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Call-up joy for Jambo Maybury


HEARTS star Alan Maybury could end a five-year wait for international honours after being called into the Republic of Ireland squad for Wednesday’s friendly against the Czech Republic.

The 25-year-old had been on standby for the Lansdowne Road clash but was given the nod by boss Brian Kerr after the squad was hit by injury.

Maybury, who had another excellent game in the Jambos’ 3-1 victory over Dundee on Saturday which took the Gorgie outfit another step closer to a return to Europe, flew to Dublin yesterday to link up with the squad.

Ironically, the former Leeds United defender won the first of his two caps against the Czech Republic in 1998 - his last cap came in a defeat to Northern Ireland in the Irish capital in May 1999.

He was on the bench when the Republic defeated Scotland at Hampden Park last year in Kerr’s first game in charge and as we reported earlier this month, the Republic manager has been closely monitoring the full-back’s progress at Tynecastle.

"It’s nice to be back involved and the news came as a pleasant surprise," said Maybury.

Hearts boss Craig Levein paid out £100,000 for the Irishman when he brought him to Gorgie from Elland Road in October 2001.

And it has proved money well spent.

"Alan has been brilliant for us and his call-up is fully justified," said Levein. "I don’t know if he has been my best signing but won’t be far away, not just because of his play but his general attitude and the effect he has on the other players.

"Hopefully he will get a game on Wednesday and do himself justice."

Maybury’s call-up for the Republic will mean a busy week for a host of Hearts’ international stars.

Steven Pressley and Craig Gordon are on Scotland duty against Romania at Hampden on Wednesday - Andy Webster has been forced to withdraw having failed to shake off the ankle injury picked up recently against Rangers.

Striker Andy Kirk is hoping to recover from the virus which saw him miss the Dundee clash to be involved with Northern Ireland in Estonia, while Patrick Kisnorbo is off to Greece with the Australian Olympic squad. Kevin McKenna also has a Canadian training camp in Manchester.

As we revealed in Saturday’s Pink, Hearts fans will stage a peaceful protest at Hampden Park tomorrow ahead of the SPL’s vote on the proposed move to Murrayfield. There are a limited number of seats left on the buses heading to Glasgow and they can booked by calling 0131 337 1433.

Meanwhile, the Fans Forum will meet Peter McGrail at Slateford House tomorrow night to discuss the business strategist’s plan for a new Tynecastle as part of the regeneration of the Gorgie area.

McGrail rejected an invite from the club to discuss the plan at a meeting at Tynecastle last Monday as the board refused to grant him "equal disclosure" on the Murrayfield issue.

Prior to that meeting, he had already offered to discuss his proposals with the Forum and he repeated an invitation to meet with the Shareholders Association to help answer any queries.

It is understood that the association is also keen to talk about the plan with McGrail, with its next monthly dinner on April 22 having been pencilled in as a possible date.

Taken from the Scotsman

Hugh Dallas [S Milne 8]
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