HEARTS have appointed the former St Mirren, Dundee United and Kilmarnock goalkeeper Alan Combe as their new goalkeeping coach.
The 38-year-old left Greenock Morton on Friday and was due to begin work at Riccarton today, where he will coach No.1 Jamie MacDonald and help develop his younger understudies, Mark Ridgers and Jack Hamilton.
The move sees Edinburgh-born Combe replace Arturas Ramoska as goalkeeping coach at Hearts after the Lithuanian departed in March 2011. Allan Carswell, the club’s youth team goalkeeping coach, had been working with the first team on an interim basis since Ramoska’s exit.
Combe served a host of clubs in both Scotland and England during a 20-year playing career. Having been born in Leith, he played for Cowdenbeath, St Mirren, Dundee United, Bradford City, Kilmarnock and, latterly, Morton. He also earned a Scotland B cap against Poland in 2005 and was named in the senior international squad on several occasions. He will add vital experience to the Hearts coaching staff working under manager John McGlynn.
Meanwhile, McGlynn today stressed he had no problem with David Templeton prior to the player’s departure to Rangers. Hearts released a scathing statement on Saturday after selling Templeton, claiming he had “switched off completely” last season and was “desperate to leave” Tynecastle.
McGlynn, though, offered only praise for the 23-year-old. “I had David when he came on loan to Raith Rovers,” he explained. “Since I came back here, he trained very well and committed himself to the football club. He’s gone on the pitch and done exactly what you should do. He’s been one of our most creative players.
“Because of that, a club of Rangers’ stature wanted to sign him. The club have got a fair amount of money back for him. Somebody spotted him at Stenhousemuir, took the chance to bring him to Hearts and David has developed here. It would’ve been a shame for him to move on at some point for nothing.
“He was in the last year of his contract, the club had offered him a new deal and by all accounts he didn’t accept. You’ve got to think that, with a good offer for him, it’s a bit of good business. For someone to get him for nothing would have been financial suicide in a way. If the likes of Arsenal can’t keep Fabregas and Van Persie, then you just need to look at the bigger picture and understand that’s the way the game is.”
Templeton responded to Hearts’ criticism by saying: “Of course it hurts. It is disappointing that they said what they said. That’s the way Hearts think but people don’t know the real reasons. It’s not for me to say too much, I’ll get my head down and get on with it. That’s the way they see it. I’m not too fussed what they say. I’m concentrating on Rangers now and Hearts are behind me now.
“Some of the stuff they said I don’t agree with. They say they had been offering me new contracts for the past year but I was only offered one contract. They are only doing it to cover themselves and I’m just looking forward to being here at Ibrox. I was at Hearts for five-and-a-half years and I gave everything no matter what, in every game I played for them. I’ll do that whatever club I play for. I’m not going to stop trying, I’ll always give 100 per cent.
“The reaction I’ve had from Hearts fans has been mixed. I have had some fans saying good luck and thanks, others say I lack ambition and I should have gone to England. But I don’t see joining Rangers as a lack of ambition. It shows my ambition as I want to help Rangers get back to where they belong. Hopefully we can do that as quickly as possible, get back to the SPL and back to Europe.”