London Hearts Supporters Club

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George Burley <-auth Rob Robertson auth-> Mike McCurry
20 of 027 Rudi Skacel 20 ;Michal Pospisil 85 L SPL H

Hearts 2 - 0 Aberdeen

ROB ROBERTSON August 22 2005

George Foulkes, the Hearts chairman, is reputed to have been asked to make a return to politics as an MSP in the Lothians. If he stood in a constituency which includes Tynecastle, he would win by a landslide.

As he departed the ground on Saturday evening, the former Ayrshire MP was swamped by supporters, grateful for the role he has played in the club's resurgence. Indeed, everybody in a Hearts tie and blazer was given a big smile and a pat on the back as they left, such is the feelgood factor in Gorgie at present.

The Edinburgh Festival may be at full swing but the biggest applause in the capital is reserved for the boys in maroon.

Can this be the same stadium where, only seven months ago, the Tynecastle board was being sneaked out of a backdoor after moves to sell the ground?

The startling turnaround in their fortunes is even more surprising than the tabloid tales from the weekend that Steve Coogan, the man who played Alan Partridge, had taken up with Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain's barmy ex-wife and that she was expecting his baby.

As mad as that may sound, who would have thought that Vladimir Romanov, Lithuanian multi-millionaire, would have pumped money into an ailing Scottish club which now topped the league ahead of the Old Firm? Such a crazy tale has become a reality for Hearts who dominated Aberdeen on Saturday.

The three points were secured by Czech mates Rudi Skacel and Michal Pospisil. Skacel is the new Hearts cult hero with his cultured left foot and and irreverent attitude that endears him to the Tynecastle crowd.

With four consecutive wins under their belt, Hearts are playing some magnificent football. However George Burley believes he needs two more new players and it is evident both should be right-sided.

Robbie Neilson is a great survivor but is the weak link in a strong Hearts back four. Saulius Mikoliunas, who plays ahead of him in right midfield, has a heart of a lion but an inability to chase back, leaving Neilson exposed on too many occasions.

Hearts need decent cover in both positions and it would be no surprise if Burley brought in two new players in these areas before the transfer window closes at the end of the month. One man who is believed to be interesting Burley is cultured right-back Zdenek Grygera, a Czech Republic Under-21 international who is currently with Ajax.

It's been so far, so good for Hearts and the importance of this win over Aberdeen cannot be under-estimated. The Pittodrie outfit were coming off the back of a big win over Rangers and their confidence was high. However they lost the midfield battle with Skacel and Paul Hartley, the two most influential players on the pitch.

Steven Pressley and Andy Webster hardly gave Jamie Smith and Steve Lovell a kick and Aberdeen's lack of impact in front of goal would have concerned manager Jimmy Calderwood.

It's hard to pick holes in the Hearts performance but the club will be hoping for more from Edgaras Jankauskas. The former Porto striker looks like he has the potential to be a good targetman but didn't get on the end of many crosses against Aberdeen.

Recent signing Takis Fyssas had a fine game at left-back but has warned his team-mates not to get carried away with their impressive start to the season. Fyssas, who won Euro 2004 with Greece, said: "We are only in our fourth game and we have to keep focused and we can't think we are the best. We have a very good team here and if we continue to play like the way we are playing just now we are going to have a good season."

Caution appears to be the watchword among the Hearts players and management at present but who can blame the fans for ignoring that? The "sold-out" signs were up for the Aberdeen game and it's likely it will be a 16,000 capacity for the match against Motherwell on Saturday.

The good times are rolling at Tynecastle and there does not seem to be a dark cloud on the horizon. The one slightly puzzling matter is just what has happened to the £19.6m debt Vladimir Romanov inherited when he became the biggest single shareholder in the club. His bank took over the debt but, even so, it must still be there and he must have deep pockets to service it as well as bring in new players.

At present, though, the club's financial situation is furthermost from the supporters mind. They are experiencing good times, great football and having great fun in following a winning team.

The question to be asked is whether Hearts can keep it up until the end of the season. "Finishing third would be great for us," said Burley. "I still feel the squad is not strong enough and if we have one or two injuries we would be struggling."

That may be Burley's cautious view but Hearts supporters continue to dream of league glory as their magnificent run continues. After the start their team has made to the season who can blame them.

Taken from the Herald

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