Hearts 21st century XI - The second centre-back revealed

The fans' faces said it all. Apprehension, disappointment, frustrated. Simply upset.

Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 2:18 pm
Christophe Berra's no-nonsense approach saw him regarded as the best left-sided Hearts centre-back of the 21st century. Picture: SNS

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Christophe Berra followed Leigh Griffiths desperately, pushing him into an awkward angle but as the Celtic striker got his shot away the Hearts centre-back had already stumbled and hit the turf.

Nothing new for a defender. Except Berra continued to lay on the turf in the first league game at Tynecastle of the 2018/2019 season. He wasn't moving.

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Christophe Berra's no-nonsense approach saw him regarded as the best left-sided Hearts centre-back of the 21st century. Picture: SNS

That was unlike the 34-year-old who no matter the dunt always seemed to be able to pick himself off the ground and lumber on.

The concern among the Hearts fans was due to his performances the previous campaign. He was a colossus for the team, holding them together single-handedly at times.

Defending the Hearts goal seemed the only thing that mattered to him. Constantly taking up the correct positions in the box, he headered, blocked, harried, cleared, ushered and sweeped up everyone else's mess in the meantime - no meant feat considering he was playing alongside Rafal Grzelak on occasions.

This was the more mature Christophe Berra. The leader.

Hearts fans had also witnessed the growth of Berra, from breaking through the academy, into the first-team, an interesting partnership with Marius Zaliukas then a reported £1.5million move to Wolves.

Despite being Zaliukas' junior Berra was the leader. Mobile, aggressive and powerful it was easy to see why English teams were attracted to him.

Now he is back looking to lead Hearts to a trophy and firmly cement himself in the club lexicon.