much looking to be using the players I feel have done well in the games. We have a lot of players in. I’ve just looked at who is doing well in training and who is doing well in games. I’ll be playing the players who are in form.

“It might be some of the young ones playing, it might be older ones. It’s just who I feel is up to speed quicker. Everybody gets there at different times. I’m excited. There’s always a feeling of uncertainty when you bring so many players in. It takes time to get to know them as people, their strengths and weaknesses, and find out how emotional they are. That’s all going on just now and I’m learning more about them all the time.”

Perhaps influencing Levein’s no-risk policy to some extent are memories of Hearts’ Betfred Cup campaign last year. As director of football, he sat in the stand watching head coach Ian Cathro suffer as the Edinburgh club failed to progress from a group containing East Fife, Elgin City Peterhead, and Dunfermline.

That ultimately cost Cathro his job and led to Levein stepping into the managerial role once again. Now it is his neck on the line and nothing will be left to chance in Betfred Cup group games against Cove Rangers, Raith Rovers, Cowdenbeath or Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

“This, the Scottish Cup and the league are three major competitions. We can’t and won’t take any of those lightly,” said Levein. “We will put our strongest team out, barring injury or someone needing rested, in all these games. We have two away matches before we’re back at Tynecastle. We are wary, of course, and we want to do well.

“We are at a slight disadvantage in that all of the teams have a full week’s rest before we play them. We’re completely focused on doing well in this tournament. It’s really important.”

Just as League Cup disappointment 12 months ago made for an awkward start to the campaign, progress this year would set Hearts up well. “Absolutely, it sets the tone,” said Levein.

“We’ve worked hard in training and done well in some of the matches. We aren’t completely up to speed. I think these four games will get us closer to firing on all cylinders. We’ve certainly done enough preparation to be ready to go.

“Once I know more about everybody, it’s easier to judge the levels of competition in the squad. Right now I’m unsure about certain players and exactly what they can do for us. That will take a bit of time. With having more players, that in itself says we have better cover and balance than at any point last season.”

Levein’s thorough planning for the competitive season starting saw him head to the Highlands on Saturday to watch Inverness and Cove Rangers kick the group off. His assistant, Austin MacPhee, took in Raith against Cowdenbeath in Methil.

“I think it was really important,” said Levein. “I’ve seen Cove twice now and I’ve now seen Inverness, which will also be beneficial. I’ll see them again against Cowdenbeath on Tuesday. I can see why Cove won the Highland League in two of the last three years. They’re a good footballing team with players who could still be playing in the professional league rather than the Highland League.

“I’ve got a handle on their system and who plays where, so that helps when we’re talking to our players about this game tomorrow.

“They played against Aberdeen on Sunday to open their new ground. They’ve been away for three years so it will be a big thing for them to get into their own stadium. They will feel good and we have to be wary of that.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4769647.1531811332!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4769647.1531811332!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Craig Levein believes Betfred Cup results can set the tone for a season","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein believes Betfred Cup results can set the tone for a season","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4769647.1531811332!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4769648.1531811336!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4769648.1531811336!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Hearts squad train ahead of Wednesday's match against Cove Rangers","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Hearts squad train ahead of Wednesday's match against Cove Rangers","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4769648.1531811336!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5785066117001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-expect-goalkeeper-zdenek-zlamal-to-be-fit-for-cup-opener-1-4769655","id":"1.4769655","articleHeadline": "Hearts expect goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal to be fit for cup opener","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531805437000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts manager Craig Levein expects new goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal to overcome an ankle infection and make his competitive debut against Cove Rangers tomorrow.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4769654.1531811328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Zdenek Zlamal has had an infection in his ankle"} ,"articleBody": "

The Czech’s injury is improving and, although he appeared in only one pre-season friendly, Levein is hopeful he will make Hearts’ opening Betfred Cup tie in Aberdeen.

Zlamal returned to the Czech Republic at the weekend to help move his family to Scotland. The 32-year-old, who left Fastav Zlin for Tynecastle Park last month, now hopes to get down to business against Cove.

“Zlamal had an infection in his ankle. He went back to Czech Republic over the weekend to bring his family over. He has been on antibiotics and I’d be expecting him to be involved on Wednesday,” explained Levein, who only has Northern Irish teenager Bobby Burns as an injury doubt for tomorrow.

“Bobby got a knock on his knee on Saturday. Kyle Lafferty is okay. He trained on Saturday and he’s fine.”

Should Zlamal fail to declare himself fit, Hearts expect to have the 20-year-old American trialist Kevin Silva signed in time to deputise. “Kevin will sign. It’s all agreed, and we’ve got Kelby Mason as well. I’m also in the process of trying to find another goalkeeper,” said Levein.

Silva and Mason will compete for the goalkeeping slot in Hearts’ reserve team this season, with another keeper wanted to challenge Zlamal at first-team level.

Levein does not anticipate any other incomings for now. “I started looking for new players in January. The process of bringing players in has been put before the process of moving anybody out,” he said.

“What you’re seeing just now is probably our maximum number, bar another goalkeeper. There are two or three who will move on but there’s no need to talk about names or anything just now.”

Asked about talks with free agent, English midfielder Sean Clare, Levein remained coy. “There are things I’ve read that I’m not prepared to get involved in just now. If anything comes up, then we can talk about it.

“I just feel, right now, I’ve done quite a lot of business. We have six weeks till the window closes and other things might happen. I just want to be more prepared than last season. To do that, you need to get players in early.”

Chances of the Manchester United left-back Demetri Mitchell returning to Edinburgh are up in the air at the moment. He endeared himself to Hearts fans on loan during the second half of last season but United won’t decide his future until later in the summer.

Derby County have been credited with an interest in Mitchell, who is on tour with United in America. “One of the reasons we brought Ben Garuccio and Jake Mulraney in was to make sure we weren’t in a situation where we’re waiting on Demi and then can’t get him,” said Levein. “That might happen further down the line, I don’t know. I’ve yet to have that conversation with Man United.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4769654.1531811328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4769654.1531811328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Zdenek Zlamal has had an infection in his ankle","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Zdenek Zlamal has had an infection in his ankle","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4769654.1531811328!/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/hearts-to-host-play-by-bryan-jackson-administrator-who-helped-save-club-1-4769303","id":"1.4769303","articleHeadline": "Hearts to host play by Bryan Jackson – administrator who helped save club","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531804846000 ,"articleLead": "

Bryan Jackson’s play, The Pieman Cometh, arrives at Tynecastle Park next week for two days of Scottish football comedy

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4769301.1531733754!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Julie Coombe, Ross Allan and Callum Cuthbertson star in Bryan Jackson's 'The Pieman Cometh'. Pic: Ian Rutherford"} ,"articleBody": "

Jackson helped Hearts avoid liquidation in 2014 as an administrator with BDO. He also helped other clubs including Motherwell and Dundee through financial difficulties, and has now written a play about the financial troubles faced by Scottish teams.

The Pieman Cometh enjoyed a succesful debut at Glasgow’s Oran Mor earlier this year and will be staged at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Hearts are hosing three special performances of the play, co-written by Jackson and David Belcher and directed by Frank Miller. It features Julie Coombe, Ros Allan, Callum Cuthbertson and Gavin Jon Wright.

The performances in Tynecastle’s Gorgoe Suite take place on Friday, July 20, at 7.30 pm, and then on Saturday, July 21, at 3pm and 7.30pm. Jackson will then host a Q&A session with former Hearts manager Jim Jefferies following both evening performances. Tickets are £12 for adults and £10 for concessions and are available online through Hearts etickets or via www.heartsfc.co.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4769301.1531733754!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4769301.1531733754!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Julie Coombe, Ross Allan and Callum Cuthbertson star in Bryan Jackson's 'The Pieman Cometh'. Pic: Ian Rutherford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Julie Coombe, Ross Allan and Callum Cuthbertson star in Bryan Jackson's 'The Pieman Cometh'. Pic: Ian Rutherford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4769301.1531733754!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4769302.1531733759!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4769302.1531733759!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bryan Jackson,left, helped Hearts avoid liquidation in 2014","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bryan Jackson,left, helped Hearts avoid liquidation in 2014","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4769302.1531733759!/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/austin-macphee-rejects-pune-city-job-to-stay-at-hearts-1-4769685","id":"1.4769685","articleHeadline": "Austin MacPhee rejects Pune City job to stay at Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531767898922 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts assistant coach Austin MacPhee is staying at Tynecastle Park after rejecting an offer to manage the Indian Super League club Pune City.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4769684.1531767988!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts assistant coach Austin MacPhee has rejected the manager's job at Pune City"} ,"articleBody": "

MacPhee held talks with the Hearts owner Ann Budge today and decided to remain in his current role as second in command to manager Craig Levein.

Pune City approached Hearts last week and were given permission to talk to MacPhee. They formally offered him the job last Thursday, proposing a lucrative six-figure salary. However, he has refused the proposal and said it was not the right opportunity.

He told the club website: \"It was an interesting offer from the Indian Super League side and one I thought very seriously about. However, at this moment in time it is probably not the right opportunity for me and I am delighted to be continuing my work at Hearts.

\"There is a lot to feel positive about as we head into the new season and I’m very much looking forward to the campaign ahead.\"

Pune City became aware of MacPhee when he attended a recent coaching seminar in India. He has been with Hearts since December 2016 and also works part-time as an assistant coach with Northern Ireland.

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4769684.1531767988!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4769684.1531767988!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts assistant coach Austin MacPhee has rejected the manager's job at Pune City","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts assistant coach Austin MacPhee has rejected the manager's job at Pune City","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4769684.1531767988!/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-striker-conor-sammon-loaned-to-motherwell-1-4769542","id":"1.4769542","articleHeadline": "Hearts striker Conor Sammon loaned to Motherwell","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1531751761964 ,"articleLead": "Hearts striker Conor Sammon has joined Motherwell on a season-long loan after being deemed surplus to requirements by manager Craig Levein.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4769541.1531751867!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Conor Sammon has left Hearts to join Motherwell on loan"} ,"articleBody": "

The Irishman will spend the final 12 months of his three-year Hearts contract at Fir Park. He is keen to revitalise his career after two ill-fated seasons at Tynecastle Park, which saw him unable to establish himself and loaned out twice.

Sammon, 31, joined the Edinburgh club in 2016 on a three-year deal after leaving Derby County. However, he was loaned to Kilmarnock midway through his first season and then spent last year on loan at Partick Thistle.

The Glasgow club were relegated from the Ladbrokes Premiership in May and Sammon returned to Riccarton for pre-season training last month. He was told he is not part of Levein's first-team plans and has now agreed a move to Motherwell.

"I’m just looking forward to getting stuck in here, playing a lot of games, scoring a lot of goals, and just being a part of a successful season," he told the Motherwell website.

"I think the other strikers in the squad are similar. They’re physical, strong and quick, so I definitely think I can fit in here and I think my style of play will help me to have a good season here. And I’m looking forward to that, to training with the lads and to getting familiar with each other and how we play."

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4769541.1531751867!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4769541.1531751867!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Conor Sammon has left Hearts to join Motherwell on loan","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Conor Sammon has left Hearts to join Motherwell on loan","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4769541.1531751867!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}