Hearts 21st century XI - The two strikers revealed

One arrived with UEFA Cup and Champions League winners’ medals, five league titles from three different countries and five cup titles from three different countries.

Monday, 15th July 2019, 2:17 pm
Mark de Vries and Edgaras Jankauskas
Mark de Vries and Edgaras Jankauskas

The other pitched up having spent the last four years in the French and Dutch second tiers. However, you’d be hard pushed to find a Hearts fan who didn’t appreciate the talents of both Edgaras Jankauskas and Mark de Vries.

Edgaras Jankauskas

Jankauskas polled 66 per cent of the vote, with Uche Ikpeazu, Kevin Kyle and Michal Pospisil all tied on nine per cent. Craig Beattie received seven per cent of the vote.

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One of the many players who arrived at Hearts on loan from Kaunas (but didn’t actually ever play for Kaunas), Jankauskas scored ten goals in 42 games for Hearts as the Jambos finished second and qualified for the Champions League qualifiers, and also won the Scottish Cup with a penalty shoot-out win over Gretna.

However, the following campaign was less memorable as the Lithuanian forward struggled for form and with injuries.

One of his most memorable displays in a Hearts shirt was the 4-0 Scottish Cup semi-final win over rivals Hibs.

It may well have been the Paul Hartley Show at Hampden, but Jankauskas notched an assist and netted the third in the famous rout.

Perhaps unusually, Jankauskas didn't plunder 20-25 goals, scoring regularly throughout the season, but the 6ft 4in forward had a knack for scoring vital goals. Five goals in four matches in the early part of 2006, including a late winner away to Falkirk towards the end of March, helped Hearts pip Rangers to the runners-up spot.

Jankauskas’ arrival coincided with one of the most memorable seasons in recent history for Hearts, and one of the stand-out campaigns in the 21st century.

He played an integral part in the Jambos splitting the Glasgow duopoly at the top of the table and while his time at Tynecastle may have been brief compared to many others, his contribution was such that no other strikers in his side of the vote came close to challenging him.

Mark de Vries

What better way to announce your arrival in the Capital, and endear yourself for all time to the maroon half of the city, by scoring four goals in a 5-1 rout of your bitter rivals?

Mark de Vries did exactly that on his home debut as Hearts put Hibs to the sword in the searing August heat in 2002.

The Surinam-born forward also helped Hearts to the last four of the League Cup as well as third place in the league and European football.

In November 2003, de Vries scored the only goal of the game as Hearts stunned a Bordeaux side containing current Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino in the UEFA Cup.

His performances in Europe - including the goal in France - caught the eye of numerous clubs in England, with QPR having an offer rejected while Sheffield United and Plymouth Argyle were also keen.

It came as no surprise, then, that he eventually left for England, joining up with former Hearts boss Craig Leven at Leicester.

De Vries was up against stiff opposition in the poll - Scottish Cup-winner Stephen Elliott (two per cent), Ricardo Fuller (13 per cent), another cup-winner in Roman Bednar (14 per cent) and Steven Naismith (27 per cent) all challenged him.

In the end, finishing consecutive seasons as the club’s top scorer and netting four goals in a derby rout on his full debut was enough for the Dutchman to pip his rivals.

The rest of the team