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

It's not often you pinpoint the right-back as one of the team's key players - in both a defensive and attacking sense.

Monday, 17th June 2019, 11:13 am
Callum Paterson was judged to be the best Hearts right-back of the 21st century. Picture SNS

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Yet, a few seasons ago that was the case at Tynecastle.

Callum Paterson, regarded by fans as the best Hearts right-back of the 21st century with 52 per cent of the vote, was a tour de force down the right-hand side for the Jam Tarts.

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In the 2016/2017 he was at his best and most consistent, driving the team forward. At times it was as if he was a one-man flank.

This was a player who broke through in his favoured right-back position but, with the club unable to improve their attack at the time due to a transfer ban, he was moved higher up the pitch where he was a menace in the air and brought a degree of anarchy.

He led the line as a teenager in the club's relegation season and managed to hit 11 goals, including three against Hibs.

But he brought his best as a rampaging right-back under Robbie Neilson, who came second in the vote with 31 per cent.

Fans appreciated Paterson's fearlessness and at times positional recklessness. He was a monster in the air for the team.

When he went down under a clash with Nathan Tyson in a 4-0 win over Kilmarnock on 27 December 2016 having already put the team ahead, few could have envisaged just how his career would pan out.

A long-term injury was followed by a move to Cardiff City, a move to a No.10 position and then promotion to the Premier League.

While the four players on the shortlist had their differences, Neilson, Ryan McGowan and Michael Smith all brought that Mr Reliable steadiness you expect from the right-back.

Paterson was the antithesis and that's perhaps why he is appreciated so much.