London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2006-07--> All for 20060708
<-Page <-Team Sat 08 Jul 2006 Spartak Trnava 1 Hearts 3 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth Barry Anderson auth-> Thomas Prammer
[Peter Duris 80]
18 of 027 Deividas Cesnauskis 31 ;Deividas Cesnauskis 36 ;Mirsad Beslija 74 F N

The hills are alive with the sound of Jambos


SOME place this, innit? - I said to John McGlynn as we arrived in Windischgarsten last Monday. "It's beautiful," he replied, clearly in awe of the breathtaking scenery.

The town where Hearts have based themselves for pre-season has a definite Alice in Wonderland feel to it.

Pink buildings, blue buildings, yellow buildings, not a drop of litter anywhere, every inch of tarmac and concrete maintained immaculately.

Glance above the rooftops and the towering mountains hover for miles above, some still topped by snow despite the 35 degree heat at ground level. As I said, some place indeed.

Were the area located in the UK, it would be a prime setting for Postman Pat and Mrs Goggins to set up shop, for Windischgarsten is every inch the Austrian equivalent of Greendale.

But instead of Jess the cat, there's Craig Gordon. He's a bit of a cat himself between the sticks.

With a Champions League tie looming at the end of the month, the Hearts squad have been working their HOMFC socks off over the last week to increase their fitness levels.

They haven't, as I'm sure you can imagine, matched the endeavour of those journalists sent out to cover this tour, but they're not far away.

We've had two games so far, a draw against LASK Linz and a fine victory over Spartak Trnava from Slovakia.

The variety in opposition has been a welcome change and we've been party to some excellent, flowing football, but still I find myself pining for home.

Craving the sight of a hoofed clearance by Dunfermline's Andy Tod, a bone-shuddering tackle by wee Lenny, a greasy pie up at Tannadice as the freezing wind assaults you through five layers of clothing. It's only when you arrive somewhere like this that you realise Scottish football is a priceless commodity.

I could, I suppose, just be a little grumpy. I haven't had much in the way of sleep since we got here, not with the town church bells giving it laldy from 6am every morning.

But the locals, for all their early starts, have come alive since Hearts arrived.

They had the pleasure of the Paraguayan national team staying here prior to the World Cup, so it must be invigorating for them to finally see a good team.

The excitement intensified on Friday when Vlad popped in for a personal inspection of his squad's preparations.

No, he didn't just swan in to pick the team for Saturday, the main point of his visit was to discuss with Valdas Ivanauskas which new players Hearts would move for over the coming weeks.

So far we've had Giorgi Popkhadze, Ales Urbanek and Tiago Costa arrive on trial here in Austria, but Kaka, Zidane and Shevchenko are expected in time for the final game on Wednesday against FC Cluj.

I don't think they'll add much to the squad, and it'll be a hard job to shift Andy Driver from the team given the form he's in.

But that's what pre-season's all about. New faces, new ideas, new approaches. I've got an idea [finally], why not make Windischgarsten Hearts' pre-season base every year? If they sign the aforementioned Mr Urbanek, then at least we'll have Ales in Wonderland.

Taken from the Scotsman

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