London Hearts Supporters Club

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John Robertson <-auth None auth-> Mike McCurry
[G O'Connor 8] ;[D Riordan 63]
3 of 020 Lee Miller 23 ;Andy Webster 88 L SPL A

wrongly miscast as the experienced club in Edinburgh this season

Hearts head coach John Robertson insists his team have been wrongly miscast as the experienced club in Edinburgh this season.

Tony Mowbray's Hibernian team have been praised for fighting their way to third place in the Bank of Scotland Premier League with a crop of young players such as Garry O'Connor and Dean Shiels aided by older heads such as Gary Smith and Stephen Glass.

However, ahead of the derby at Easter Road, Robertson, who will add teenagers Craig Sives and Gary Tierney to his squad, has moved to debunk the assertion that his side is packed with hardened professionals.

He said: "We keep hearing about how young a side Hibs have got but, in the last derby match, we were told our team was 20 years younger than them and I think a few people would have lost a bit of money on that bet.

"You've seen the emergence of young Lee Wallace who has been fantastic for us and Jason Thomson has come in and played a couple of games.

"Lee Miller is only 21, Mark Burchill is only 24 and people forget that Craig Gordon and Andy Webster are only 22 because they've been around for such a long time.

"We've known for a long while how young our squad is. Hibs have been given plaudits for what they say is a young side but they are a bit more experienced than people think.

"But it doesn't matter what age you are, if you are good enough you play and you've got to go and perform.

"I would have no problem playing the young lads. Craig has played in the first team before and young Gary has had a run out as well, but, if they are required to play, they will play, it's a simple as that.

"We have had a bit of bad luck with injuries in the last month but you have to cope with that.

"We've seen Lee and Jason come in because of it and, if Craig or Gary has to come in, then I'm sure they will be well up for the task."

Despite the Gorgie side going through a transitional period in terms of blooding new players, Hearts have still stayed with fellow third-place challengers Aberdeen and Hibs.

However, Robertson insists his men have been handicapped in the race for a European spot to some extent by the huge expectations this season.

He said: "The fact that Hearts have finished third in the last two seasons means that is the expectation level for the following seasons. That's the way it is.

"Hibs and Aberdeen have been fortunate with respect that both were in the bottom six last year.

"They've been praised and rightly so but both teams have probably exceeded the expectation level of their fans at the start of the season.

"All credit to them but at Hearts we know the expectation levels we have.

"The fans demand that we finish third and do well in the cup.

"There are five games to go, we've still got an outside chance of qualifying for Europe, we've been in two semi-finals and we've been in the group stages of the UEFA Cup, so all in all, I don't think it's been too bad a season."

Taken from

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