Former Youth Players

Heart of Midlothian Football Club have an excellent record of developing their own talent in-house and giving them the opportunity of first team football. This is evidenced by the number of players who have been successful in making careers as professional footballers, whether it was with Hearts or moved on to other clubs, several having achieved international recognition with their respective countries.

Using the SFA Youth Cup successes of 1993, 1998 and 2000 as a benchmark, you can see the numbers of players who “made it” from those sides.

From the successful 1992-93 side we had Gary Locke (Club Captain, Scottish Under 21 and now Club Coach), Paul Ritchie (Scotland U21 and Full International) and Grant Murray (over 100 games for the First XI). Others including Alan McManus, David Murie, Myles Hogarth and Kevin Thomas made a career with other Scottish clubs.

In the side from 1997 -98 were two future Hearts captains, both of whom moved to the English Championship after great service and notable performances for Hearts. Robbie Neilson was a Scottish Cup winner with the club (versus Gretna in 2006) and a full Scotland internationalist. Robbie is now with Leicester City. Scott Severin was also a Club captain and has seen service with Aberdeen, Kilmarnock (on loan) and Norwich City. Stephen Simmons had a few matches for the First XI but has also had a lengthy career with Dunfermline, Partick Thistle and now Raith Rovers. Robert Sloan has had successful spells with Raith Rovers and now East Fife.

Moving on to 1999/2000, one name sticks out Craig Gordon, was perhaps Hearts finest ever goalkeeper and not surprisingly Hearts highest ever transfer fee was paid for his services by English side Sunderland. Scotland has few World Class players but Craig is undoubtedly of that calibre. He is Scotland’s international goalkeeper and top player. Robert Sloan and Steven Simmons actually appeared in two youth cup winning sides. One other, Neil Jancyk, will never be forgotten because his his match winning involvement against Hibernian at Easter Road when his two passes allowed McKenna and Stamp to give Hearts a 2-1 victory.

Hearts may have lost the Youth final in 2005/06, but from that side several players graduated to higher levels. Scotland International and current Vice Captain of Hearts Lee Wallace is a superb player and has been the Youth development Young Player of the Year 2009. Icelandic Internationalist Eggert Jonsson is a player with a amazing value in being able to play in almost any position and will undoubtedly play at a much higher level than the SPL. Andrew Driver is an England Under 21 Cap but likely to become a full International with Scotland. Driver has had numerous injury worries but has performed well with Hearts. Calum Elliott is a Scottish international player at all youth age levels. Indeed he and Wallace have played at both European U19 and World U20 Championships for Scotland. Jason Thomson has also challenged for a regular First XI place.

There are others who may not have tasted success at youth level, but most certainly had successful professional careers. Gary Naysmith (Scottish Cup winner and Full International with Scotland), then moved on to enjoy successful spells with Everton, Sheffield Utd and Huddersfield Town. Nor can we forget former Club Captain and Scotland International, Christophe Berra, now with Wolves following a £2M+ transfer in 2009.

Of the more recent graduates from the Academy, Jamie McDonald, Ryan McGowan, Gary Glen, Craig Thomson, Scott Robinson and Arvidas Novikovas (Lithuanian U21 and full Internationalist) challenge regularly for a first XI lineup.

Gary Naysmith

Gary Naysmith


    Andy Driver

    Andy Driver


      Christophe Berra

      Christophe Berra


        Lee Wallace

        Lee Wallace


          Robbie Neilson

          Robbie Neilson


            Gary Locke

            Gary Locke


              Craig Gordon

              Craig Gordon



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