Hearts 21st century XI - The best left-back revealed

The summer of 2005 was a surreal time for Hearts fans.

Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 11:22 am
Takis Fyssas is still remembered warmly at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS

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Hearts 21st century XI - Vote for the left-back

They were staying at Tynecastle, they had a new manager in place, new players and a new owner.

Things were on the up and there were a number of 'I-have-to-pinch-myself-to-make-sure-I'm-not-dreaming' moments.

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Takis Fyssas is still remembered warmly at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS

Some of the names being linked with a move to the club were preposterous, only feeding into the fervour. Then the club signed Champions League winner Edgaras Jankauskas.

That was merely a teaser. The signing which was to follow really piqued interest.

Takis Fyssas.

Portuguese league winner with Benfica but more impressively a key player in Greece's triumph at the European Championship a year previously. At Hearts.

From the moment he stepped foot on the Tynecastle pitch fans knew they were in the presence of a very fine player, one which oozed class. And he is remembered to this day with the player picking up 63 per cent of the vote - at the time of writing - for the club's best left-back in the 21st century.

The Greek star wasn't a rampaging left-back that motored. No, he merely floated up and down the left flank as if lifted off the turf by some special aura.

While Robbie Neilson endeavoured and at times clunked down the right-hand side, as if a rusty robot forcing its way into motion, Fyssas had the unerring ability of playing as if he was back on a sun-kissed Greek beach.

The frenetic nature of Scottish football can be traumatising for some players, caught up in the whirlwind. The left-back just seemed to ignore it and play at his pace.

Team-mates knew if they gave him the ball he would protect it, while opponents were often left looking for the ball as if dumbfounded by a magic trick, Fyssas sliding in, ushering the ball away and into his possession in one seamless motion.

He was loved by fans for his performances on the way to Scottish Cup triumph and splitting the Old Firm in 2006.

However, one moment, more than any, will stand out. Grabbing the microphone after the club defeated Aberdeen to confirm a second-place finish, he reminded fans with an out-of-tune but endearing song that the club had qualified for the Champions League (qualifiers).