EDGARAS JANKAUSKAS expects a stern test for Hearts at Falkirk this evening as he prepares to be reunited with former team-mate Steven Pressley.
The Lithuanian is anticipating a fired-up Falkirk side and said he is excited to see Pressley again after the pair played together at Tynecastle.
Hearts beat Raith Rovers 3-0 at Stark’s Park on Saturday in their first pre-season outing and first match under new manager John McGlynn. Jankauskas, McGlynn’s assistant, revealed he enjoyed the experience but is preparing for a more difficult encounter with Falkirk.
“I’m sure Falkirk, with all respect to Raith Rovers, are a better team,” he said. “Knowing Elvis, he will fire up his team, so we are expecting a tough game even though it’s a friendly game.”
From the team Jankauskas and Pressley played in during 2005 and 2006, Paul Hartley and Takis Fyssas have also ventured into coaching. “I think that’s normal in our life, because you cannot play forever,” continued Jankauskas. “The next step is to give your experience to the younger lads. I know Paul Hartley and Elvis are doing very well. I wish them the best of luck and I’m excited to see Pressley.
“Saturday was not the first time I’ve been in the dugout. Last year I worked as an assistant in Moscow. Of course, it’s not as much fun as you have when you are out on the field. I’m enjoying the time and I’m learning a lot from John, from Gary (Locke) and from Darren (Murray). It’s a great experience.”
Jankauskas praised the team’s performance at Raith and said he was particularly pleased with striker John Sutton’s contribution. “I think we had a great game,” he told the Hearts website. “The young ones were doing very well and we had a mixture of young and experienced players. The team did very well for the first game of the season. John had a very good game. He held the line well, fought for high balls, scored a goal and helped the team to create chances. He’s just coming into his best form. He still has time and I think he’ll be very useful for us this season.”
Hearts striker Gordon Smith, pictured right, will again be absent tonight after being hospitalised with a severe case of tonsilitis. The 20-year-old will also miss Saturday’s friendly with Dunfermline at East End Park.
“It’s unfortunate for Gordon but he’s in hospital at the moment and that’s the best place for him,” McGlynn told the Hearts website. “I’m not sure when we’ll have him back. It’s first things first and it’s important that he gets better. He’s in hospital where they’re taking good care of him and trying to get him back on his feet.”