Hearts transfer tactic takes leaf out of Jim Jefferies book as one thing catches English imports off guard

Former Hearts boss Jim JefferiesFormer Hearts boss Jim Jefferies
Former Hearts boss Jim Jefferies
A favourite of the Hearts support has been analysing the transfer work that is making Steven Naismith’s side tick.

Jamie Walker reckons Hearts using a tactic deployed by legendary Tynecastle boss Jim Jefferies is proving astute - and stability has provided a platform for third place consolidation.

The Hearts favourite has made 240 appearances across two spells for the Jambos he grew up supporting, now with Bradford City in England's League Two. He will be watching on this weekend as former teammate and current Gorgie head coach Steven Naismith guides the club into a Scottish Cup semi-final with Rangers.

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It could be a double does of good Jambos news this weekend if Celtic beat Aberdeen in the other last four clash at Hampden. That will ensure that third spot in the Premiership - where Hearts currently occupy and have an 11-point gap on Kilmarnock below them with five games to go - becomes a European group stage spot for next season.

Naismith's men have booked continental football of some sort but the team have their eyes fixed on silverware and games in Europe beyond Halloween. Already, Yan Dhanda, Blair Spittal and James Penrice have signed pre-contract deals to join from Ross County, Motherwell and Livingston respectively at the end of the season.

Walker says that smart recruitment similar to what 1998 Scottish Cup-winning boss Jefferies conducted is helping Hearts push on and gain an edge over their rivals. The playmaker also reckons some stars from lower divisions down south can be taken aback by the size of the Tynecastle club.

He told the Edinburgh Evening News: "I think people who know the league, have done well at this level, it's astute signings, especially when they are going to play in Europe and go with a bigger squad. From being down here, people don't know how big a club Hearts is.

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"They will maybe sign someone from lower leagues, this league I am playing in, and they might go up and think it's harder than they thought. Signing people who know the league is a big thing as well.

“I think Jim Jefferies used to do it a lot, sign the best players outside of the Old Firm and it always worked out quite well. I think Hearts are looking at that, and they have done that. I think Aberdeen have went more along the foreign way of doing it and it hasn't really worked out for them this year."

Walker insists the stability Hearts now have, didn't have during his two stints at the club is a big factor behind three consecutive top four finishes and regular forays on the continent. The 30-year-old insists that is providing a platform for success.

He added: "They did have a tough start to the season. It's a big football club with big expectations and if you aren't winning football matches then fans will be quick to let you know.

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“I think deep down, Naisy knew what he wanted to do and would have kept believing. It's probably one of the best seasons they have had in a very long time.

"I think when I came into the team as a young kid, it was administration and stuff like that. It wasn't really a settled environment when I was there. Now they have the right infrastructure, coaching staff, and I think they can consolidate their place as the third best team in Scotland over the next few years."

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