News Archive 2012/13

14 Jul 2012 Oban – Keyline Cup

21 Jul 2012 Inverness Clachnacuddin v Hearts U20s

21 Jul 2012 Foyle Cup 2012

24 Jul 2012 St Cuthbert Wanderers v Hearts XI

27 Jul 2012 Sunderland U18 & U16 v Hearts XIs

31 Jul 2012 Dalkeith Thisle v Hearts XI

8 Aug 2012 Hearts U20s v Aberdeen U20s

14 Aug 2012 Inverness C.T. U20s v Hearts U20s

18 Aug 2012 Musselburgh Athletic v Hearts U20s

4 Sep 2012 Hearts U20s v St Johnstone U20s

10 Sep 2012 Kilmarnock U20s v Hearts U20s

18 Sep 2012 Hearts U20s v Falkirk U20s

23 Sep 2012 Hearts U20s v Clyde U20s

25 Sep 2012 Academy Internationalists

2 Oct 2012 Dundee U20s v Hearts U20s

9 Oct 2012 Hearts U20s v Celtic U20s

15 Oct 2012 Ross County U20s v Hearts U20s

21 Oct 2012 Hearts U20s v Celtic U20s – SFA Youth Cup

24 Oct 2012 Hearts U20s v Hibernian U20s

26 Oct 2012 HYDC Annual Golf Day

4 Nov 2012 HYDC Sportsman’s Brunch

6 Nov 2012 St Mirren U20s v Hearts U20s

8 Nov 2012 HYDC – A Call to Arms

13 Nov 2012 HYDC Share Purchase Auction

13 Nov 2012 Hearts U20s v Motherwell U20s

20 Nov 2012 Hamilton Academical U20s v Hearts U20s

4 Dec 2012 Hearts U20s v Dunfermline Athletic U20s

17 Dec 2012 Aberdeen U20s v Hearts U20s

31 Dec 2012 2012 Youth at the Heart of the Club

12 Jan 2013 Musselburgh Athletic v Hearts XI

22 Jan 2013 Spartans v Hearts U20s

31 Jan 2013 New Contracts and Exits

12 Feb 2013 St Johnstone U20s v Hearts U20s

19 Feb 2013 Hearts U20s v Kilmarnock U20s

22 Feb 2013 Not Just a Burns Supper

22 Feb 2013 Tollcross Supporters Club Donation

6 Mar 2013 Falkirk U20s v Hearts U20s

21 Mar 2013 Hearts U20s v Inverness CT U20s

24 Mar 2013 Scotland U15s – Leon Jones & Sean McKirdy

25 Mar 2013 Hearts U20s v Ross County U20s

25 Mar 2013 Scotland U21s v Luxembourg U21s

30 Mar 2013 HYDC Defibrillator Purchase

2 Apr 2013 Hibernian U20s v Hearts U20s

4 Apr 2013 Alex Wallace Donation

6 Apr 2013 HYDC Young Player of the Year 2012/13

9 Apr 2013 Hearts U20s v St Mirren U20s

11 Apr 2013 Hearts U20s v Dundee U20s

16 Apr 2013 Motherwell U20s v Hearts U20s

18 Apr 2013 Hearts U20s v Dundee United U20s

23 Apr 2013 Hearts U20s v Hamilton Accies U20s

30 Apr 2013 George Nicolson Memorial Golf Day

4 May 2013 Celtic U20s v Hearts U20s

6 May 2013 Dundee United U20s v Hearts U20s

9 May 2013 Dunfermline Athletic U20s v Hearts U20s

31 May 2013 Hearts U17s v Hibernian U17s – East of Scotland Shield

2 Jun 2013 Scotland U20s – ADO Den Haag Tournament

19 Jun 2013 Poland U15s v Scotland U15s

30 Jun 2013 John Cockerell Interview

Hearts U20s Keyline Cup Winners

14-07-12A young Hearts U20 side won the Keyline Cup tournament, hosted by Oban Saints, for the first time since 2006, after an undefeated series of round robin games against Hamilton Accies, Oban Saints, Dundee Utd, Alloa Athletic and St Johnstone.
It was a tiring, but ultimately successful, tournament for the youngsters playing 5 x half hour games in warm sunshine.

With five players eligible for the U20s called up to the first team squad for their friendly against Raith Rovers, Darren Murray fielded a very young side in what was the season opener for the U20s. The conditions were perfect both for paying and spectating as the Oban area has escaped the wet conditions that have affected the Edinburgh area since pre season training commenced.

The first encounter was against Hamilton and was well contested by both sides. Neither side created any great chances and a goalless draw ensued.

The second game against the host amateur side was effectively over within five minutes as first Dale Carrick and then Callum Tapping found the net to put Hearts in a comfortable position. Adam King looked to have scored a 3rd but his netboud shot was well cleared off the line by a defender. Adam then returned the complement by clearing one of his own line.

The third game followed a welcome break in proceedings for the Hearts side and the rest seemed to do them good as they dominated possession in the first half. The only goal however came from a set piece as Fraser Mullen fired in a free kick from 28 yards.

Next up was an encounter with the 2011 Cup winners, Alloa Athletic. Hearts got off to a blistering start with a goal from Billy King within 30 seconds. Billy broke town the right and fired an unstoppable drive across the goalkeeper into the far corner. Within five minutes Hearts doubled their lead. A neat passing move ended up at the feet of Callum Tapping and the midfielder fired a great shot from 20 yards into the top corner to give the keeper no chance. Alloa pulled one back midway through the second half but Hearts maintained their composure and concentration to see out the win.

The final game against St Johnstone was the third in a row without a break and the youngsters worked themselves to a standstill to maintain a blank score sheet which was sufficient to deservedly win the cup. St Johnstone did go close on one occasion but were denied by the post.

The Hearts side were delighted by their triumph and enjoyed the moment and the presentation of the Cup and their medals.

Sam Nicholson was awarded the Player of the Tournament for his terrific wing play and other notable performances came from Brad McKay, Callum Tapping and captain Fraser Mullen.

Squad :

U20 – Fraser Mullen, Brad McKay, Callum Tapping

U19 – Jack Hamilton, Dale Carrick, Billy King, George Scott, Michael Thomson, Callum Wyllie

U18 – Sam Nicholson, Gary Oliver, Mark Keegan, Adam King

U17 – Jordan McGhee, Elliot Ford, Jordan Miller

U16 – Jack Simpson

Results and scorers

Hearts 0-0 Hamilton

Hearts 2-0 Oban Saints (Carrick, Tapping)

Hearts 1-0 Dundee Utd (Mullen)

Hearts 2-1 Alloa Ath (B King, Tapping)

Hearts 0-0 St Johnstone.

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Inverness Clachnacuddin 1-2 Hearts U20s

21-07-12 An experimental Hearts U20 side featuring three trialists had the satisfaction of a come from behind victory over Inverness Clachnacuddin earlier today. The home side went ahead with a controversial penalty just on half time, but the young Jambos hit back with a fine Sam Nicholson header and a stoppage time winner from Callum Wyllie, which capped a good second half performance.
The team had an unfamiliar look about it with the three trialists (with an international flavour) in the squad.

The line up was as follows (4-3-3 / 4-5-1):

Hamilton

McKay Trialist(Argentinia) McGhee, Keegan

A King Mullen Tapping

Trialist(Bulgaria) B King, Nicholson

Subs: Miller, Oliver, Scott, Trailist (Georgia), Wyllie

Hearts were off the pace in the 1st half with some really loose passing from the trialists and the midfielders. The first touch of the strikers and their physical competitiveness also left a lot to be desired. That said neither side created any chances at all, far less shots on target. The Bulgarian went off injured to be replaced by Gary Oliver midway through the half.

The only incident of note in the half was a penalty to Clach in the 45th minute. First Jack Hamilton played a loose ball out to a Clach forward who made his way into the box and dived as Brad McKay jockeyed hism for position. The ref, who was five yards away rightly gave a goal kick. However, the Linesman who was 60 yards away on the other side of the pitch saw something that nobody else did, then called the ref over who then gave a penalty. The Clach player made an expert job of the penalty to put Clach 1-0.

The team obviously got the hair dryer treatment at half time. The Argentinian and Adam King were replaced by the Georgian and George Scott. The Georgian went to right back and Brad McKay moved to centre back. They came out with much more positive intent, moving the ball quicker, the work rate increased and they were much more aggressive in their challenges. The equalised after 62 minutes after a fine cross from Tapping on the right and he found Sam Nicholson coming in at the back post to bullet a header into the net from close range. Hearts continued to press and missed a couple of half chances as did Clach. Just when it looked like it would end in a draw, sub Callum Wyllie found himself in space on the left, in the 91st minute, and drilled a low shot across the keeper and just inside the far post for a winner that they just about deserved thanks to their 2nd half performance.

Best for Hearts were McKay, Mullen and my MOTM Jordan McGhee who, for a 15 year old looks every bit of an U20 prospect.

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Foyle Cup 2012

Hearts again entered three Academy teams into the 2012 Foyle Cup. The event washeld in Derry, Northern Ireland between 16th and 21st July. As in previous years, HYDC has provided John Murray with the financial support to allow Hearts to participate in the tournament. These funds cover the travel, food and accommodation costs of the players and their coaches.The three teams were entered at Under 11, Under 12 and Under 14 age groups.Full details of the tournament can be found at the Foyle Cup websiteThe draw for the tournament was made on 6th June in the presence of Northern Ireland Manager,Michael O’Neill.============================

The tournament proved to be a magnificent success for the Academy as first the U11 bounced back from an opening defeat to reach the Cup Final but were so unlucky to lose an epic penalty shoot out 12-13 after drawing 2-2 in normal time.

The U12s, similarly suffered an opening defeat, but still won their group on goal difference to progress to the quarter finals. From there onwards they showed their ability progressing through to the final which they won comfortably by 3-0, to take yet another cup back to Gorgie.

The U14s by contrast looked a class act throughout, winning all their group games and progressed through the knockout stages to reach the final which they won 2-0.

All in all, the performances of the three teams were a credit to the players, their coaches and the Academy as a whole. The youngsters should be proud of their achievements and will no doubt get an opportunity to take the plaudits of all Hearts fans as they parade their trophies at Tynecastle.

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Heart of Midlothian Youth Academy Archive 2012-13

Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup – 2012

Hearts again entered three Academy teams into the 2012 Foyle Cup. The event washeld in Derry, Northern Ireland between 16th and 21st July. As in previous years, HYDC has provided John Murray with the financial support to allow Hearts to participate in the tournament. These funds cover the travel, food and accommodation costs of the players and their coaches.

The three teams were entered at Under 11, Under 12 and Under 14 age groups.

Full details of the tournament can be found at the Foyle Cup website

The draw for the tournament was made on 6th June in the presence of Northern Ireland Manager,

Michael O’Neill.

============================

The tournament proved to be a magnificent success for the Academy as first the U11 bounced back from an opening defeat to reach the Cup Final but were so unlucky to lose an epic penalty shoot out 12-13 after drawing 2-2 in normal time.

The U12s, similarly suffered an opening defeat, but still won their group on goal difference to progress to the quarter finals. From there onwards they showed their ability progressing through to the final which they won comfortably by 3-0, to take yet another cup back to Gorgie.

The U14s by contrast looked a class act throughout, winning all their group games and progressed through the knockout stages to reach the final which they won 2-0.

All in all, the performances of the three teams were a credit to the players, their coaches and the Academy as a whole. The youngsters should be proud of their achievements and will no doubt get an opportunity to take the plaudits of all Hearts fans as they parade their trophies at Tynecastle.

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St Cuthbert Wanderers 2-2 Hearts XI

24-07-12 A young Hearts XI drawn from U16s to U19s visited Kirkcubright to play South of Scotland side St Cuthbert Wanderers. The youngsters had to come back from a two goal deficit to salvage a 2-2 draw. The goals came from two of the younger members of the side, Jack Simpson and Conor Duthie, in the second half.Hearts had the edge in possession for much of the first half but created little in front of goal, bar a couple of crosses across the pace of the goal and an odd shot from distance. The Georgian trialist was prominent in centre midfield As the half progressed St Cuthberts came more into the game, although they too had difficulty testing Hamilton in the Hearts goal. However after 40 minutes they went ahead. Hearts conceded a corner on the right and their striker Craig Rudd bulleted a header home from six yards.Hearts made a couple of changes at the start of the 2nd half, but conceded a second goal after 54 minutes the ball was played from the right across the face of the goal and Justin Nicholl coming in at the back post coolly slotted the ball home. Gary Oliver tested the home keeper on a couple of occasions who was forced into making diving stops as Hearts upped the tempo. Darren Murray introduced further substitutes and it was two of them who rescued the game for Hearts. First on 64 minutes, Jack Simpson got on the end of a low cross from George Scott to pull one back. Hearts continued to press the home side further back as they began to tire. However, it took until the 89th minute for Hearts to get on level terms. It was Conor Duthie who scored the goal with a crisp shot from the edge of the box, that the keeper got a hand to but couldn’t keep it out.Gary Oliver almost snatch a winner in the last minute but he was crowed out as he bore in on goal. It was apt that Gary had the last chance as he was my MOTM as he worked his socks off without complaint whil he was regularly being manhandled by the home defence, who even resorted to a rugby tackle on him on one occasion.Good performances too from the Georgian trialistand a special mention for the two goal scorers who made such a difference late in the game.The subs who came on were Nathan Flannagan, Conor Duthie, Jack Simpson, Liam Smith and Liam McCroary, the first 4 were U15s last season while the other was U16.

All in all it was a good workout for a young side playing against adults who will be playing in the Scottish Cup the weekend after next.

The line up was as follows (4-5-1):

Hamilton

Ford, A King McGhee, Williams

Buchannan G Scott, Trialist, A Scott, Wyllie

Oliver

Subs: Flannagan, Duthie, Simpson, L Smith, McCroary

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Hearts v Sunderland U18 and U16

27-07-12 Two Hearts youth teams has mixed fortunes on their visit to play Sunderland’s Academy teams. The senior side lost 3-0 to the young Black Cats, but the younger side came back from a goal down to win 2-1, which was a fine effort.The senior Hearts side was close to the strongest they had available at U20 with six players away with the first team at Rotherham (Holt Walker Smith Paterson McHattie & Carrick). They were beaten 3-0 by a very good, physical and athletic outfit. The score did flatter the home side somewhat, although they did have the better of the first half as Hearts stood off them. Sunderland went ahead while Hearts were down to 10 men when Jordan McGhee went off injured, and added a second before the break. The second half saw a different Hearts come out, a side the worked harder, competed physically and passed at a much quicker tempo and with better accuracy. Hearts had a string of good efforts at goal but were denied by some very good goalkeeping. Then with five minutes left Sunderland broke forward and finished a good move with a clinical finish to make it three.Jordan McGhee suffered a nasty knock, following a clash of heads early in the game, that left him unable to see out of his left eye and was taken off. He was checked out by a doctor and seemed ok but his eye was completely closed and badly bruised after the game. He will have to get it looked at again to see if there is any more serious damage to the eye or the socket involved.Hearts also brought on a trialist, Paul Hindley, who played with Celtic U17s last season.TeamHamilton

A King McKay McGhee Keegan

Scott Mullen Tapping

B King Oliver Nicholson

Subs Ford, Wyllie, Hindley, Saunderson

The younger side more closely reflected the U16 age group and featured a few who will still be U15 next season. They too went behind early on after a mistake on the Hearts left, but did create a few chances in the first half but their final efforts were weak. The second half was much improved as Hearts retained possession better and they eventually were rewarded with an equaliser from Regan Hendry who bundled the ball home from close range, then went ahead with a header from Liam McCroary after Nathan Flannagan’s effort was deflected up in the air. There were chances at both ends as Sunderland pushed forward late on looking for an equaliser, the closest they came was a free kick that clipped the top of the bar, but Hearts held on for a deserved victory.

The younger side also featured a new face in Kai Wilson who played with Celtic U15s last season.

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Dalkeith Thisle 1-0 Hearts XI

31-07-12 A very young Hearts XI, featuring mainly U17 players, lost out 1-0 against East Premier League junior side Dalkeith Thistle. The game was a tight affair with Hearts competing well against a physically stronger adult side. The only goal came midway through the second half after a defensive mistake and a second rebound after Jack Hamilton had pulled off a fine double save.Darren Murray was forced into fielding a very young side against the junior side this evening as a reserve side was playing against Falkirk at the same time. The side was further weakened when Billy King was forced to go off after just 5 minutes following a challenge as he drove in on goal.The game proved to be a physical challenge as much as footballing one as Hearts lightweight side struggled at times against adult players. However they still attempted to play their normal high tempo passing game which stretched the home defence on occasions. There were few chances in the first half, but the home side did hit the bar early on while Hearts best effort was a shot over the bar from Gary Oliver after he latched onto a long clearance from Jack Hamilton.The second half continued in the same vein, but it was the junior side who got the all important opening goal midway through the half. A defensive mistake allowed a Thistle striker in on goal but Jack Hamilton initially made a good save, then reacted superbly as a shot from the rebound from close range was deflected. A mis-hit clearance then fell at the feet of Thistle’s Fisher who finally drove the ball low into the net.To their credit, Hearts continued to drive forward, but Sam Nicholson and Gary Oliver were both denied by good saves from the home keeper, as the Junior side held on for the victory.Once again it was was good experience for the youngsters playing against an adult side and should serve them well in the future.

The line up was as follows (4-5-1):

Hamilton

L Smith, Saunderson, McGhee, Ford

Duthie, A King, Beith, Nicholson, Oliver

B King

Subs: Miller Buchannan, Daniels, Wyllie, McCroary, Lewis

Hearts U20s 1-3 Aberdeen U20s

08-08-12 Hearts lost their opening league game to a very accomplished Aberdeen outfit this afternoon played in brilliant sunshine at Newtongrange. Dylan McGowan and Danny Grainger played as overage players for Hearts, but otherwise they fielded a young side as they were without nine other players who were eligible to play at U20 level either through involvement with the first team or injury. Aberdeen’s overage player, Nicky Low dominated the midfield as Aberdeen went ahead after 57 minutes then added another two in the last seven minutes, before Dale Carrick scored a consolation goal for Hearts in stoppage time.Conditions were perfect at their new home of New Victoria Park which will be the U20’s base for the season.Darren Murray fielded a comparatively young side in their opening U20 league fixture against a strong Aberdeen side who had come through pre season with some very good results. Danny Grainger was given a start with a consideration of him playing in Sunday’s derby game, while Dylan McGowan filled in at centre back in the absence of the injured Brad McKay.Hearts started brightly with Callum Tapping and Adam King both prominent in midfield but were unable to generate much threat to the Aberdeen goal. The visitors soon got into their stride and started to press forward, forcing a few corners which came to nothing. Nicky Low was the dominant figure in midfield and Ryan Fraser’s pace proved a handful for Danny Grainger. Indeed the full back was booked after a clear trip on the winger.Both sides’ chances were restricted to long range and neither keeper was troubled during the first half as shots were either blocked or off target.The second half commenced as the first had finished with Aberdeen on the front foot and Hearts increasingly restricted to breaks down the flanks through Sam Nicholson and Gary Oliver.

Aberdeen’s pressure eventually paid off in 57 minutes when a Ryan Fraser corner was headed into the net by Joe Shaugnessy. Hearts would have been disappointed with the goal as they had defenders challenging for the ball and the keeper looked to be unsighted.

Declan McManus almost added to the Dons lead but mis-hit a shot from close in which allowed Jack Hamilton to gather by the post. Hearts continued to seek an equaliser, but denied by a solid defence and weren’t helped by some wayward shooting, particularly from Callum Tapping.

As Hearts pushed forward for an equaliser, Aberdeen eventually added to their lead after 83 minutes when the ball was fed to McManus on the left who beat Fraser Mullen, then fired in a shot that Jack Hamilton could not keep out at his near post.

With just three minutes left Aberdeen went three up with the goal of the game. The midfielder picked the ball up in the centre circle and beat a couple of defenders as he drifted left then shot into the net from the edge of the box.

Hearts efforts were rewarded in stoppage time with a goal from Dale Carrick after good lead up play by Mullen and Tapping left him with an easy finish.

From a Hearts point of view the result was disappointing, but the performance from the younger players was encouraging. It will take a few weeks before the league settles down as different clubs set out their policy to either use younger players as a development platform or something more akin to a reserve side making full use of the new rules on overage and substitute players.

Hearts line-up (4-3-3)

Hamilton

Mullen McGowan McGhee Grainger (Ford)

A King Tapping Duthie (Buchanan)

Oliver(Beith) Carrick, Nicholson

Unused Subs: Miller, L Smith, A Scott, McCroary

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ICT U20s 3-2 Hearts U20s

14-08-12 Hearts lost their second league game of the season as a young side put in a battling performance against a significantly older and more physically adept home side. Hearts conceded a soft goal in the opening minute but hit back with counters from Sam Nicholson and Gary Oliver. However the loss of their only recognised centre back to Injury after 31 minutes contributed to their downfall as ICT equalised shortly afterwards, then scored the decisive goal on the hour mark.Darren Murray fielded what could best be described as a “reserve” U20 side as Hearts were without 11 players who are eligible to play at that level, nor did they include any overage players.As a contrast, ICT fielded three overage players and averaged more than two years older the Hearts side.The game didn’t start too well as Hearts conceded a goal inside a minute after a sloppy clearance from Jordan Millar ultimately led to ICT’s striker, Oswell striking an angled shot into the net. However the young keeper was to redeem himself later in the game with a couple of outstanding double saves, a penalty save and several other excellent stops.Hearts equalised with their first attack after 13 minutes when they won a corner on the right. Mark Keegan played the corner in low to Sam Nicholson at the edge of the box, who didn’t connect perfectly but the shot had enough on it to beat the Matheson in the ICT goal who might have done better.ICT should have gone back in front after 17 mins when Adam King tripped an ICT player in the box to concede a penalty. However the young Hearts keeper made a good stop with his legs to divert the ball over the bar.

Hearts went back in front on 29 minutes, against the run of play, with their second attack, this time with a well worked passing move, ending up at the feet of Gary Oliver 15 yards out and his early shot into the postage stamp corner left the keeper with no chance.

However their joy was short lived as two minutes later Jordan McGhee overstretched himself in a challenge and suffered a sore one with a possible torn muscle in his side. He was carried off on a stretcher. Aaron Scott came on in midfield with Connor Duthie dropping back to the unfamiliar role of centre back. The loss of Hearts only recognised centre back was felt soon afterwards when on 35 minutes ICT leveled the game at 2-2 when a corner on the left was headed home by Meekings, who rose unchallenged just six yards out.

Half time came at 2-2 with Hearts rather fortunate to be on level terms, but having taken a bit of a pounding. Hearts had been guilty of standing off their opponents and being brushed off the ball too easily by straight forward physical challenges.

The second half continued with ICT still enjoying the best of the play and the chances while Jordan Miller continued his heroics in goal, but gradually Hearts leaned to compete better and use their passing ability to good effect. Hearts almost got back in front after 53 minutes after Aaron Scott set up Dale Carrick superbly just 10 yards out but his left foot shot was saved by the legs of Matheson in the ICT goal.

However it was ICT who got the only goal of the half in 60 minutes when a header, following a corner, was initially cleared off the line by George Scott, but when the ball was returned into the area ICT sub Ferguson drove the ball home.

The remainder of the game was much more even and Hearts almost snatched an equaliser with the last touch of the game. Mark Keegan swung in a free kick from wide out on the left which the keeper could only palm into the air to Sam Nicholson, who saw his looping header go just over the top of an unguarded goal.

ICT full deserved their win, but it is clear that Hearts plan to use the U20 League as a development tool for their younger players, and may suffer further reverses as a result. However it will help accelerate the development of the younger guys so all is not lost. Hearts started with 2 x 15 year olds, 4 x 16, 4 x 17 and 1 x 18 year old and finished with 4 x 15 year olds on the pitch.

Best for Hearts today were two 15 year olds, Jordan Millar in goal who recovered well from his early nervousness and Connor Duthie who produced a fine display at the back after McGhee went off, despite never having played there before.

Hearts Lineup

Jordan Millar

Elliot Ford, Adam King, Jordan McGhee (Aaron Scott), Mark Keegan

George Scott (Robbie Buchanan), Angus Beith (Liam Smith), Connor Duthie

Dale Carrick, Gary Oliver, Sam Nicholson

Unused subs: Marcus McMillan, Callum Wyllie

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Musselburgh Athletic 1-0 Hearts U20’s

18-08-12 Hearts fielded a youthful side in this friendly match against the East Premier League junior side Musselburgh Athletic at Olivebank, including ex-Man United ‘keeper Joe Coll, as a trialist, and David Smith.Both sides had early chances, with Conner Duthie having a shot saved before Mark Keegan saw a free-kick clear the crossbar. The hosts’ opened the scoring on 22 minutes, Hearts trialist keeper beaten by an angled shot, before Gary Oliver and Sam Nicholson both had efforts saved in a spell of Hearts pressure.On 37 minutes ‘Burgh almost doubled the lead with two efforts, one saved and another blocked on the line, and on the stroke of half-time Nicholson had a shot brilliantly saved by the ‘keeper.Ex-Heart Matthew King brought to fine saves out of the trialist keeper as the hosts opened the second half strongly, however Hearts overall possibly had the better of the second half exchanges.Once more, as in previous games, the Tynecastle youngsters found goals hard to come by with Smith, Nicholson and Callum Tapping all having efforts saved. In the final minute Nicholson missed a snip to level the scores on a 1-1 with the ‘keeper, that would have put a fairer reflection on proceedings.Hearts U20’s;

1 Trialist

2 Smith (L)

3 Ford (McMillan 76)

4 King (A)

5 Keegan

6 Tapping

7 Duthie

8 Smith (D)

9 Oliver (Buchanan 43)

10 Scott (G) (Beith 64)

11 Nicholson

Subs 12 McMillan, 13 Millar G/K not used, 14 Thomson (M) not used, 15 Saunderson not used, 16 Buchanan, 17 Wyllie not used, 18 Beith

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Hearts U20s 0-4 St Johnstone

04-09-12 Hearts young side found themselves on the wrong end of a 0-4 reverse at the hands of St Johnstone this evening. Saints fully deserved their victory as Hearts failed to match their opponents physically. Despite only conceding a single goal in the opening half, Hearts contributed to their own difficulties by gifting the visitors their second half goals by poor decision making in defence. It looks as if it will be a learning and sometime chastening process for all involved this season, if Hearts continue to play with a less experienced side.Darren Murray made a number of changes to his side as Hearts welcomed back Brad McKay and Billy King after injury and gave an U20 debut to 16 year old new signing, Liam Gordon at centre back. Danny Thomson was fielded as an overage player at right back while Fraser Mullen was sidelined with a knee injury.Hearts started brightly enough with Sam Nicholson first to test the keeper after five minutes with a right foot shot from the edge of the area. Shortly afterwards, Callum Tapping, incurred the wrath of the referee and received a yellow card after dragging an opponent to the ground. The referee seemed overly fussy in the early stages, blowing up for the least bit of contact.As the half progressed St Johnstone started to get control of the game. Jack Hamilton made a good diving stop to deny Saints overage player, Steven MacLean, after 15 minutes, before the same player scored the opening goal, just a minute later. A low cross from the right found MacLean free beyond the back post and he hit his shot hard and low past Hamilton at the near post.Hearts created a chance on 17 minutes when Gary Oliver set up Adam King for an angled shot from 15 yards but the keeper was well positioned to save.Saints dominated the rest of the half and Jack Hamilton was forced to make a couple of excellent stops, again from MacLean, to keep Hearts in the game. Hearts were finding it difficult to get any fluency in their play and retain possession for any length of time as midfielder Liam Caddis in particular dictated the play.

If Hearts were up already up against it after the opening period, then they contributed to their own downfall with some poor defending in the second half. After 56 minutes, Danny Thomson was caught upfield as the ball was played into space behind him and Kevin Moon coolly slotted the ball past Jack Hamilton as he came off his line, stopped and started again.

Darren Murray responded immediately by replacing Danny and Michael Thomson with 15 year olds, Conor Duthie and Aaron Scott, with Adam King filling in at right back.

Callum Tapping gave the Hearts defence a brief respite with a good shot from 25 yards that went just over the bar, before St Johnstone added a third on 66 minutes. The Hearts central defenders failed to deal with a long ball through the middle and Chris Kane latched on to the loose ball to fire the ball home from the edge of the box.

With 10 minutes left, Saints made it 4-0. Adam King initially won back possession superbly in the full back position before inexplicably rolling the ball to a Saints forward at the edge of the box. Jack Hamilton saved the resultant shot down by his post but was unable to do anything with the rebound as it was bundled over the line by Liam Caddis

In the closing minutes Hearts actually put together a few good passing moves, but it was too little too late for the young Jambos as they slumped to a third successive league defeat.

Callum Tapping was best for Hearts, but Hearts were second best throughout as they failed to retain possession sufficiently well and were guilty of a number of individual mistakes.

It will be interesting to see how Hearts now adapt to the U20 league as it appears that most teams are fielding stronger and more experienced sides, while Hearts have chosen to retain a “development” or reserve squad for “bounce” games and fielding what is in effect a second string U20 side in the league.

Hearts line-up

J Hamilton

D Thomson (A Scott) L Gordon B McKay M Keegan

B King C Tapping A King M Thomson (C Duthie) S Nicholson

G Oliver (G Scott)

Unused subs: J Miller, E Saunderson, A Beith, M McMillan

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Kilmarnock U20s 0-3 Hearts U20s

10-09-12 A much changed Hearts U20 side gained their first league win of the season in an entertaining game at Rugby Park. After an even, but goalless first half, Hearts upped the tempo in the second and were rewarded with three unanswered goals from a Killie own goal, Brad McKay and a Billy King penalty.Hearts reacted to the adverse results of playing a young team against more experienced opponents by bringing in Jason Holt and Jamie Walker and playing a full complement of overage players in Alan Combe, Denis Prychynenko, Scott Robinson and Gordon Smith. The pitch at Rugby Park was in excellent condition despite the steady rain that continued throughout the game.The home side opened brightly with Chris Johnston proving a handful with his pace and trickery on the right wing and Hearts were forced into conceding a couple of corners and Alan Combe being forced into a good stop by William Gros.Hearts first opportunity came in 10 minutes when Jamie Walker picked the ball up in midfield, drove forward and fired in a fierce shot from 20 yards that the keeper did well to save diving to his left. Walker was then set up by Scott Robinson and tested the keeper once again who was glad to gather the ball at the second attempt.Both sides exchanged good efforts that just missed the target, before Kilmarnock missed a good opportunity to open the scoring after 27 minutes. William Gros latched onto a through ball and outpaced Brad McKay to create a one on one with Alan Combe, but the experienced keeper had his angles right and diverted the striker’s shot away for a corner.The half ended with Hearts just about edging things with both Billy King and Gordon Smith going close after some good passing moves.

The first half ended goalless, but it had been an entertaining game.

Hearts replaced Gordon Smith with Sam Nicholson at the break and they came out with new purpose. Within two minutes they were ahead but with a measure of good fortune. A wicked first time cross from Mark Keegan was diverted into his own net by the Killie’s, Andrew Hainey, as the left back tried to clear the ball under pressure.

On 49 minutes, Jamie Walker brought out a fine save from Devlin Mackay in the Kilmarnock goal with a curling shot that was destined for the top corner. However, the all important second goal was only delayed by a further minute. Hearts won a corner on the left which was worked to Callum Tapping 15 yards out. The midfielder’s mis-hit shot fell perfectly to Brad McKay three yards out who was left with the simple task of knocking the ball over the line.

Kilmarnock countered with a good shot from distance by William Gross that shaved Alan Combe’s post, but the home side’s efforts were becoming more sporadic as the game progressed. Hearts were now well on top mainly through the work rate of Jason Holt and Scott Robinson and selfless running of Sam Nicholson and the King brothers. Jamie Walker tested the Killie keeper again with a shot from the edge of the box as Hearts continued to press.

Midway through the half, a solo run and effort from Willian Gros almost got Killie back in the game but Alan Combe again denied him with a good stop.

Scott Robinson created a great chance for himself after 76 minutes with a driving run into the box, but lacked composure at the critical moment as his weak shot was gratefully cleared. A quickly taken free kick almost worked for Hearts as Sam Nicholson nipped in front of the advancing keeper, but Jamie Walker was unlucky to see his angled shot drift wide on an unguarded goal.

Adam King was next to try his luck with a fierce shot that warmed the keeper’s palms as he held the ball at the second attempt

Hearts finally got their third goal in stoppage time as Sam Nicholson was tripped in the box as he bore in on goal from the right. Billy King stepped up to take the penalty that he drove hard and low into the left corner of the net with the keeper going the wrong way.

It was a good performance from Hearts and a fully deserved win, although Kilmarnock contributed to what was a good quality and entertaining match. There were a number of excellent performances on the Hearts side with Callum Tapping and Billy King being most prominent in the first half and Jason Holt and Scott Robinson in the second. Other notable performances came from Denis Prychynenko at the back and Adam King who seems to be settling in nicely at right back. Alan Combe in goal also gave lots of confidence and guidance to the defenders in front of him as well as providing good distribution.

Hearts Lineup

Combe

A King, Prychynenko, McKay, Keegan (M Thomson)

Robinson (G Scott), Tapping, Holt

B King, G Smith (Nicholson), Walker

Unused Subs: Millar, Oliver

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Hearts U20s 0-1 Falkirk U20s

18-09-12 Hearts literally paid the penalty for an uninspiring second half performance when the conceded a late spot kick to the Bairns. Fraser Mullen was shown a second yellow card for his part n the penalty incident as Hearts finished with 10 men. it was disappointing that Hearts failed to build on a promising first half with good possession and a number of half chances and failed to cope with the visiting side playing a more pressing game in the second half.Hearts reverted to an all U20 line-up for their game against Falkirk at a chilly New Victoria Park. Kevin McHattie made his first appearance of the season with the U20s at centre back while Fraser Mullen also returned to the side after injury, albeit in the unfamiliar role of left backThe Hearts youngsters quickly settled into a rhythm and put early pressure on the Falkirk goal with shots from Billy King and Jason Holt, forcing a couple of corners in the process. The home side also looked very sharp on the break with the best example on 20 minutes, following a quick throw from Jack Hamilton that found Dale Carrick on the left. The speedy forward drove forward, then squared to Sam Nicholson whose shot from 20 yards went just wide of the left hand post, with the keeper beaten.After 24minutes, a sweet passing move involving several players ended with Jamie Walker shooting just wide of the right hand post. Jamie turned provider in the 31st minute as he set up Dale Carrick for a shot from the edge of the box which the Falkirk keeper saved well diving to his right.Hearts continued to press and Jamie Walker missed the target from a good position once more, then the Falkirk defence resorted to foul tactics as Billy King was felled at the edge of the box as he latched onto a fine pass from Callum Tapping. The free kick was deflected away for a corner but Hearts almost capitalised on it when a shot from Jason Holt was blocked, then the rebound was fired just wide by Callum Tapping.Half time came with the score still goalless. Hearts would have been very disappointed not to be ahead as they had dominated the play and chances throughout.

Hearts started the second half on the attack and Jason Holt might have done better after 50 minutes with a shot that went over the top after a well worked corner involving Fraser Mullen and Sam Nicholson.;

Falkirk finally got a foothold in the game around the hour mark as they pressed forward a bit more, denying the Hearts players the time they had enjoyed on the ball in the first half. The result was that the game became scrappy and devoid of much in the way of creative play.

The referee also took some responsibility for the stop start play, blowing up for some soft fouls and issuing yellow cards to Fraser Mullen, Brad McKay and Jamie Walker.

Chances were few and far between at either end. A speculative shot from 30 yards by Jamie Walker, when he had better options ahead of him, was the limit of Hearts threat, while Falkirk knocked in a few crosses that came to nothing, before Kevin McHattie was forced to defend a dangerous Falkirk break with a well judged intervention.;

Just when it looked like the game would peter out to a goalless draw, Falkirk broke the deadlock from the penalty spot with just two minutes left. A cross from the left saw Fraser Mullen attempting to chest the ball back to Jack Hamilton, but the referee judged that the full back had used an arm and gave a penalty. Fraser was shown a second yellow for the offence, thus Hearts went down to 10 men. Dale Fulton fired the penalty into the corner of the net to put the Bairns ahead and they comfortably saw out the remainder of the game to seal the win.

The Jekyll and Hyde performance will give Darren Murray with a few headaches ahead of Sunday’s youth cup tie against Clyde. There were good performances in the first half from Callum Tapping and Jason Holt, but my man of the match was Kevin McHatiie who looked composed throughout.

Hearts Lineup

Hamilton

A King, McKay, McHattie, Mullen

Walker, Tapping, Holt

B King (Oliver), Carrick, Nicholson

Unused Subs: Millar, Scott, Thomson, Gordon

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Hearts U20s 2-1 Clyde U20s

23-09-12 Hearts progressed to the 3rd round of the SFA youth cup with a late winner against a plucky Clyde side at a sunny Tynecastle this afternoon. Both sides also had penalties well saved by the reir respective keepers. Kevin McHattie put Hearts ahead after the Clyde defence failed to clear a corner just before the break. Clyde thought they had done enough to take the tie into extra time with an equaliser after 87 minutes, but Brad McKay had the final say when he looped a headed from a Fraser Mullen corner into the net deep into stoppage time.Darren Murray brought back Mark Keegan at left back while Jamie Walker dropped to the bench after last week’s loss to Falkirk. Adam King anchored the midfield while Fraser Mullen was restored to his more familiar right back role.Hearts started the game a little off the pace, and were somewhat careless in possession, allowing the visitors a couple of sights at goal which came to nothing. Hearts had a couple of efforts from Sam Nicholson and Adam King blocked as the sought to gain an ascendency.After quarter of an hour, Gary Oliver twice, Callum Tapping and Sam Nicholson all saw their efforts blocked by an increasingly stretched Clyde defence as Hearts upped the pressure.In 18 minutes Billy King was first to test the keeper when Fraser Mullen played a corner to him at the edge of the box and his well struck shot was well saved by the keeper high to his right. On 26 minutes a similar corner on the right found Jason Holt at the edge of the box and his fierce shot was again well saved by the Clyde keeper.Billy King was then booked for diving when he went down in the box. A penalty was to follow after 41 minutes however, at the other end, when Callum Tapping made an ill judged challenge on the Clyde centre forward. The referee pointed to the spot, but Jack Hamilton saved Callum’s blushes as he saved the spot kick, from the same player, with his legs.

It was to prove a costly miss for the visiting side as Hearts broke forward and Gary Oliver forced the keeper into a save, conceding a corner in the process. The Clyde defence then failed to clear the corner and the ball fell kindly for Kevin McHattie, who saw his shot deflect high into net to put Hearts ahead after 43 minutes.

Clyde had one chance to get an equaliser before the break, but their central defender headed wide of the target when unchallenged at a corner.

Hearts just about deserved their lead at half time, but had only put together a few passing moves and had resorted all too often to playing the ball over the top of the Clyde defence who held a high line.

It seemed as if Hearts half time message had been told to pass the ball more and with a bit more pace as they dominated both possession and territory right from the start of the second half, In the first minute Sam Nicholson broke down the right and found Gary Oliver at the near post but the ball was deflected away for a corner, then a crisp passing movement involving several players created an opening for Jason Holt but his shot was comfortably saved by the keeper.

Fraser Mullen then saw his shot from distance deflected for a corner , from which Brad McKay should have done better with a header that went wide. On the hour mark another sweet passing move ended with Gary Oliver stinging the goalkeeper’s fingers with a fierce shot on the angle. Billy King then repeated the dose as Hearts pressed for a second goal to make the tie safe.

After 67 minutes Billy King was unlucky with his next effort which hit the crossbar after the shooting opportunity was set up 12 yards out by substitute Jamie Walker. A minute later Billy had an even better opportunity to score when he won his side a penalty as he was fouled near the goal line. The penalty was well struck but the keeper made a good stop diving to his right. When the ball rebounded to Billy, he incredibly knocked it over the bar of an open goal from seven yards.

Hearts continued to dominate as substitute Michael Thomson twice tested the keeper from distance, either side of a Jamie Walker effort that went just over.

Totally against the run of play Clyde got back on level terms with just three minutes of the game left. A quick break down the left saw the ball squared to one of the Clyde substitutes who was able to side-foot the ball home from eight yards.

If Clyde thought they had done enough to take the game into extra time, they were to be sadly disappointed deep into stoppage time. Hearts won a corner on the right and Brad McKay’s looping header from Fraser Mullen’s cross found the corner f the net.

It was to prove the last action of the game as the referee blew for full time shortly after the restart. Hearts fully deserved their win, but Clyde put up a good defensive performance with their keeper and centre back (no. 4) outstanding. Best for Hearts was Kevin McHattie who didn’t put a foot wrong throughout the game. Hearts finally found some fluidity in their game, after an indifferent first half, and managed to get over the line, albeit the result was much closer than they would have wished.

Hearts Lineup

Hamilton

Mullen, McKay, McHattie, Keegan

Tapping, A King, Holt

B King(Scott), Oliver(Thomson), Nicholson (Walker)

Unused Subs: Millar, Gordon

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Academy Internationalists

25-09-12 The Academy continues to produce talent for ScotlandThe Academy continues its proud record of developing talented players who are among the best in their respective age groups, across the country. The last few months have seen a series of players called up for Scotland duty, or in the case of the youngest age group to Scotland training camps.Recent Scotland honours listU21: Dale Carrick and Jason HoltU19: Jack Hamilton, Callum Paterson and Billy KingU17: Jordan McGhee, Jordan Millar, Angus Beith, Elliot Ford and Zack Williams

U16: Aaron Scott, Jack Simpson and Sam Daniel

U15: Kelby Mason, Sean McKirdy, Leon Jones and Ian Smith

Add to that a number of U20s who have represented their country in recent years, including Jamie Walker, David Smith, Callum Tapping, Fraser Mullen and Kevin McHattie and you have a picture of the ongoing success of the Academy.

The future’s bright, the future’s maroon

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Dundee U20s 1-2 Hearts U20s

03-10-12 Hearts got their season back on track with a victory at Dens Park that was much more comfortable than the score suggests as they dominated territory, possession and chances. Jamie Walker opened the scoring from a free kick in the first period, before Dundee equalised against the run of play just after the hour mark. Hearts were not to be denied as Jamie Walker set up Dylan McGowan to score the decisive goal after 73 minutes.Darren Murray made several changes for this evening’s game, one enforced with the suspension of Fraser Mullen after being red carded in the previous league encounter, the others tactical, with overage players, Alan Combe, Dylan McGowan and Gordon Smith all making an appearance. Jordan McGhee also made a welcome return to the centre of defence after injury.Hearts quickly got into a good rhythm with Callum Tapping in particular using the ball effectively. Dylan McGowan passed up on Hearts first real opportunity after seven minutes when he shot wide of the target. Gordon Smith then headed over from a Jamie Walker cross, then the latter shot weakly straight at Baird in the home goal as Hearts continued to press.Midway through the half a fine crossfield ball from Callum Tapping found Adam King with time and space at the edge of the box, but the full back dallied on the ball too long and the chance was spurned. Dale Carrick was next to pass up on a good opportunity when he shot across and wide of the goal from a good position.Hearts finally got the goal they were looking for after 32 minutes after Callum Tapping was felled 22 yards out as he moved into a dangerous area. Jamie Walker struck the free kick low to Baird’s right and into the net to give Hearts a deserved lead.Brad McKay should have doubled Hearts advantage after 38 minutes when he was allowed a free header from a Jamie Walker cross, but his attempt went over the bar.

Half time came with Hearts deservedly ahead and with their defence looking untroubled and veteran Alan Combe looking a virtual spectator.

The second half started with Hearts in even more dominant form as Dundee struggled to get even a touch of the ball, such was the quality of Hearts possession. Dale Carrick saw his driven cross cleared rather desperately for a corner then saw his flicked header go just wide of the post as Heart sought to extend their lead.

Kevin Mc Hattie then forced a good save from the home keeper after he was played in by a neat chip from Jamie Walker after 59 minutes.

Dundee sought to change things with a couple of substitutions, and the second of them, Wighton, on the hour mark brought an immediate reward. The substitute raced after a ball down the left flank which Brad McKay went out to cover. The centre back should have been content to stay on his feet and jockey for position but instead went to ground, was beaten to the ball and allowed the cross to come in. The initial shot was blocked but fell kindly for the Dundee’s Reid to shoot home from eight yards.

Dundee seemed to gain some confidence from the goal and for a 10 minute spell created a couple of alarms in the Hearts defence with the same substitute showing some good close control and after Jason Holt carelessly conceded possession to Dundee’s Craig Smith 30 yards out and he fired in a curling shot just missed the far post with Alan Combe beaten.

Hearts still carried a threat of their own and Adam King was next to test the keeper with an angled shot that was blocked away for a corner.

Hearts second goal came after 73 minutes when Jamie Walker picked up the ball near the half way line, evaded a couple of attempted foul challenges then played a perfectly weighted ball into the path of Dylan McGowan who calmly slotted the ball through the keeper’s legs and into the net.

The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the home side as Hearts resumed their confident passing game. Adam King was denied again by the keeper after he was played in by an exquisite pass from Callum Tapping played inside the defending full back.

Jamie Walker had Hearts last decent attempt at goal after 82 minutes when he shot narrowly wide after well worked corner between Kevin McHattie and Jason Holt.

Hearts comfortably saw out time without further alarms and were content to take the three points that their play merited.

There were a number of good performances with the defence looking solid and Jamie Walker showing a welcome return to form, but outstanding for Hearts was Callum Tapping, who was pivotal to all the good movement and possession they enjoyed for much of the game.

Hearts lineup

Combe

A King, McKay, McGhee, McHattie

McGowan, Tapping, Holt

Carrick (Nicholson), G Smith, Walker

Unused Subs: Hamilton, Keegan, Scott, B King, Oliver

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Hearts U20s 0-0 Celtic U20s

09-10-12 Hearts youngsters put in a great effort at New Victoria Park but will feel disappointed only to come away with a single point against the U19 League champions. Hearts dominated for long spells but were unable to make the break through, although Scott Robinson hit the post from a free kick in the first half and Dale Carrick also saw his shot deflected onto the outside of the post late on.Gary Locke was in charge of the youngsters this evening, with John McGlynn also in attendance, as Darren Murray was in the Ukraine as part of an SFA coaching team. Hearts fielded close to what was their strongest team at that level, missing Jack Hamilton who was with Scotland’s U19s, while Callum Paterson remains with the first team. Peter Enkleman featured in goal for his second game in three days against Celtic and Dylan McGowan, Scott Robinson and Gordon Smith all featured as overage players.Celtic, meanwhile, were without their players on international duty, but fielded two overage players in Nigerian Rabiu Ibrahim and Tunisian Lassad Nouioui.In a quiet opening to this game, Bahrudin Atajic headed Celtic’s only chance over the bar, while Fraser Mullen struck a powerful free kick straight at Glenn Daniels in the Celtic goal.It took until the half hour mark before the match sparked into life, when Scott Robinson slid in with a strong challenge on Ibrahim. A bit of handbags involving most of the outfield players followed, with both Robinson and Ibrahim shown yellow cards for their trouble.Two minutes later Callum Tapping got a yellow for another foul on the skilful Ibrahim.

The tempo and intensity of the game was much better now as Hearts took control of proceedings, Dylan McGowan headed just wide of the upright from a Fraser Mullen corner on 39 minutes from what was Hearts best chance thus far. Then just on the 45 minute mark Hearts came closer still after Gordon Smith was fouled 25 yards out. Scott Robinson took the free kick and curled the ball round the wall but off the base of the post with the keeper beaten.

In stoppage time Hearts created another good chance when Jamie Walker fed the ball onto Kevin McHattie and the full back’s shot went agonisingly wide of the far post and just inches out on the reach of both Dale Carrick and Gordon Smith as they tried to slide the ball home.

Half time came with Hearts on top but with the game still scoreless.

Celtic started the second half brightly and Ibrahim shot just over the bar after 47 minutes, but Hearts soon resumed their dominance of the game with Jason Holt and Scott Robinson pulling the strings. For all their possession Hearts had little to show for their efforts with only a few corners, some wayward shooting and a couple of blocked shots at goal.

Ibrahim, who had been Celtic’s biggest threat was forced to leave the field after 70 minutes because of injury.

Dale Carrick then came close after 76 minutes when he fired in a shot from a tight angle that the keeper deflected onto a post and out for a corner, which came to nothing.

In a rare foray forward, Patrick Twardzik won Celtic a free kick 25 yards out. Bahrudin Atajic’s set piece was perfectly struck into the top corner, but Peter Enkleman made a fine save as he palmed the ball round the post. It was to be Celtic’s only shot on target of the 90 minutes.

Hearts drove forward in search of a winner with a couple of dangerous crosses and a shot from Fraser Mullen that the keeper blocked away, but it was not to be. Celtic were happy to hear the final whistle, despite the loss of their 100% league record. For Hearts it seemed more like an opportunity missed.

The overall performance was excellent and Gary Locke would have been delighted with the effort that was put in by all 11 players. The outstanding performance came from Jason Holt whose skill, tenacity and non stop running were hopefully a taste of what he has offer the first team when his opportunity finally comes..

Hearts lineup

Enkleman

Mullen, McKay, McGowan, McHattie

Robinson, Tapping, Holt

Carrick G Smith, Walker

Unused Subs: Millar, Keegan, B King, Oliver

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Ross County 2-4 Hearts U20s

15-10-12 Hearts continued their improved league form with a comfortable win against SPL newcomers, Ross County, in Dingwall. Both sides sought to play football but Hearts had the edge on quality. Four of the goals came within an eight minute period either side of the break as Robinson opened the scoring in 41 minutes, County equalised in the first minute of the second half, but within three minutes Tapping and Smith had given Hearts a cushion. The home side pulled a goal back with nine minutes left, but Walker restored the advantage just 60 seconds later.Darren Murray returned from his coaching exploits in Ukraine to make four changes of personnel from the side that drew with Celtic. Jack Hamilton was restored in goal after returning from international duty, while Adam King, Jordan McGhee and Billy King came in for Kevin McHattie, Jason Holt and Dale Carrick who were in Spain with the Scotland U21s. The pitch was in excellent condition despite the recent rain and the cool and calm weather suggested that it was perfect for good football.Hearts started brightly and created their first chance after just three minutes when a Fraser Mullen free kick on the left caused some anxiety in the home defence. Scott Robinson got a toe on the ball that clipped the outside of the post as it went past. Two minutes later the King brothers combined from a throw-in leaving Billy with a shot from the edge of the box that Malin in the County goal saved, diving to his left.County hit back after seven and a cross from the right found Steven Ross in space some eight yards out but he headed weakly straight at Jack Hamilton. Back came Hearts and Jamie Walker forced Malin into a fine one handed save with a well struck shot from the edge of the box after 16 minutes.Midway through the half, Callum Tapping made good progress in wide positions on a couple of occasions and delivered great crosses from both flanks but there were no takers. Hearts continued to press forward, but their shooting was a bit awry as both Scott Robinson and Adam King both fired powerful efforts over the top. Unusually Hearts resorted all too frequently to ball over the top as the home defence kept a high line, but the tactic wasn’t particularly successful. The Staggies were holding their own as half time approached but were forced into an untimely substitution when they lost their striker, Ryan Ross, to be replaced by Kyle Mcleod after 38 minutes.Hearts finally got the breakthrough after 41 minutes when a rehearsed short corner on the right and a cross from Fraser Mullen was met by Gordon Smith but the striker was unfortunate to see his header come crashing back off the woodwork, but the rebound fell perfectly for Scott Robinson 15 yards out and he drilled a low shot into the net. The goal gave Hearts the boost they were looking for and they played the ball with much more confidence up to the interval.

The confidence was to be short lived however as County hit back within 30 seconds of the restart as the Hearts defence backed off and allowed a fierce shot from 25 yards that Jack Hamilton could only parry and Steven Ross, following up, knocked the ball into the net for the equaliser.

Hearts were spurred into an immediate response. After 48 minutes, Jamie Walker fed onto the overlapping Fraser Mullen whose left foot cross was only cleared as far as Callum Tapping 22 yards out and his low shot came off the inside of the right hand post, across the line and in off the left hand to restore Hearts lead.

A minute later Jamie Walker forced the keeper to concede another corner with a fingertip save. This time the cross eluded the head of Jordan McGhee but fell kindly for Gordon Smith who made no mistake from four yards out to double Hearts lead.

Despite the deficit, County continued to play football and Jack Hamilton was happy to see a drive from 25 yards go just wide of his left hand post after 51 minutes. Two minutes later Jordan McGhee put in a good saving challenge on Steven Ross, to spare Brad McKay’s blushes after the centre back gave the ball away.

As the half progressed, both side created half chances. Jack Hamilton wasn’t tested, however Malin in the home goal could only parry away a couple of angled efforts from Jamie Walker and Adam King. Jamie also just missed the target with a glancing header from a Brad McKay cross.

The Staggies were gifted a lifeline after 81 minutes when Jordan McGhee played a slack ball straight to the feet of County substitute Kyle McLeod and he stepped forward to give Jack Hamilton no chance with a shot from eight yards. Once again Hearts responded within 60 seconds. After a good passing move down the right, Jamie Walker got himself in front of the defender to meet Gary Oliver’s low cross and guided the ball into the net to restore Hearts two goal advantage.

Both sides had one more chance to add to their tallies as, first a dropped cross by Jack Hamilton caused panic station for a moment in the Hearts defence, then an excellent passing exchange between substitutes Gary Oliver and Sam Nicholson set up Callum Tapping for a shot that went just wide of the post.

It was a good performance from Hearts and the win moved them up three places in the league table, which should put them in good fettle ahead of Sunday’s Youth Cup tie with Celtic. Looking forward, there will still be a desire to prevent the odd losses of concentration that gave clear chances to the opposition. However, there were good individual contributions across defence, midfield and attack, but I’d give my motm to the ever consistent Callum Tapping, just ahead of Scott Robinson and Billy King.

Hearts lineup

Hamilton

A King, McKay, McGowan, Mullen

Robinson, McGowan, Tapping

B King (Oliver), G Smith (Nicholson), Walker

Unused Subs: Millar, Keegan, Saunderson

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Hearts U20s 1-2 Celtic U20s

21-10-12 It was a tale of two halves as Hearts crashed out of the SFA Youth Cup at the third round stage. After dominating the first half and going ahead with a Dale Carrick header right on the 45 minute mark, Hearts were put under much more pressure in the second period and tired noticeably late in the game. They lost out to goals from Bahrudin Atajic and Jamie Lindsay in the final quarter of an hour, the first of which was a stunning volley worthy of winning a match at any level.Hearts fielded their strongest available XI and included Carrick and McHattie who were unused substitutes for the first team earlier in the day. Celtic was also bolstered by the return of a number of their internationalists, following the goalless league draw between the sides just over a week earlier.The game started as expected at a high tempo with Celtic going close with Herron’s attempted glancing header just going wide after just two minutes, but Hearts soon got into their passing rhythm and got a measure of control, with Callum Tapping and Fraser Mullen dictating the play. Jamie Walker was also proving a handful on the Hearts left and it was he who first tested Daniels after 18 minutes with a rasping drive from the edge of the box, that the keeper could only parry away to safety.Hearts continued to prosper, particularly down the left with Jamie Walker next combining with Dale Carrick and the Hearts striker was denied again by the Celtic keeper as he deflected the ball just past the post for a corner.A minute later Jamie Walker then found himself in space at the edge of the box as Billy King found him with a clever cut back, that was dummied by Dale Carrick, but the chance was blazed over the bar. Jamie and Kevin McHattie then had decent efforts blocked by the overworked Celtic defence.Hearts finally got the reward that their first half play deserved when Jamie Walker took the ball on the outside of the full back for the first time and his left foot cross was met perfectly bay Dale Carrick six yards out and his bullet header left Daniels with no chance. Hearts might have added to their tally in stoppage time but some desperate defending succeeded in blocking further attempts at goal.

Celtic reacted to the deficit by bringing on Jamie Lindsay and Denny Johnstone for the ineffective Michael Miller and Paddy McNally and the changes seemed to work in Celtic’s favour. Celtic had stood off the Hearts midfield in the first half and learned their lesson by pressing much more on their opponents further up the pitch. As a result Celtic dominated possession as Hearts had done in the first period.

Despite their advantage Celtic were limited to a couple of dangerous crosses from Chalmers that eluded Johnstone and Jack Hamilton had only one alarm when he could only get his fingertips to a ball that looped up in the air and he was able to gather at the second attempt.

As the game entered the final 15 minutes, the Hearts was standing up well to the pressure, but they could do nothing about Celtic’s equaliser. A Jamie Lindsay cross from the right found Bahrudin Atajic 15 yards out beyond the back post and the prolific striker crashed an unstoppable scissors kick volley into the far top corner. It was a stunning strike and a contender for goal of the season or any other season.

Four minutes later Celtic completed their comeback when Jamie Lindsay drove through a couple of ineffective Hearts challenges to slot the ball coolly past Jack Hamilton.

Hearts were unable to mount any significant challenge in the final few minutes as their earlier efforts had taken their toll and Celtic were able to ease into the next round after what had been a difficult encounter, particularly in the first half.

Once again Hearts have gone out in the early rounds of the competition, but in this occasion, it was a case of what might have been, had they capitalised fully on their first half dominance.

Best for Hearts in the first half were Callum Tapping and Fraser Mullen, but Kevin McHattie and Billy King impressed with their running in the second half. The central defenders worked manfully throughout and special mention should be made of Brad McKay who took a full blooded drive from Darnell Fisher straight in the unmentionables, and spent the next few minutes feeling for his apparent loss, but recovered well to play a full part in Hearts defensive efforts.

Hearts lineup

Hamilton

A King, McKay, McGhee, McHattie

Mullen, Tapping, Holt

B King Carrick, Walker (Nicholson)

Unused Subs: Millar, Keegan, Oliver, Gordon

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Hearts U20s 1-0 Hibernian U20s

24-10-12 Hearts bounced back from the disappointment of their youth cup exit with a spirited and deserved win in the “wee derby”. Gordon Smith scored the only goal after just four minutes following a defensive mix up. Hearts dominated proceedings throughout, bar a 15 minute period at the start of the second half, with Peter Enkleman not having a save to make in the 90 minutes.Hearts reverted to what is becoming a regular selection of overage players in Dylan McGowan, Scott Robinson and Gordon Smith. Peter Enkleman was also given some match practice in goal. Hibs also fielded overage players in keeper Sean Murdoch and Lewis Stevenson while Pa Saikou Kujabi had an opportunity to redeem himself in a derby following his cup final nightmare. A good crowd was in attendance at a chilly and misty New Victoria Park.Hearts started brightly with Gordon Smith forcing the Hibs defence to concede a corner in the first minute. Smith was soon to add to his derby goal tally in the fourth minute after Harry Monaghan mishit his pass back to the keeper and the Hearts front man nipped in to knock the ball into an unguarded net to give the home side the lead.On eight minutes Jamie Walker made good progress down the right past Kujabi, but his shot from a tight angle was blocked away to safety by Murdoch in the Hibs goal.Lewis Stevenson was then fortunate to escape with just a talking to after he felled Jason Holt as he approached the edge of the box, and he was also thankful that the free kick came to nothing.Hearts had established control of proceedings mainly through the efforts of Scott Robinson in an attacking midfield role while the defence was solid in negating any threat from Caldwell and Handling.

Jamie Walker went on another run down the right on 27 minutes, this time cutting onto his left foot but his shot was blocked away to the left, only for Billy King overhit his cross with the Hibs defence stretched.

Billy King again proved a handful to the Hibs defence with his pace down the left after 32 minutes, but his cut back to Gordon Smith was fired high over the top of the bar. Five minutes later Billy again outpaced the full back to cross for the unmarked Jamie Walker, but his attempt at a volleyed finish was pretty woeful.

Just before the break, Scott Robinson was first to be shown a yellow card after a foul on Lewis Stevenson, which seemed somewhat harsh since the Hibs player escaped with a lecture for a worse challenge earlier in the game. Indeed Darren Murray had a word with the referee after the half time whistle blew.

The second half started with Hibs pushing forward for the first time in the match, but their shooting was off target.

Sam Stanton then incurred the wrath of the referee when he was shown a yellow card for a foul on Scott Robinson, after 53 minutes, just before the same player had Hibs best effort of the match with a curling left foot shot from 20 yards that just drifted past Peter Enkleman’s right hand post. Alex Harris was causing some problems for Fraser Mullen with his pace and put in a couple of dangerous crosses that came to nothing.

Kujabi then put in a good cross from a free kick on the left which found Euan Smith at the back post, but Ross Caldwell was unable to latch onto Smith’s knock back as Hibs enjoyed their best spell of the game.

Hearts were not content to be pushed back and gradually re-established their control as the half progressed. Billy King continued his good work with excellent control and made several good runs forward, taking the game back towards the Hibs goal.

Yellow cards followed for Gordon Smith and Bradley Donaldson, the latter conceding a free kick at the edge of the box. Scott Robinson struck the set piece sweetly but Murdoch in the Hibs goal made a diving save, palming the ball away. Hearts continued to press forward and created a couple of half chances, the best of which saw a Brad McKay header cleared off the line.

Billy King created the last chance of the game with a run that took him from the right flank all the way across field and ended up with a shot from a tight angle on the left that caused panic station in the Hibs goalmouth before the ball was eventually cleared.

Hearts comfortably saw out the game to gain a welcome three points that takes Hearts above Hibs and into the top half of the table, which is a good recovery following the early season losses, while playing a very inexperienced side.

Top men for Hearts were Scott Robinson, particularly in the first half, but his performance was eclipsed by Billy King who had his best game of the season and is perhaps only now at full fitness following several weeks on the sidelines at the start of the season with an ankle injury.

Hearts lineup

Enkleman

Mullen, McKay, D McGowan, McHattie

Robinson, Tapping, Holt

B King G Smith, Walker

Unused Subs: Hamilton, A King, Nicholson, Oliver, McGhee

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HYDC Golf Day

25-10-12 On Thursday 25th October HYDC held their Annual Golf Day at Turnhouse Golf Club.Thankfully the weather was kind to all the golfers and a great day was had by all.As usual the event was supported by a number of former Hearts players including John Robertson, Gordon Marshall, Tommy Murray and Steven Boyack.We were delighted to be supported by 15 teams and among them two new teams this year from KPMG and British Car Auctions (BCA) and their support is much appreciated.Hopefully they will all be back next year especially BCA who will have to defend their title after winning the competition along with their guest John Robertson.One of the highlights of the day was the presentation by Hearts manager John McGlynn of a special prize to one of the guests for his longest drive! He actually drove to Turnberry instead of Turnhouse which was almost a four hour round journey.A huge thanks must go to the sponsor for the day Turnhouse Catering and also Saltire for providing a lovely sweet for all the golfers.As ever, Ron MacNeill was on hand to make a photographic record of the events, a selection of which can be seen in the gallery below

Calum Robertson

HYDC – Chairman

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Hearts Youth Development Committee – Sportsman’s Brunch 2012

The latest HYDC fundraising event took place in the Gorgie Suite. Those present (around 110 people) were served with a fine full Scottish Breakfast (Bacon Blackpudding, Suasage, Scrabbled Egg and tattie scone) along with a morning roll. Tea /Coffee as required was also available.The host for the event was Peter Martin whose humour and presentation was superb. Guest Speakers were Bob Valentine (a late replacement for Brian McGinlay) and Eric Davidson. (All pictured below along with HYDC Chairman, Calum Robertson)Given he was a late replacement ex Grade 1 official Bob Valentine was to provide an excellently funny and interesting talk which held the room’s interest throughout. A debt of gratitude to Bob for helping out HYDC.Eric Davidson is a Midlothian man , with a sense of fun and comic script to match. His singing voice was at best reasonable his ukulele playing so funny to behold and the song content absolutely superb. Eric held the audience throughout and concluded a good afternoon with a tribute verse to the soldiers of McCrae’s Battalion ( poignant at this time)’HYDC thank our 3 speakers for their time and for providing a great afternoon. Our thanks also to Saltire Catering for the breakfast and Jambos Kickback who sponsored the event.To those who attended we thank you for your contribution to HYDC and hope you fully enjoyed the afternoon.

Alex Jones (HYDC-Treasurer)

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St Mirren U20s 0-2 Hearts U20s

6-11-12 Hearts cruised to a comfortable victory in Paisley this evening despite not reaching the level of consistency in their performance that Darren Murray was seeking. After an early scare when the home side had a goal chalked off for offside, Callum Tapping opened the scoring with goal in stoppage time of the first half, then Gordon Smith headed into the net early in the second period to seal the points for Hearts.Hearts made two “overage” changes for the gate at New St Mirren Park with Alan Combe replacing Peter Enkleman in goal and Denis Prychynenko coming in for Scott Robinson. Denis played at centre back while Dylan McGowan moved forward into a holding midfield role. The remaining U20s were along familiar lines.The early stages were fairly even, although it was the home side who looked the more dangerous with Brad McKay making a good intervention to stop Jack Smith running in on goal, and Alan Combe being forced into a save from a Declan Hughes shot from the edge of the box after six minutes.Hearts had a penalty appeal turned down in seven minutes as Jason Holt appeared to be brought down by the advancing keeper, Grant Adam, but the referee saw no foul, nor did he feel the need to book the Hearts midfielder for diving.Hearts got a grip on proceedings around the quarter hour mark in a passage of play in which they retained possession for the best part of two minutes, although nothing came of it.Hearts first real chance of the match came after 17 minutes when a Fraser Mullen corner to the edge of the box was headed back into the danger area by Denis Prychynenko, but Dylan McGowan couldn’t keep his hooked effort down from just six yards. Jason Holt was the first to test the home keeper after 21 minutes with a shot from 25 yards that the keeper dived to his right to save.

Hearts had a lucky escape after 30 minutes when a tight pass from Brad McKay to Billy King caught the winger on his heels and he was dispossessed 20 yards out. The ball was crossed in from the left and Jack Smith netted from six yards out, but the flag was up for offside. The Hearts defence got a reminder from Alan Combe about their carelessness.

Hearts almost went ahead after 39 minutes after a good move that ended with Billy King cutting in from the right and firing in a good shot that the keeper did well to stop by his near post. The keeper failed to take the ball cleanly, but Dylan McGowan was penalised as he tried to force the ball over the line

Alan Combe was again forced into action when he was forced to concede a corner as he palmed away a fierce shot from Saints full back, Paul McGinn.

Hearts finally got their noses in front in stoppage time. Callum Tapping’s forward run wasn’t tracked by anyone in the home side as Jamie Walker found him in space at the edge of the box. The midfielder coolly knocked the ball into the net high past the keeper, who appeared to be badly positioned or had been deceived by Callum into moving the wrong way.

Hearts fully deserved their half time lead, but were complacent at the start of the second half as a number of passes went astray much to the annoyance of Darren Murray. Dylan McGowan, Fraser Mullen and Jamie Walker were all guilty of giving the ball away cheaply.

However Darren’s concerns were eased with a well worked second goal after 52 minutes. A corner on the right was played by Fraser Mullen into the path of Denis Prychynenko 35 yards out. The big defender curled in an inviting cross into the box and Gordon Smith got himself in front of the keeper to head home from six yards.

Hearts were content to sit on their lead, although their slackness led to half chances for the home side as Alan Combe was forced into a making two good saves and also saw a good headed chance slide wide of his right hand post, while at the other end Denis Prychynenko missed the target with two free kicks, Gordon Smoth shot over and Fraser Mullen saw two efforts blocked in quick succession.

The referee also showed yellow cards to two St Mirren defenders for fouls on Jason Holt and Jamie Walker, while Denis Prychnenko also “took one for his side” as the home side sought to hit on the break.

Both sides rung the changes will all six substitutes used in the latter stages. Sam Nicholson came closest for Hearts late in the game with a powerful shot from 25 yards that just went past the left hand upright.

Overall it was a comfortable win for Hearts, but in truth it was a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde performance, with some good spells of play interspersed with some slack passing.

Top men for Hearts were Jason Holt whose technique and movement must have impressed the watching Scotland youth coach Ricky Sbragia and Denis Prychynenko who had an excellent return to the side after an ankle injury saw him sidelined for a few weeks. His free kicks weren’t quite up to his normal standards, though, so he may need more practice (not!).

Hearts lineup

Combe

Mullen, McKay, Prychynenko , McHattie

Tapping (A King), D McGowan, Holt

B King (Nicholson), G Smith, Walker (Oliver)

Unused Subs: Hamilton, McGhee, Gordon

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HYDC Share Purchase & Auction Fundraising A Call to Arms – HYDC Statements

08-11-12 Representatives of The Heart of Midlothian Shareholders Association. The Federation of Hearts Supporters, The Heart of Midlothian Supporters Trust and The Heart of Midlothian Youth Development Committee met with Board members of the Club this evening and had a frank and open discussion in the immediate financial challenges facing Heart of Midlothian Football Club. in particular, the current tax liabilities.Following these discussions it is clear to us that the Club needs more than ever to raise immediate finance through the share offer and buying match tickets for at least the next three home matches to secure our short term future and, therefore, our long term sustainability.By all supporters, we mean all those who attended Hampden on the 19th May and those who lined the streets of Edinburgh to enjoy the Cup parade.This is a call to arms.The Club needs you now.Calum Robertson

HYDC Chairman

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HYDC Share Purchase & Auction Fundraising A Call to Arms – HYDC Statements

13-11-12 A highly successful auction and raffle evening was held in the Gorgie Suite on Tuesday 13th November to raise money for the club by means of a share purchase in the name of HYDC thus helping the club in this difficult time.The event was hosted by “voice of Hearts”. Scott Wilson, and he was joined by first team coach, Gary Locke, and Marius Zaliukas, Jamie MacDonald, Andrew Driver and John Sutton from the playing staff.A grand total of £13,776 was raised which will be used to fund a purchase of shares in the club which will be held in the name of HYDC. A further contribution of £5,728, came from donations received from those who attended the U20’s match against Motherwell which was held at Tynecastle that evening.The highlight of the auction was £1,150 bid for Marius Zaliukas’ Scottish Cup Final shirt. The price was helped along by Marius himself who was happy to retain the shirt himself, while raising funds for the club, but in the end he was outbid by a fan.As a result of a Supporter’s Rally, also held in the Gorgie Suite, on Sunday 18th November, a further sum of approximately £27,500 was raised. Again the money raised will be used to fund a share purchase of 250,000 shares which will also be held in the name of HYDC.HYDC would like to express its gratitude to everyone who attended, or assisted in any way to make the two events such a resounding success.

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Hearts U20s 4-2 Motherwell U20s

13-11-12 Hearts U20s put on a superb show this evening to come back from a two goal deficit after just 16 minutes to win 4-2. Jamie Walker was the star of the show with a hat-trick including two exceptional strikes from distance while the King brothers combined for Billy to net the other counter.Darren Murray made several changes for their first league outing under the lights at Tynecastle. Jason Holt and Kevin McHattie who were on international duty in Portugal, while Dylan McGowan had played for the first team at the weekend and was rested. Adam King, Sam Nicholson and Scott Robinson all came into the starting line-up, while Mark Ridgers made a welcome return in goal after a long spell out with a knee injury. A larger than normal crowd attended, despite the wet weather, demonstrating their support for the club in financial trouble.Hearts unusually started slowly, being content to pass the ball along the back four, but creating little going forward. Motherwel had the first chance after three minutes but a headed chance was easily gathered by Mark Ridgers. In response a low cross from Adam King was found Jamie Walker in the box, but his effort was defleted away for a corner.It was no surprise when Motherwell opened the scoring after 11 minutes when a Steve Hetherington free kick on the right was rolled into Axel Bossekota and he guided the ball into the net with the Heats defence static,Bossekota almost got a second goal three minutes later but he dragged his shot just wide of the right hand upright. However, it did get worse for the home side after 16 minutes when the Steelmen doubled their lead. This time it was down to a good pass from Bob McHugh who played in Craig Moore, who was in acres of space on the right and he drilled a low shot across Ridgers into the corner of the net.To their credit Hearts remained patient and confident in their own abilities and there were rewarded in 27 minutes with a contender for goal of the season. The ball was worked up to the corner of the box when Gordon Smith laid the ball into the path of Jamie Walker who fired in a screamer into the top corner of the net from 25 yards.

Hearts almost equalised after 29 minutes when a short passback in the caused panic in the Motherwell defence, as keeper, Lee Hollis, saw his attempted clearance rebound off a defender and just wide of the post for a corner.

Hearts were now well back in the game and created a good chance two minutes later. Billy King found his brother Adam in space with a good pass and the younger King’s cross was met by Sam Nicholson but he couldn’t find the target with his shot.

Motherwell missed a good opportunity to restore their two goal cushion after 40 minutes when Bob McHugh dribbled his way through the heart of the Hearts defence but saw his shot from 10 yards well saved by Mark Ridgers.

Hearts had one more chance before the break when a Denis Prychynenko free kick from 30 yards was beaten away by Hollis in the Motherwell goal.

Denis had a similar opportunity in the first minute of the second half, this time from all of 35 yards, but the keeper made a much more comfortable save diving to his right.

There was another alarm for Hearts a minute later as Callum Tapping lost possession in midfield allowing a chance for the visitors, but was thankful that the Motherwell striker’s shot from the edge of the box was straight at Mark Ridgers.

Denis Prychynenko then blocked a good strike from Omar Daley as the winger cut in from the left and Bob McHugh fired another effort just wide of the target as Motherwell enjoyed another good spell of pressure.

However it was Hearts who got on level terms after 52 minutes as Jamie Walker played the ball out to Adam King on the right and his low cross found his brother Billy seven yards out and the elder King netted easily.

Hearts now had their tails up and flooded forward at every opportunity. Jamie Walker saw another good shot from 22 yards deflected wide, then from the resultant corner Hollis made a good save from a Denis Prychynenko header. The next goal eventually came after 61 minutes when Scott Robinson played the ball out to the impressive Adam King and another hard low cross eluded Gordon Smith at the near post but reached Jamie Walker coming in at the back post who scored easily from three yards.

A mistake by Scott Robinson almost gave Motherwell a chance as McHugh and Carswell combined, but Jordan McGhee managed to intervene as the cost of a corner.

Hearts resumed their attack on the visitors goal when Scott Robinson won the ball in his own half and played Billy King down the left at pace, creating a three on one break. Billy chose to keep the ball as he bore in on goal rather than play a pass but was denied by the keeper.

Gordon Smith then showed good control in the box as he twisted one way then the other, but his shot was again well saved by Hollis. The keeper then parried away another shot from distance and Smith again just missed out with the rebound from a tight angle.

Hearts dominance was rewarded after 78 minutes when Jamie Walker completed his hat-trick. Jamie picked the ball up in the centre circle and was allowed to drive forward unchallenged before unleashing another great strike from 22 yards, this time with his left foot, high into the net to the keeper’s right.

The chances kept coming for Hearts in the last five minutes and Motherwell were fortunate that their keeper was in good form as he made further good saves from Gordon Smith, a Sam Nicholson effort from 20 yards and yet another Denis Prychynenko free kick.

The full time whistle went to huge cheers from the assembled faithful who had seen a terrific comeback, quality play and some superb goals.

Man of the match was undoubtedly Jamie Walker whose confidence increased with every goal and run. There were also good performances Adam King and Jordan McGhee, while Scott Robinson recovered from a shaky opening to be the driving force in central midfield in the second half.

Hearts lineup

Ridgers

A King, Prychynenko, McGhee, Mullen

Robinson, Tapping, Nicholson

B King, G Smith, Walker

Unused Subs: Hamilton, Keegan, Gordon, G Scott, A Scott, Beith, Oliver

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Hamilton Accies U20s 2-2 Hearts U20s

20-11-12 Hearts U20s missed an opportunity to make further progress up the table after conceding a couple of soft goals to defensive errors in a 2-2 draw at New Douglas Park. All the goals came in the first half. Scott Robinson equalised from the penalty spot after Hamilton went ahead early on with a suspiciously offside goal, before Billy King put Hearts ahead, only for the home side to equalise just a minute later.Hearts made two changes from last week’s win over Motherwell with Jamie Walker having played for the first team on Saturday and Callum Tapping out on loan to Alloa Athletic. Darren Murray brought back Kevin McHattie at left back, moved Fraser Mullen into midfield and brought in Gary Oliver on the left flank. .Hearts made a lacklustre start and found it difficult to get out their own half as the home side pressed forward. It was no surprise when Hamilton went ahead after five minutes. A free kick on the right was hit cross field onto the left side and when the cross finally came into the box Mark Ridgers failed to connect properly with an attempted two fisted punch. The ball fell to an Accies player at the edge of the box who saw his shot at goal blocked on the line by Kevin McHattie but the rebound was forced over the line by Craig Watson. The goal was given despite the scorer looking as if he was a couple of yards offside with the goalkeeper being well out of his goal.Hamilton’s joy was to be short lived as Hearts equalised on their first foray into the opposition half after seven minutes. Billy King saw his powerful shot from 30 yards parried away by keeper Scott Christie, but the ball was picked up by Sam Nicholson who was brought down as he twisted and turned in the box. The referee didn’t initially award a penalty, but his assistant had a clear view and signalled for the spot kick. Scott Robinson stepped up to take the kick and made no mistake, sending the keeper the wrong way.Sam Nicholson seemed to be a marked man for the Hamilton side as he was repeatedly fouled during the first half, although the referee took no action.Hearts found themselves in the lead, a bit against the run of play, after 24 minutes when they hit on the break. The ball was played to Fraser Mullen who broke at pace down the right channel and he squared the ball for Billy King to net his third goal of the season from eight yards.

This time it was Hearts joy that was to be short lived, as Hamilton equalised just a minute later. Once again Hearts contributed to their own downfall as Adam King misplaced a back pass which was intercepted by a Hamilton player who squared for Jordan Kirkpatrick to net from close range. It wasn’t clear whether Adam’s pass was under hit, misdirected, or deflected by a Hamilton player, but both Denis Prychynenko and Mark Ridgers were left in no man’s land.

Hearts finally raised their game and started to see much more of the ball as the half progressed. A series of half chances were created. First Gary Oliver saw his shot blocked away for a corner when he got on the end of a cross from Sam Nicholson. Kevin McHattie then put in a dangerous ball from a free kick on the right which saw Fraser Mullen appeal for a penalty as he was eased away from the ball. Gordon Smith saw his shot from 25 yards blocked and Fraser Mullen fired the rebound over the top..

Billy King came close to putting Hearts back in front after 35 minutes when Fraser Mullen found him in space on the right and the winger cut inside to fire in a shot from 22 yards that the keeper saved well diving to his right. Brother Adam King was next to try his luck, but his shot from the corner of the box went across the face of the goal wide of the far post as Hearts went into the break on top.

Hamilton’s Andy Ryan had good chance to score after 53 minutes as he broke forward, but good back tracking and defensive work by Jordan McGhee saw the striker forced out wide.

The first yellow card of the night was given to Hamilton’s Darren Lyon after 62 minutes for yet another foul on Sam Nicholson. It was not the worst foul although Sam was left limping away, but it was probably about the eighth foul on Sam during the match and the referee clearly thought that he had to take some action to protect the player.

Denis Prychynenko took the resultant free kick from 35 yards out and forced another good stop from the keeper who dived to his left to divert the ball away for a corner.

Billy King missed a great chance to restore Hearts lead after 65 minutes when he was set up just six yards out by Scott Robinson’s cut back from the bye line, but the keeper managed to save with his legs.

Gordon Smith was replaced by Angus Beith after 74 minutes after the striker was unable to run off a knock on his thigh, with Gary Oliver moved into the striker’s role.

Gary himself came close to scoring on 83 minutes when a good Hearts move down the right ended with Adam King getting to the bye line and his cutback was forced out for a corner as Gary closed in on the ball.

That was to prove the last real chance of the match, leaving Hearts disappointed that they had been unable to take any of their chances in the second half despite their superiority.

Best for Hearts in the first half was Billy King, but Sam Nicholson deserved man of the match for his perseverance in light of numerous fouls against him and his touch and running with the ball had him back to the form he showed early in the season.

Hearts lineup

Ridgers

A King, Prychynenko, McGhee, McHattie

Robinson, Mullen, Nicholson

B King, G Smith (Beith), Oliver

Unused Subs: Hamilton, G Scott, Keegan, A Scott, M Thomson

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Hearts U20s 2-3 Dunfermline Athletic U20s

04-12-12 Hearts U20s lost out by the odd goal in five in an entertaining encounter under the lights at Tynecastle this evening. Hearts went ahead through Dale Carrick who netted from the rebound of a Denis Prychynenko free kick, only for the visitors to equalise with a fine Kerr Young header. In the second half, Alex Whittle put the Pars ahead with a curling effort from 20 yards before Fraser Mullen equalised with a stunning 25 yard free kick. The Fifers got the decisive goal following a neat turn and shot from Blair Henderson. Both side ended up with ten men after Ross Millen and Fraser Mullen were shown red cards following a fracas near the corner flag in the final minute.Hearts welcomed back Dale Carrick after Injury as a replacement for Scott Robinson and Mark Keegan replaced Kevin McHattie at left back.The game had a quiet opening and the first incident of not was the opening goal after seven minutes. Hearts won a free kick 25 yards out and Denis Prychynenko fired in a fierce dipping effort that Michal Hrivnak in the Dunfermline goal could only block away in the direction of Dale Carrick who netted the rebound from six yards.Adam King was prominent on the right and made a shooting opportunity for himself after 14 minutes but his shot from the edge of the box was deflected away for a corner.Dunfermline equalised just a minute later when Sam Nicholson gave the ball away in midfield and the ball was fed to the tricky Alex Whittle on the right who was brought down by Denis Prychynenko, at the cost of a yellow card. The resultant free kick was flighted in just behind centre back Kerr Young but he still managed to guide his header into the corner of the net for a good finish.Adam king then came close to restoring Hearts lead after 22 minutes when he fed Dale Carrick down the right channel and continued his run into the box for the return pass. His flick towards goal was gratefully shovelled away by the keeper.

Billy King was next to try his luck from 25 yards but his left foot shot was well saved by Hrivnak high to his left. Hearts were on top at this stage and Mark Keegan was next to test the keeper after 28 minutes with an angled drive from 25 yards that the keeper touched round the post.

Both sides sought to play passing football, but there were no further chances before half time and indeed Mark Ridgers hadn’t made a save in the first half.

It was all change at the start of the second half as the visitors upped their game a drove towards the Hearts goal. Dunfermline went in front with a fine finish from Alex Whittle who was allowed the time and space to drift in from the right to a central position, where he curled an exquisite shot from 20 yards out of the reach of Mark Ridgers and into the net.

Blair Henderson and Alex Whittle both went close to adding to Dunfermline’s leas a couple of minutes later as Henderson’s shot went just over the top and Mark Ridgers was forced into a diving save from Whittle.

Hearts had Mark Ridgers to thank again on the hour mark when he palmed away touched away a well struck free kick.

Against the run of play, Hearts got themselves on level terms from a free kick after 65 minutes. It was 25 yards out and slightly to the left of the goal, the ideal position for a curling effort, and what an effort it was. Fraser Mullen struck the ball sweetly into the postage stamp corner to give the keeper no chance.

Hearts were settled by the goal and proceeded to have their best spell of the second period with some nice passing moves. Billy King had a good shot on the angle go narrowly wide of the far post, before Dunfermline missed the best chance of the game when substitute Allan Smith ran in on goal, took the ball round Mark Ridgers then inexplicably missed the open goal.

The Fifer’s did go back in front on 79 minutes when Blair Henderson made a neat turn inside the box and his shot was perfectly placed just inside the post.

Hearts missed a great chance to equalise after 82 minutes after Gary Oliver and Adam King combined for the latter to send in a cross that Gordon Smith headed goalwards, but was well saved by the keeper diving to his left.

The visitors successfully managed to run down the clock until the final minute when full back Ross Millen launched a reckless challenge on Hearts substitute Angus Beith, for which he was rightly shown a straight red card. A melee followed and, after consultation with his assistant, referee Gavin Ross also showed a red card to Fraser Mullen, his second of the season.

The loss was a sore one for Hearts to take as they had competed well with a relatively inexperienced side and deserved to take something from the game.

Best for Hearts were the King brothers, with Adam the most prominent. The Pars were well served by ex Hearts U19 captain, Chris Kane who was his usual combative self.

Next up for Hearts will be a difficult game away to high flying and free scoring Dundee United next week.

Hearts lineup

Ridgers

A King, Prychynenko, McGhee, Keegan (Beith)

G Smith, Mullen, Nicholson

B King, Carrick (A Scott), Oliver

Unused Subs: Millar, G Scott, Gordon, McMillan, Ford

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Aberdeen U20s 6-1 Hearts U20s

17-12-12 Hearts slumped to their worst defeat of the season at a cold and wet Balgownie this afternoon. The young Dons starlets Cammy Smith and Declan McManus both hit hat tricks as Hearts defended poorly and lacked any threat up front. Jamie Walker scored Hearts only counter with free kick from 20 yards in the second half, but they were already four goals in arrears to a very accomplished and assured home side.This game was played at Aberdeen University’s Balgownie playing fields, but for some bizarre reason no changing facilities were available at the ground. Arrangements were made for players to get changed at Pittodrie, then bussed up to the ground for the game and back again for their shower and changing facilities. Conditions at Balgownie were not ideal with the game played in persistent rain and the surface looked under prepared as it was bumpy, sodden in patches and cut up easily, but as ever the conditions were the same for both teams.Darren Murray brought back Callum Tapping and Brad McKay after their loan spells at Alloa and Stenhousemuir respectively and gave a starting place to Elliot Ford at left back in place of the suspended Fraser Mullen.The opening minutes of the game were fairly even with Aberdeen quick to recognise the danger posed by Jamie Walker who was fouled three times in quick succession, but the referee took no further action. The game burst into life after nine minutes when a cross from the Aberdeen right was fired goalwards with Mark Ridgers making a good stop, but he was given no chance with the rebound from Cammy Smith who put the home side ahead.Hearts missed a good chance to equalise in 16 minutes when a shot looped up in the air and fell for Dale Carrick on the penalty spot. He had time to control the ball and place it in the net, but his first touch let him down and the ball ran away harmlessly for a goal kick.Hearts enjoyed a good proportion of possession as the half progressed but Aberdeen looked much more threatening in front of goal, particularly through Declan McManus. His best chance of the half came after 29 minutes when he intercepted a wayward pass from Brad McKay, but Mark Ridgers made a good save.

Denis Prychynenko had a couple of opportunities from free kick, but both attempts hit the defensive wall.;

Hearts had a let off on 32 minutes when a corner on the right was headed towards goal and Mark Ridgers could only divert the ball back to Megginson who netted from close in, but the flag was up for offside.

Adam King responded with a run into the right channel but his shot was wide off the target.;

Aberdeen doubled their lead five minutes before the break when Callum Tapping got the ball stuck under his feet and was disposed by Cammy Smith at the edge of the box. The midfielder had time and the composure to knock the ball past Ridgers with ease.

Hearts almost got a goal back just on the half time whistle, but Jamie Walkers inviting ball across the face of goal found no takers.

Darren Murray brought on Marcus McMillan for Elliot Ford at half time but the change made no difference to the flow of play. Indeed, if Hearts harboured any thought of getting back into the game then they were extinguished within two minutes of the restart with a poor piece of defending. Both centre backs decided to go for the same ball and whilke there was no immediate danger a short pass back was gathered by Declan McManus who rounded the keeper to score Aberdeen’s third. The keeper’s starting position was also poor and contributed to the growing list of defensive errors.

Denis Prychynenko had a chance to open Hearts account after 49 minutes but his header from Billy King’s corner was weak and straight at the Aberdeen keeper. Billy King then created a good opportunity for himself but delayed his shot, then decided to pass but Sam Nicholson was caught in an offside position. Jamie Walker was next to try his luck from 30 yards, but the shot went wide of the left hand upright.

On the hour mark Hearts missed their best opportunity of the game when Marcus McMillan got to the bye line a crossed low to Billy King who was unable to force the ball past the keeper from two yards.

Aberdeen for their part kept Mark Ridgers on his toes with a couple of goal line blocks following quick breaks.

Hearts were eventually made to pay for their profligacy when they conceded a fourth goal after 72 minutes. Once again it came from a defensive error. Mark Ridgers’ attempted two fisted punch only went five yards outside the area and the impressive Cammy Smith coolly chipped the ball over the defensive cover and into the unguarded net to complete his hat trick.

Jamie Walker provided Hearts with a welcome response after 77 minutes. Substitute Gary Oliver was upended 22 yards out from goal and Jamie stepped up to curl the free kick round the wall and into the corner of the net for his sixth goal of the season

Any hope Hearts had of an unlikely comeback were immediately snuffed out a minute later as Brown found himself in acres of space down the right and he had time to measure his low cross for McManus to side foot home from five yards.

Aberdeen got themselves a sixth goal from the penalty spot when Brad McKay needlessly brought down Declan McManus as he moved down the side of the box. The striker gratefully stepped up to take the penalty and complete his hat trick, which was his 12th goal of the season.

Aberdeen had a couple of late chances to add to their tally as Hearts discipline deserted them. Callum Tapping was lucky to escape with just a yellow card after a “rugby” tackle round the neck of an Aberdeen player. Darren Murray took the midfielder off to avoid further sanctions, despite having committed all three substitutes.

Aberdeen fully deserved their win with a fine team performance. They were much more direct and hungrier throughout and had two players accomplished in putting the ball in the net, something that Hearts sadly lacked.

Hearts also contributed to their own downfall with several poor defensive mistakes that made the scoreline all the more embarrassing.. There will undoubtedly be some soul searching after this result, but at least the youngsters have a month long break before their next game.

Hearts lineup

Ridgers

A King, , McKay, McGhee, Ford (McMillan)

Tapping, Prychynenko, Nicholson (Oliver)

B King, Walker, Carrick (G Scott)

Unused Subs: Millar, Keegan, Gordon, Thomson

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Youth at the Heart of the Club

31-12-12 Hearts can be proud of how their Academy and U19/U20 players have developed over the calendar year. We have seen David Smith, Jason Holt, Jamie Walker, Fraser Mullen, Kevin McHattie, Callum Paterson and Dale Carrick all played for the 1st team while Callum Tapping, Brad McKay, Sam Nicholson, Billy King, Adam King and Jack Hamilton all featured on the bench at some point. In addition David Smith, Jason Holt, Jamie Walker, Kevin McHattie, Jack Hamilton, Callum Tapping and Brad McKay have all spent time on loan at SFL clubs. A number also played their part en route to the clubs famous cup win on 19th May.There have been international caps at U21 or U19 levels for David Smith, Jason Holt, Kevin McHattie, Callum Paterson, Callum Tapping and Jack Hamilton, while Jordan McGhee, Jordan Millar, Elliot Ford, Angus Beith and Zack Williams were capped at U17 and Aaron Scott, Jack Simpson and Sam Daniel did likewise at U15/U16top

Musselburgh Ath 1-0 Hearts XI

12-01-13 A young Hearts XI lost out to a stoppage time goal in today’s friendly match at Olivebank. Despite enjoying the bulk of possession, the lack of lack of a clinical finisher was ultimately their undoing. Darren Murray took the opportunity to give some game time to the U20s and U17s ahead of the resumption of competitive matches in 10 days time in his selection that had a mix of experience and youth.Hearts started brightly and Gary Oliver tested the keeper after just 60 seconds with a shot from 20 yards. Captain for the day, Callum Tapping was next to try his luck from 30 yards after six minutes. Musselburgh had their first effort on goal after 10 minutes but Mark Ridgers saved comfortably down to his left.Hearts took control of the game as the half progressed with Callum Tapping the focal point and Sam Nicholson looking a threat in the final third. Further efforts at goal from Conor Duthie, Angus Beith, Gary Oliver, Adam King and Fraser Mullen were either just off target or straight at the keeper and the visitors dominated proceedings.In the last chance of the half, Conor Duthie headed straight at the keeper from a good cross from Gary Oliver on the left.Conor Duthie again had a good opening after 51 minutes but shot weakly straight at the keeper. On an infrequent foray upfield the home side created a chance of their own after 59 minutes, but Mark Ridgers made a good one handed save from a close in header.On the hour mark Conor created Hearts best chance thus far when he flicked the ball over the advancing keeper, but a home defender did well to get back to clear the ball before Conor could knock the ball into the net.

A series of substitutions and positional changes brought a younger flavour to the Hearts lineup and Jordan McGhee, now at left back, created and passed up on a great chance after 68 minutes as he beat his man at the edge of the box to give himself a clear sight of goal but the keeper did well to save with his legs.

As the game moved into stoppage time with draw looking inevitable, the home side got the break of the ball at the edge of the box, possibly with the aid of a handball, and Ben Miller slotted the ball past Mark Ridgers left hand and into the net for the only goal of the game.

It was a disappointing end to the match from Hearts viewpoint, which they had dominated for long spells, but their profligacy in front of goal came to haunt them.

There were good performances from Callum Tapping and youngsters Jordan McGhee and 14 year old Sean McKirdy who played very after coming on as a substitute for the last half hour.

Hearts lineup

Ridgers

McKay, Prychynenko, McGhee, Mullen (Gordon)

A King, Tapping (A Scott), Beith (McKirdy)

Duthie (G Scott), Oliver (Williams), Nicholson

Unused Subs: Millar, Keegan, Gordon, Thomson

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Spartans 3-2 Hearts U20s

21-01-13 A very young Hearts XI lost narrowly to EoS league leaders, Spartans, in an entertaining encounter at Ainslie Park. Gary Oliver put Hearts ahead after 6 minutes but Spartans levelled after 10 minutes from a Keith McLeod shot. Gary Oliver restored Hearts advantage just before the break when he capitalised on a heavy touch from the home keeper. John Ferguson evened things up again after 54 minutes before Jack Beasley scored what proved to be the winner with a fine free kick from almost 30 yards out in the 73rd minute.Hearts started brightly and went ahead after 6 minutes when Gary Oliver showed quick feet to create a yard of space before curling a left foot shot into the far corner.Spartans hit back and went close from a free kick that Millar could only parry but the keeper redeemed himself by blocking the rebound with his leg. Spartans equalised after 10 minutes when a good through ball found Keith McLeod running into in space down the left. He carried the ball into the box and slotted the ball across Millar and into the net, before the defenders could get back to him.Spartans had the better of the middle period of the first half, but Hearts gradually got back on top as the half progressed as they settled into their passing game. Hearts restored their lead after after 44 mins when the home keeper took a heavy touch as Sam Nicholson closed him down. The ball broke to Gary Oliver who had the simple task of knocking the ball into the unguarded net.Hearts probably just about deserved their half time lead with Gary Oliver and the Trialist looking the best on show.Spartans started the better in the second half and should have scored after 50 mins when Liam Gordon lost possession at the edge of the box leaving the Spartans player with a clear sight of goal, but his poor chip went past the left hand upright. Spartans did score their second equaliser after 54 minutes though when John Ferguson’s hook shot from 10 yards flew past Millar possibly with a aid of a deflection.

Spartans got their noses in front after 73 minutes from a very soft free kick 30 yards out. Jack Beasley took the set piece and fired the ball over the wall and high into the net for a fine finish.

Hearts fought back, and Sam Nicholson, Robbie Buchanan and Gary Oliver all went close but it was not to be.

Overall Hearts probably deserved a share of the spoils. Adam King came onto a good game in the second half, but I’d give my motm to Gary Oliver, for his goals and all around good technique and link up play.

Hearts lineup

Millar

L Smith (Buchanan), Gordon, McGhee, Keegan

A King, G Scott (A Scott), Trialist

Duthie (McKirdy), Oliver, Nicholson

Unused Subs: Combe, Thomson, McMillan

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New Contracts and Exits

31-01-13 Hearts have demonstrated their commitment to developing the top youth talents by extending the contracts of three of their Scotland U19 and U21 internationalists. Jack Hamilton and Dale Carrick agreed extensions until 2014 and Kevin McHattie until 2015.Hearts also intimated that Callum Wyllie, Michael Thomson, Danny Thomson and Ewan Saunderson had all been released by the club during January. Danny was a former HYDC U19 Player of the Year in season 2009/10, when he showed tremendous resilience to come back from a serious knee injury the previous season.HYDC wishes all four all the best for their future careers.top

St Johnstone U20s 2-0 Hearts U20s

12-02-13 10 man Hearts slumped to a 2-0 reverse at McDairmid Park this evening. After an uneventful first half, the game turned on a penalty decision given against Denis Prychynenko after 62 minutes for which he received his second yellow card and was sent off. Liam Caddis scored from the spot and Gwion Edwards added a second three minutes later.It was a much changed Hearts lineup at McDairmid Park for their first game back after the winter break. With four of the regular U20s having played for the first team at the weekend, it was an opportunity for some of the younger lads to show what they could do. The side wasn’t without experience though, with six having first team experience. Dylan McGowan took the captain’s armband and anchored the midfield.The early play was somewhat scrappy and not helped by a series of niggling fouls and some mysterious decisions by the main stand assistant referee. Indeed there were few of chances for either side in a disappointing first half.Kevin McHattie went closest for Hearts after 20 minutes when he worked a one two with Dale Carrick and fired in a shot on the angle that Clark in the St Johnstone goal blocked at his near post.Liam Caddis went closest for Saints after 39 minutes when he made his way into the box off the left flank but his shot was straight at Mark Ridgers.Gordon Smith had Hearts only other chance of the half a minute later as he dribbled his way into the box but his left foot shot went high and wide.

Denis Prychynenko picked up a yellow card on 45 minutes as he stopped a Saints break when he brought down an opponent by the half way line.

Hearts started off the better side in the second half and created their best chance of the night on 58 minutes. A cross from the right found Gordon Smith eight yards out, but the striker didn’t make a great connection and Clark was able to make a good diving save to his right. It was a missed chance that was to prove costly to the visitors.

In the 62nd minute Edwards eluded Denis Prychynenko on the half way line and broke clear down the right. Denis got back at the forward as he went to shoot. It looked as if Denis may have got a foot to the ball, but the referee judged it to be a penalty as Edwards tumbled to the ground. Denis was shown a second yellow leaving Hearts o play out the game with 10 men.

Liam Caddis took the penalty and his powerful strike down the middle left the diving Ridgers with no chance of making a save.

Hearts lost their discipline for a few minutes after the goal as the whole defence was caught out trying to play offside when Edwards broke clear down the middle, rounded Mark Ridgers and slotted the ball home to put Saints two up after 65 minutes. Dylan McGowan was then booked for a rather cynical foul as the home side threatened once more.

Saints were now comfortable and were content to sit in and hit Hearts on the break using the pace of Edwards and Kane up front. They should have gone three up when Caddis set up Edwards with a clear sight of goal just 10 yards out, but Mark Ridgers made a great save with his legs.

Hearts only really got their passing game going in the last fifteen minutes with the introduction of U17s, Angus Beith and Elliot Ford into the midfield, but it wa stoo little too late as the home side eased through to the final whistle.

It was a disappointing performance from Hearts, particularly in midfield and up front where they struggled to get any rhythm into their play. The best performers were in defence as Denis Prychynenko before his red card, Kevin McHattie and Brad McKay all looked solid.

Hearts lineup

Ridgers

A King McKay, Prychynenko, McHattie

G Scott (Beith), McGowan, Nicholson

Oliver (Ford) G Smith, Carrick

Unused Subs: Millar, Buchanan, McMillan

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Hearts U20s 1-1 Kilmarnock U20s

19-02-13 A battling second half performance saw Hearts come back from a goal down at the break, after a Ross Davidson counter for the visitors, to share the spoils in an entertaining match at Riccarton. Hearts goal was a stunning strike from 25 yards by Gordon Smith, and was well deserved on the flow of play. Killie ended the match with 10 men as Mark O’Hara was sent off after two second half yellows.Hearts were without Kevin McHattie and the suspended Denis Prychnenko following last week’s defeat to St Johnstone, but brought in a mix of youth and experience in Jordan McGhee and Ryan Stevenson to bolster what remain and relatively young and inexperienced side with so many of their eligible players playing first team football. Conditions at Riccarton were good with the pitch a little on the soft side.Killie fielded the experienced Gary Hay and Nigerian Rabiu Ibrahim who was signed from Celtic last month.The first chance of the match fell to Gordon Smith after eight minutes when an Ryan Stevenson cross found him in space at the back post. However Anssi Jaakkola in the Killie goal reacted quickly to block the shot.The game was very much end to end, but Kilmarnock looked a little more threatening in the final third, with Ibrahim looking very comfortable on the ball.The visitors finally went ahead after 26 minutes with a well worked goal. Ross Davidson played the ball out to Fisher on the right and made his way into the box to receive the return pass 16 yards out. The striker swivelled and shot in one movement and his strike across the face of goal left Mark Ridgers with no chance.

The other notable incident in the first half came after Ryan Stevenson reacted to a nasty looking challenge from Ibrahim. The little Nigerian received a yellow card for the challenge and Stevenson escaped with just a talking to from the referee.

The second half started with Hearts very much on the front foot and pushing the visitors onto the defensive. Dale Carrick put in a good ball from the right on 52 minutes to find Sam Nicholson at the edge of the box. Who fired in a left foot shot the the keeper touched round the post for a corner. Gary Oliver was next to get a shot on target but his effort was too weak to trouble Jaakkola.

Gordon Smith then missed a great chance to level matters on the hour mark when a Ryan Stevenson free kick found him unmarked in the box but he couldn’t get even the slightest touch that would surely have beaten the goalkeeper.

Adam King put in a couple of good crosses that went unrewarded as Hearts continued to press. Killie’s response was a speculative effort from 25 yards that Mark Ridgers shuffled away for a corner, then Brad McKay made a timely intervention as a through ball was deflected of George Scott into the path of a Killie striker.

On 77 minutes a good passing move from back to front and involving most of the Hearts outfield players ended with Sam Nicholson again testing the keeper from the edge of the box.

Hearts finally got their reward after 79 minutes when Dylan McGowan won the ball on the halfway line and Dale Carrick play ed the ball onto Gordon Smith who drove forward, winning a challenge, then firing in a tremendous shot from 22 yards into the top corner of the net. It was no more than Hearts deserved on their second half performance.

Killie almost restored their advantage a minute later when a shot from substitute Jude Winchester brought an excellent save from Mark Ridgers diving full length to his left.

Kilmarnock went down to 10 men after 81 minutes when Mark O’Hara received a second yellow card after stopping Gordon Smith in his tracks.

Hearts sensed the opportunity to take all three points as they pressed forward, but it was Kilmarnock who went closest in the final minute, when Winchester again got in a left foot shot that Ridgers finger-tipped just over the bar.

Hearts were a little disappointed at the final whistle not to take the win, but it was a good performance overall and an entertaining match to watch. There were several good performances on the Hearts side with the defence looking solid and McKay and McGowan the best of the bunch.

Hearts lineup

Ridgers

A King McKay, McGowan, McGhee

Stevenson, G Scott, G Smith

Oliver Carrick, Nicholson

Unused Subs: Hamilton, McMillan, Ford, A Scott, L Smith, Buchanan

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HYDC held their annual “not just a burns supper” on Friday 22 February

22-02-13 – Over 220 attended and enjoyed a fantastic nights entertainment. All of the music and poetry were provided by “The Poosie Nansie Burns Club”A tremendous Immortal Memory was given by Iain McSporran, The Toast to the Lassies was given by Jimmy Graham and for the first time ever there was a reply for the Lassies given by Lesley Fraser.The silent auction that included one of Ryan McGowans Scottish Cup Final Strips raised a fantastic over £2400.Also in attendance were John McGlynn and Gary Locke from the Hearts management team.The evening hosted by HYDC Chairman Calum Robertson was a huge success and HYDC wish to extend thanks to all the performers as well as all who attended.

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HYDC Fundraising

22-02-13 HYDC are indebted once more to the generosity of Tollcross Hearts Supporters club for their latest fantastic donation of £1450 which was presented to HYDC at the “Not Just a Burns Supper” event.top

Falkirk U20s 0-2 Hearts U20s

06-03-13 Hearts got back to winning ways with a comfortable win over Falkirk at a chilly Forthbank tonight with a goal in each half from Billy King and Dale Carrick who scored from the rebound of his own penalty. Falkirk ended the match with nine men after Ryan McGeever was shown a straight red after felling Sam Nicholson as he ran in on goal at the penalty incident then Iain Flannigan was sent off with a couple of minutes left when he got a second yellow for a foul on Billy King.Darren Murray made a number of changes to the starting line-up with so many eligible players involved with the first team and with important matches coming up. Jack Hamilton was given the goalkeeper’s jersey while Angus Beith slotted in at left back and David Smith returned to the side following his loan spell with Raith Rovers. With Robbie Neilson taking the home side and Stevie Fulton watching his kids from the stand it felt more like a home game. Scotland coach, Ricky Sbragia, was also watching proceedings.Both sides are known to try to keep possession of the ball and the early play reflected that, but with few chances created at either end.Hearts first chance came after 7 minutes but Sam Nicholson’s shot from 25 yards was weak. Billy King effort from the same distance on 10 minutes was well struck, but deflected just past the post for a corner. A good passing movement after 13 minutes found Sam Nicholson in the clear 10 yards out but the flag had gone up for offside.Falkirk’s first real threat came after 18 minutes when Ryan Blair on the left beat a couple of defenders hand his dangerous low cross just eluded the onrushing forwards. Blair was proving a handful in the early part of the game and it was a good tussle with Adam King.On 27 minutes a Billy King cross from the right created a chance for Sam Nicholson beyond the back post but his effort was defected wide. Two minutes later the same pair combined ahead with Sam Nicholson this time the provider, setting up an angled shot for Billy King 12 yards out that he drilled low and hard across the keeper and just inside the far post to give Hearts a deserved lead.

A terrific run forward from Angus Beith and a bit of good skill from Gary Oliver almost created an opening, but the latter’s shot was block as Hearts sought to extend their advantage.

Falkirk lost Dale Fulton to injury just before the break forcing a reshuffle at the back.

The home side started the second half a bit better and had their first effort on target of the game after 48 minutes when Iain Flannigan shot from 25 yards, but Jack Hamilton stretched up to gather the ball above his head. Four minutes later, another effort at goal just went wide of Jack Hamilton’s upright as Falkirk look the likelier side to score.

However the game was settled as a contest on the hour mark, when Hearts broke forward with swift exchange of passes which left Sam Nicholson with a clear sight of goal, only to be felled in the box by Ryan McGeever before he could get a shot off. The defender was injured in the process, but after lengthy treatment was shown a straight red card for a professional foul as he was helped off the field. Iain Flannigan was also shown a yellow for his protest at the red card.

Dale Carrick stepped forward to take the spot kick, but it was hit too close to the keeper, but the ball rebounded back to the Hearts striker and he netted with some relief.

Hearts failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage, despite enjoying the bulk of possession. Billy King showed some good footwork but his fine cross from the bye line had no takers. Another good cross from substitute Marcus McMillan saw Graham Bowman in the Falkirk goal gather well under pressure from Sam Nicholson.

Falkirk still pushed forward winning a couple of corners, but found Brad McKay and Denis Prychynenko immoveable objects at the back.

With just two minutes left Falkirk went down to nine men when Iain Flannigan received a second yellow for a foul on Billy King.

A minute later Dale Carrick struck the post with a good strike from 12 yards, but that was as close as Hearts had got since the second goal. As the ball was cleared Gary Oliver and Billy King tackled one another as they went for the loose ball, leaving Billy to limp off injured.

Full time followed soon after, leaving Hearts with a comfortable if unspectacular win. Their main concern was again their inability to turn good possession into shots at goal, particularly after Falkirk had gone down to 10 men.

Best for Hearts were Brad McKay who was immaculate at the back and Billy King who was Hearts biggest threat going forward.

Hearts lineup

Hamilton

A King McKay, Prychynenko, Beith

D Smith, G Scott (McMillan), Nicholson

B King (Buchanan), Oliver, Carrick

Unused Subs: Ridgers, Keegan, Gordon

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Hearts U20s 1-1 Inverness CT U20s

21-03-13 Hearts and Inverness CT shared the spoils in a hard fought encounter at Tynecastle this afternoon. Hearts went ahead early on with a Brad McKay header from an Adam King Corner, before Kyle Whyte equalised midway through the first half when he knocked in a low cross from Phil Roberts.Darren Murray made a number of changes from the recent win over Falkirk with several players away on international duty. However, he was able to welcome back Jamie Hamill who returned to competitive football after a year out due to injury. Jamie played as an overage player at right back, with Adam King in midfield.Hearts made the best possible start going ahead after just three minutes, when Adam King’s corner from the right was headed home by Brad McKay at the back post, with the keeper helpless.Two minutes later, Dale Carrick latched onto a pass from Jamie Hamill but saw his shot blocked by a defender with the keeper again beaten, as Hearts looked to press home their advantage.Inverness responded after 11 minutes when Phil Roberts cut inside Jamie Hamill but saw his shot blocked by Brad McKay. Back came Hearts on 14 minutes with a spectacular hooked volley by Sam Nicholson from a Jamie Hamill cross. It might have been a goal of the season contender had it gone a yard either side of Scott Matheson in the visitors’ goal.The game continued to ebb and flow and Caley’s centre forward Kyle Whyte saw a flicked header go narrowly wide from a Phil Roberts cross, before Liam Polworth saw his shot from 25 yards tipped over the bar by Mark Ridgers, as the visitors started to get the better of the midfield exchanges.

Caley did get themselves back on level terms after 24 minutes when good work down the right by Phil Roberts saw him beat Denis Prychynenko near the bye line and his low cross was turned into the net by Kyle Whyte from six yards.

Hearts best passing movement of the game came on 28 minutes and produced a chance for Callum Tapping 22 yards out, but his dipping shot just cleared the crossbar.

After 34 minutes a quick break by Caley saw Kyle Whyte again get a sight of goal with Mark Ridgers off his line but his attempted lofted shot went over the top.

A minute before the break Scott Matheson made a fine save from a Denis Prychynenko free kick from 30 yards out that was destined for the top corner.

The half time whistle blew with the sides level in what was a fair reflection of the play and the chances created.

The second half play started pretty scrappily, with the first incident of note coming after 58 minutes when an angled strike by Jordon Gibbons was well save by Mark Ridgers at his near post. A minute later at the other end, a deflected cross by Sam Nicholson was just missed by Jordan McGhee at the far post. Jamie Hamill was next to try his luck from 25 yards with the keeper nervously blocking the shot away by his left hand upright, but the Caley stopper did better to stop Dale Carrick’s strike from the rebound.

Jamie Hamill’s day was done after 71 minutes when he was substituted by Marcus McMillan. It was a decent performance after such a long lay-off and, after a nervy start, his play improved as the match progressed.

In the last quarter there were a number of chances at either end as Nick Ross shot wide and Mark Rigers twice parried shots from Kyle Whyte after both Denis Prychynenko and Dale Carrick lost possession. At the other end Adam King shot straight at the keeper from 25 yards, before Gordon Smith headed just past the post from a great cross by Callum Tapping.

With just four minutes left a good run and shot from Callum Tapping saw Scott Matheson make a good diving stop down to his left. The last chance of the match came in stoppage time when a Sam Nicholson pass set uo Gordon Smith 10 yards out but his shot was again beaten away superbly by the keeper.

The final whistle went with the scores still level. Hearts had probably just about shaded the second half, but in reality a draw was a fair result in a highly competitive game.

Best for Hearts were Brad McKay at the back and Callum Tapping who finished the game strongly driving forward from midfield.

Hearts lineup

Ridgers

Hamill (McMillan) McKay, Prychynenko, McGhee

A King, Tapping, G Scott (Keegan)

Carrick Nicholson G Smith

Unused Subs: Millar, Gordon, Buchanan

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Scotland U15s

24-03-13 Congratulations to Hearts Leon Jones and Sean McKirdy on their Scotland debuts when they both started against Germany on 20th March in the “Bruno De Marchi” international tournament in Italy. The four team tournament involved Germany, Russia, Scotland and the hosts Italy, thus was a difficult challenge for the Scots, given that the team was devoid of any players from Celtic whose priority was to take part in the NIKE Cup for clubs’ U15 sides.Leon’s and Sean’s selection confirms their places at 66 and 67 in the Academy’s roll of honour of international youth caps since the Academy opened in 2004.Unfortunately Scotland lost their opening match 0-2 to the Germans.Both players also played a part in the second game on 22nd March, against the hosts Italy in which the Scots gained a creditable 2-2 draw. Leon started the game and had the honour of captaining his country and had an assist for Scotland’s opening goal. Sean came on as a second half substituteScotland’s final game against Russia on 24th March ended 0-0. Again both players started the match.Scotland finished in 4th place in the tournament but it was a creditable performance against such opposition. Indeed, Mark Wotte, Performance Director at the SFA was enthused by the results.

MCWotte ‏@MarkWotte 20 Mar

Final score Scotland U15’s – Germany 0-2 valuable experience, some reality check too,Germans very quick and smart in every line

MCWotte ‏@MarkWotte 22 Mar

Great result for the U15’s to draw Italy in Italy by goals of Ali Coote and Charlie Gilmour! Well done lads,Scott Booth+ staff

MCWotte ‏@MarkWotte 24 Mar

Final score Russia – Scotland U15 0-0 well done boys !

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Hearts U20s 2-0 Ross County U20s

25-03-13 Hearts cruised to a comfortable two goal victory at Riccarton this afternoon, with a first half counter from Dale Carrick who scored from from close in after Billy King’s shot was parried by the keeper, then in the second half Jamie Hamill scored from the spot after Callum Tapping was barged to the ground after a surging run forward.Darren Murray made three changes to the side that drew with Inverness CT last week. Mark Ridgers and Gordon Smith dropped out and were replaced by Jack Hamilton and Billy King on their return from international duty while George Scott dropped to the bench as Angus Beith came into the side. Jamie Hamill continued at right back as he seeks match fitness after his long layoff.After a scrappy start to the match Hearts settled the better and made their first opportunity after ten minutes when Dale Carrick made a good run down the right, but Callum Tapping couldn’t find the target from his cross. Brad Mckay was next to try his luck after 14 minutes when he shot just wide following an Adam King corner.Hearts created a good opening after 25 minutes with a sharp passing movement that ended with Jordan McGhee playing a neat one-two with Dale Carrick at the edge of the box, but shot narrowly over the bar.On 32 minutes Sam Nicholson made a good run the started in his own half as he cut inside from the left, but his 25 yard effort just missed the right hand upright and Hearts continued to dominate proceedings.Hearts eventually went ahead after 34 minutes. Adam King fed his brother Billy on the right who cut inside and fired in a powerful left footed shot that the keeper could only beat away to the feet of Dale Carrick who netted from close range.

Sam Nicholson almost doubled Hearts lead after 41 minutes but his shot on the stretch from another Dale Carrick cross again shaved the post.

County almost got on terms in the last minute of the half when Denis Prychynenko played a loose pass out of defence straight to Alex Cooper who fired in a shot across the face of the goal but just past Jack Hamilton’s right hand post.

The second half started in much the same scrappy way as the first and it took until the 61st minute for Angus Beith to get Hearts first attempt of note with a right foot shot from 20 yards that the keeper took well above his head.

A surging run forward from Callum Tapping set up Hearts second goal after 65 minutes, when he was barged in the back as he moved into the box. It was a stonewall penalty for which County’s Ross MacKillop was rightly yellow carded. Jamie Hamill stepped up to take the spot kick and, although it wasn’t the most convincing of strikes, was good enough to score and put Hearts into the comfort zone.

As the weather worsened and the snow flurries made spectating uncomfortable watching, good play became more sporadic. Hearts made three decent chances in the last 12 minutes as first Billy King shot wide after a swift passing movement from one end of the pitch to the other. Denis Prychynenko and Brad McKay, from the rebound, both headed straight at Sean McCarthy in the County goal following an Adam King corner. Their last chance came as the full backs combined with a great cross from substitute Marcus McMillan was met by Jordan McGhee at the back post, but his shot was too close to the keeper who saved well.

The visitors only shot on target came in the final minute as Gordon Finlayson shot from a tight angle on the right, but Jack Hamilton saved well.

Overall it was a good performance from a young Hearts side an dwill set thgem up nicely for next week’s derby away to Hibs.

The King brothers were best for Hearts in the first half and Callum Tapping had a good second period. Jordan McGhee was excellent as a stand in left back, but Brad McKay was my man of the match for a strong defensive performance and was an assured presence throughout the game.

Hearts lineup

Hamilton

Hamill (McMillan) McKay, Prychynenko, McGhee

Tapping, A King, Beith (Keegan)

B King, Carrick (Oliver), Nicholson

Unused Subs: Millar, Scott, Gordon

Scotland U21 3-0 Luxembourg U21

25-03-13 By Kenny Crawford BBC Scotland at St Mirren ParkScotland Under 21s opened their Euro 2015 qualifying campaign with a win over Luxembourg at St Mirren Park.Lewis Toshney saw his half-volley hit the post before Jamie Walker’s sublime volley put Scotland ahead on the stroke of half-time. Celtic striker Tony Watt thumped home a second-half indirect free-kick after Luxembourg goalkeeper Steve Pfeiffer picked up a back pass. And Toshney added a third late on after Pfeiffer fumbled Ryan Fraser’s cross.Scotland’s victory was comfortable but it took them until first-half injury time to break down stubborn opponents and sterner tests lie ahead against the Netherlands, Slovakia and Georgia for a place at the finals in Czech Republic in two years’ time.There was an early scare for Billy Stark’s side, with Toshney and goalkeeper Jordan Archer leaving a long ball to each other which almost allowed Luxembourg forward David Turpel to take advantage. But central midfield pair Fraser Fyvie and Stuart Bannigan soon settled into a passing rhythm with team-mates which often reached over 20 exchanges without a Luxembourg touch.The ever-impressive Stuart Armstrong played just behind striker Watt in a 4-4-1-1 formation, and it was a rare occasion if the Dundee United midfielder was not involved in something of attacking promise for the hosts. Indeed, it was Armstrong who first set up Walker for a deflected effort wide before he himself struck past the post with a low drive that stayed hit until it met the advertising boards.

Toshney, in front of Dundee manager John Brown who was in the stands, showed a cute touch with a side-foot curler on the half-volley which Pfeiffer turned onto the post.

Hearts midfielder Walker went one better on the stroke of half-time, though, connecting wonderfully on the volley with a ball dropping out of the air to steer it into the far corner from the edge of the box.

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HYDC Defibrillator Purchase

29-12-2013 The fundraising carried out by HYDC is always put to good use at the Academy. The latest purchase by HYDC is no exception, with defibrillators being supplied for each of the Academy age groups.The ongoing good health and safety of the youngsters at the Academy is every bit as important as their footballing development. The availability of such devices will provide parents with the assurance that should the unthinkable occur then the staff at the Academy will have the best equipment readily available. The story was covered in the Edinburgh Evening News on 29th March.HEARTS youth academy teams now have their own heart defibrillators after the Hearts Youth Development Committee paid over £3000 to provide new equipment.The HYDC handed over the defibrillators at Riccarton yesterday, prompted by one of their own committee members being brought back to life by one of the machines last year.Ron MacNeill suffered a cardiac arrest and had to have his heartrate maintained by a defibrillator, which applies electrical therapy to help the heart re-establish a steady rhythm. It ultimately saved his life. When HYDC chairman Calum Robertson approached Hearts to suggest each age-group team be issued with one, the club instantly agreed.The HYDC supports all Riccarton youth teams from under-11s upwards and has issued each group with a defibrillator to take to all matches. “We wanted all the academy teams to be covered by one,” explained Robertson. “Obviously, what happened to Fabrice Muamba brought it to light, but Ron actually died and was brought back by a defibrillator last year. That made us think about it.

“This helps the academy teams but it may help a parent or even a grandparent on the touchline. We know there are defibrillators at the academy, but some of our youth teams have to play in public parks at times and they may not have those facilities there. This way each team can take the defibrillators with them when they’re away from home. We have a responsibility to all academy teams, home and away.

“We thought it was a good investment. It wasn’t something Hearts asked us for, it was out committee who went to the club with the proposal and they thought it was a great idea. It’s nice for us to give them something to prove it’s not just football equipment or analysis equipment. We can spend money on a wide variety of things. It shows that we have a say as well, rather than just what the academy director wants.”

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Hibernian U20s 2-2 Hearts U20s

02-04-13 Hearts paid the penalty for failing to defend set pieces as they were twice pulled back to level terms after going ahead. After a non-event of a first half, Hearts went ahead with a sweet strike from Dale Carrick, before Jordon Forster equalised with a header from a corner on the right. Billy King fired Hearts ahead again, but a deja vu experience saw Robert Wilson head home from another corner on the right.Darren Murray brought back experience to the side for the second derby of the season, at Linlithgow Rose’s Prestonfield ground, with Jason Holt, David Smith and Gordon Smith all restored to the side and Jamie Hamill continuing on the comeback trail.The first half was notable only for a lack of quality from both sides, where chances were at a premium and both sides were guilty of giving the ball away. In terms of chances Hearts were limited to a couple of free kicks from Denis Prychynenko, one against the wall and the other that was hit straight at the keeper. Denis also blasted another chance over the bar when a corner fell to him 15 yards out.Hibs probably had the edge on territory and first half chances but their shooting was wayward, with David Paul, Jay Doyle, Danny Handling and Dean Horribine all missing the target.Hearts started the second half with Angus Beith replacing Jamie Hamill. Angus slotted in at left back while his U17 teammate Jordan McGhee switch to right back.Hearts opened the scoring on 51 minutes after Jason Holt turned at the edge of the box and slipped a neat pass into the path of Dale Carrick who drilled a low shot from 12 yards across the keeper and into the corner of the net. It was dale’s sixth goal of the season and puts him level with Jamie Walker at the top of the U20 scoring chart.

Hibs should have levelled just a minute later when Danny Handling found himself in a similar position to Dale Carrick earlier, but his shot cannoned back off Jack Hamilton’s right hand upright.

Jack Hamilton made a good stop after 58 minutes when a well worked Hibs move from right to left created space for a shot from David Paul but Jack dived to his left to make a good save. However, Hibs did get on level terms a minute later when Jordon Forster scored with a header from a corner on the right.

Hearts restored their advantage after 65 minutes with a simple passing movement following a quick throw in on the right. Dale Carrick had the time and space to square the ball to Billy King just eight yards from goal and the striker took a touch before firing the ball high into the net for his fifth goal of the season.

Hibs might have levelled on 71 minutes with a powerful Danny Handling shot on target that Jack Hamilton did well to divert over the top for a corner. Hearts failed to learn their lesson about defending set pieces when Robert Wilson equalised with a free header from the resultant corner. It was poor defensive play from the Hearts defence to allow both centre backs to score with headers from corners.

After 73 minutes Jack Hamilton was almost caught out with an in-swinging free kick from Ryan Baptie down by his left hand post but he managed to scramble the ball away at the second attempt.

Ross Caldwell was next to miss a good chance when he shot over the top from the edge of the box as Hibs enjoyed their best spell of play in the match.

Hearts his back and a sliced clearance following an Adam King corner on the right hit the bar and went over the top for another corner.

The game rather fizzled out in the later stages with both sides appearing content with a share of the spoils. In the later stages Angus Beith showed some good defensive qualities first to break up a quick break by the home side and to set up a counter attack, then put in a good block on a Danny Handling shot, all that after being booked for a late challenge on the Hibs number seven.

The full time whistle went with the scores lever, which was probably a fair result, although Hibs maybe had the edge on chances. Hearts would reflect on the poor defending for the two goals conceded and no doubt that will feature in the video analysis and training over the next few days.

Jason Holt looked to have the most quality on show but flitted in and out the game while Angus Beith finished the game well after a difficult start.

Hearts lineup

Hamilton

Hamill (Beith) McKay, Prychynenko, McGhee

Holt, A King, D Smith

B King, G Smith(Nicholson), Carrick

Unused Subs: Millar, Keegan, G Scott, Oliver, Gordon

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HYDC Thanks to Alex Wallace

04-04-13 Hearts Youth Development in conjunction with Jambos Kickback held a special draw and wish to thank everyone who took part and contributed to the funds raised for the Youth at Hearts Academy.All the prize winners have been contacted and notified of the prizes and when they will be dispatched and received.Mr Alex Wallace (or flecktimus on JKB) was the winner of a” Fourball of Golf” at Uphall Golf Course, but due to business commitments, Alex has handed the prize to HYDC to raise further funding for the Academy.HYDC are very grateful to Alex for his very generous donation and his original entry fee to the Prize Draw.Alex finds his time for leisure pursuits limited as he runs Glenbank House Hotel in Jedburgh. HYDC wish Alex every success with this venture.Alex Jones

HYDC Treasurer

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HYDC Young Player of the Year 2012/13

06-04-12 Around 270 people attended this year’s HYDC Young Player of the Year Awards Dinner at The Gorgie Suite where the main accolade went to Jamie Walker.The guests were treated treated to fine three course meal and were entertained by master of ceremonies Scott Wilson and after dinner speakers, Alan Rough and Steve Kindon, in addition to being able to congratulate the young talent that will be key to the future of the club.Alan Rough entertained the audience, reminiscing about his goal-keeping experiences with Scotland and facing Brazil in the World Cup, although it was no surprise that he didn’t dwell to much on his time with the “wee team”.Steve Kindon provided a refreshingly humorous piece recollecting his experiences with clubs in the North of England and his thoughts on the legendary George Best amongst others. Steve was also self deprecating about his own speech impediment.The awards themselves went to Angus Beith at U17, Callum Tapping at U20 and Jamie Walker as the Overall Young Player of the year.The George Nicolson Special Recognition award went to U14 coach Gary Stoddart who has been recovering from serious illness.

A raffle and the auction of Liverpool strips signed by Steven Gerrard and Louis Suarez raised welcome funds for HYDC coffers.

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Hearts U20s 3-1 St Mirren U20s

09-04-13 Hearts showed great courage and determination at Riccarton, against a well motivated St Mirren side, to bounce back from the early setback of going behind to a penalty after just three minutes. Second half goals, from David Smith, Sam Nicholson and a trademark free kick from Denis Prychynenko saw a young Hearts side take the three points. It was a very competitive game played by two sides who sought to pass the ball and play at a high tempo which helped make the game an entertaining spectacle.With the unavailability of a number of key players who either played for the first team on Saturday or were away on international duty, Darren Murray made a tactical change playing 3-5-2, with three centre backs in McGowan, Prychnenko and McGhee. Mark Keegan and Marcus McMillan were given rare starts against a young St Mirren side for whom keeper Grant Adam was their only overage player.Hearts got off to the worst possible start, going behind after just three minutes. Left back Sean Kelly pushed forward and beat David Smith close to the corner flag before making his way along the bye line when he was tugged back by Dylan McGowan. The referee gave the penalty and Adam Brown set Mark Ridgers the wrong way to put the visitors ahead.Hearts first decent effort came in the 14th minute when Denis Prychynenko tried his luck from 30 yards. Grant Adam seemed to be uncertain of the movement of the ball and was grateful to parry it away to safety.Hibs probably had the edge on territory and first half chances but their shooting was wayward, with David Paul, Jay Doyle, Danny Handling and Dean Horribine all missing the target.St Mirren then saw a free kick from 25 yard just go wide of the Mark Ridgers right hand post. Gordon Smith responded with a good run across the field from left to right but shot weakly past the post from a promising position.

In the 28th minute, good link up play from Sam Nicholson and Gary Oliver set up a good chance for Gordon Smith, but Adam made a good save diving to his left. Three minutes late a fine pass from Angus Beith created an opening for Gary Oliver but he too shot weakly when put under pressure by a defender.

David Smith then set up another chance for Gordon Smith but again Grant Adam came to Saints rescue with another good stop.

Half time came with score unchanged. Hearts would have been disappointed not to be back on level terms, but the visitors had worked their socks off in closing down their opponents.

Marcus McMillan incurred the wrath of the referee two minutes into the second half with a cynical challenge from behind for which the Hearts youngster received a deserved yellow card. However Marcus almost redeemed himself with a good delivery from a free kick into the box that Gordon Smith headed narrowly wide.

St Mirren missed an good opportunity to double their lead after 54 minutes but Mark Ridgers did well to divert a shot from Anton Brady just wide of the post. Saints were to rue the missed chance as they were pegged back just after the hour mark. Denis Prychynenko played a long ball forward that David Smith chased down with the last defender. A bit of indecision by the advancing Grant Adam allowed David Smith to get a toe to the ball and lift the ball over the head of the keeper and into the net.

Hearts turned the game on its head three minutes later when a perfectly played Gary Oliver pass found Gordon Smith with a clear view of goal, but his mis-hit shot came off the left hand upright. Sam Nicholson was alert to the rebound a smashed in a shot from the corner of the six yard box into the opposite corner of the net to put Hearts ahead.

Hearts were now well on top and should have extended their lead after 70 minutes. Gordon Smith again brought out a good stop from the keeper, but Gary Oliver saw his shot from the rebound cannon off the crossbar, then substitute Aaron Scott blazed over from the second rebound.

In the 73rd minute Gordon Smith turned supplier to Sam Nicholson, who saw his well struck left foot shot again well saved by Adam in the Saints goal.

Denis Prychynenko gave the Saints keeper another warning after 85 minutes with a shot from 25 yards that struck the crossbar. However with three minutes left, the warning wasn’t heeded as David Smith was fouled 20 yards out. Grant Adam’s positioning seemed to leave a bit too much of an opening at the side of goal he was meant to be guarding and Denis made him pay with a hard and low shot just inside the post to give the score a better reflection on the game overall.

It was a good spectacle as both sides sought to play football. Best for Hearts were Denis Prychynenko at the back and my man of the match Same Nicholson, whose work rate, touch and pace were excellent throughout.

Hearts team:

Ridgers

McGowan, Prychynenko, McGhee

D Smith, Beith, Nicholson, G Smith, McMillan (A Scott)

Keegan (G Scott) Oliver

Unused Subs Millar, Gordon, Buchanan, L Smith, Ford

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Hearts U20s 3-3 Dundee U20s

11-04-13 Hearts left Tynecastle disappointed after they squandered a two goal advantage in the first half then conceded an equaliser with the last touch of the ball at Tynecastle tonight. Arvydas Novikovas had put the young Jambos ahead with a fine strike from 25 yards and Sam Nicholson doubled the lead with a low shot just inside the left had post, before Andy Barrowman cut the deficit and Graham Webster levelled with a shot from 25 yards that went in off the post in an entertaining first half. Denis Prychynenko restored Hearts advantage from close in after 75 minutes, but Kevin Buchan headed home a late late equaliser for the visitorsThis was the second of four fixtures for the U20s in nine days so Darren Murray made several changes to rotate his personnel. He welcomed back three from their visit to Serbia with Scotland U19s and swapped overage players with Jamie Hamill back in at right back and gave Arvydas Novikovas his first appearance with the U20s.The early going was fairly even as Dundee threatened with a dangerous cross in the first 30 seconds while Hearts responded with a David Smith shot straight at the keeper. Arvydas Novikovas then nicked the ball off the fingertips of Alex Baird to set up a chance for Gary Oliver but a defender got back to aid the keeper.In 15 minutes Hearts should have gone one up when Arvydas Novikovas got to the bye line and again found Gary Oliver with the cut back. The strikers shot, however, was hit straight at the keeper. The opening goal was delayed only by five minutes, and what a goal it was. Arvydas Novikovas picked the ball up on the right, skipped past two defenders, cut inside and unleashed a curling shot from 25 yards high past the keeper’s outstretched right hand.Hearts doubled their lead in 23 minute, this time on the counter. Billy King picked the ball up at the edge of his own area before driving forward at pace before slipping a pass to Sam Nicholson who hit his shot early from 20 yards just inside the left hand upright.Two minutes later Dundee should have got one back as Hearts goal had an amazing escape. A cross from the right was headed goalwards by Andy Barrowman only for Jack Hamilton to make a great save. Denis Prychynenko then blocked the follow up from Craig Wighton, before Graham Webster found the outstretch leg of Jack Hamilton block the ball on the line before it was scrambled clear.

Hearts luck ran out after 26 minutes when another Mark Stewart cross from the right was swept into the net with a first time shot from Andy Barrowman.

Hearts then conceded a couple of free kicks around the edge of the box and, in the 35th minute Kevin Buchan struck one from 25 yards off the crossbar with Jack Hamilton beaten.

Dundee got the equaliser they deserved after 40 minutes with another well struck effort from 25 yards by Graham Webster that went in off the post to put the visitors level.

Both sides had half chances to go ahead before the break, but the score remained level at the break.

Hearts started the second half positively with David Smith forcing the keeper into a good stop at his near post after 48 minutes. Billy King then started to get success running at the Dundee defence with pace, both on the outside and inside leaving the defenders floundering.

Denis Prychynenko went close with a header from an Adam King corner just after the hour mark then David Smith again tested the keeper with a snap shot from the edge of the box.

Another great run and cross from Billy King after 69 minutes saw Arvydas Novikovas volley the ball just over the bar as Hearts continued to dominate. Two minutes later Sam Nicholson then brought out a fine save from Alex Baird with a turn and shot from outside the box. From the resultant corner Hearts regained the lead as the ball was played to Arvydas Novikovas who crossed for Denis Prychynenko at the back post to bundle the ball over the line from three yards out.

Billy King then had another couple of good runs down the left, cutting in onto his right foot and getting off decent efforts, the second of which brought an exceptional diving save from the Dundee keeper.

Hearts were to rue their profligacy in front of goal in the final minute when a lack of concentration in the middle of the defence and then failure to stop a cross from the left led to Kevin Buchan heading home an equaliser that was scarcely deserved on the second half performance.

It was hugely disappointing result after twice being ahead but it was generally a good performance, particularly from Adam King in central midfield, but he was outshone by his brother Billy who was unplayable at times with his pace and craft on the left. With a bit of luck he may have scored a couple of goals himself.

Hearts team:

Hamilton

Hamill, Prychynenko, McGhee, Beith (McMillan)

D Smith, A King, Nicholson

Novikovas, Oliver (G Scott), B King

Unused Subs Millar, Gordon, Keegan, A Scott, L Smith

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Motherwell U20S 1-1 Hearts U20s

16-04-13 Hearts and Motherwell shared the spoils at a windy Fir Park this evening. Despite having the better of the first period chances, Hearts went behind after 36 minutes to a fine strike from 25 yards by Sean Higgenbotham which went in off the left hand post. The second half was a mirror image of the first half as Motherwell had the better of the chances, but it was Billy King who levelled matters for Hearts in the 86th minute with a shot from 15 yards. There was also time for an excellent cameo appearance by Sean McKirdy who came on for the last 20 minutes. Sean only turned 15 four days ago.Hearts again made a number of personnel and positional changes as Hearts faced their third of four game in a nine day period with a young side bolstered by Mark Ridgers, Dylan McGowan, Denis Prychynenko and Gordon Smith as overage players. Motherwell, however, fielded a side with a number of players having had several first team appearances including, Cummins, Saunders, Carswell and Higgenbotham.The worst of the gale force winds from earlier in the day had thankfully eased a bit by the time of the kick-off at Fir Park as Hearts started off the better side and were quickly on the offensive.The first half chance came after seven minutes As Jordan McGhee overlapped down the right and cut the ball back but Gordon Smith’s effort was blocked by Steven Saunders. A closer call came on 13 minutes when Jordan McGhee fed Billy King whose shot from 20 yards beat the keeper, but unluckily rebounded back of the crossbar.Jordan McGhee was next to try his luck after 20 minutes but his effort went over the top. Motherwell’s responses to date were limited to a couple of Bob McHugh efforts, one of which was blocked and the other sailed over the bar.Hearts missed a great opportunity after 22 minutes when Dave Smith made progress down the right and his low cross found Sam Nicholson coming in at the back post but his effort was blazed just wide of the upright.

Adam Cummins was yellow carded in the 29th minute for a cynical pull on Billy King as he made his way towards the box. From the resultant free kick, Lee Hollis in the Motherwell goal made a good stop from Denis Prychynenko’s low shot past the wall.

Motherwell finally got a foothold in the game after 35 minutes with a period of pressure that culminated with a Paul McCafferty shot over the bar. A minute later the home side did take their opportunity when Sean Higginbothan picked up a loose ball 30 yards out, and stepped forward to drive a shot from 25 yards into the net, in-off the left hand post, to put the home side ahead against the run of play.

Shortly afterwards, Hearts lost Gordon Smith with an ankle knock to be replaced by Gary Oliver.

Hearts almost got on level terms just before the break when David Smith was played in by Billy King, but his shot was partially blocked by the keeper and Adam Cummins was able to get back to clear the ball off the line.

The half time whistle went with Hearts disappointed to be behind after dominating much of the half and the chances, but the Motherwell goal was a fine strike from Higginbotham.

Hearts created the first chance of the second half after 51 minutes when Gary Oliver supplied a pass to David Smith but his shot from the edge of the box was wide of the target.

A minute later, Fraser Kerr then saw his header from a corner deflected past the post for another set piece.

Bob McHugh had a chance after 57 minutes, but was again denied by the combined efforts of Dylan McGowan and Jordan McGhee. The Motherwell striker went closer still after 65 minutes whenhe latched onto a ball the bounced over Dylan McGowan’s head but his angled shot was kept out by Mark Ridgers with the help of his near post.

The post was to come to Hearts rescue again after Paul McCafferty tried his luck from a tight angle but Motherwell was denied a second goal.

In 79 minutes Billy King shot over the bar from 25 yards, but on the counter Motherwell missed a great chance as a good run and low cross from Dom Thomas found no takers and an air shot as the ball flashed across the face of the goal.

Mark Ridgers then pulled off a good diving stop from a Bob McHugh shot as the home side sought to tie up the points, but Hearts weren’t willing to give up just yet.

Lee Hollis brought of a good block to deny David Smith after 83 minutes and Mark Ridgers did likewise with a shot from Dom Thomas a minute later as the game entered its final phase.

Hearts persistence did eventually pay off as they get on level terms after 86 minutes. Substitute Sean McKirdy won the ball in midfield and played a good ball out to Billy King on the right. The winger drove towards goal, but saw his effort well stopped by Lee Hollis, but the keeper could do nothing with the rebound which Billy drove home from 15 yards.

Hearts might have taken all three points but Sam Nicholson’s volley from 20 yards went just wide after 88 minutes. It was to prove the last chance of the match as the game finished level.

It was a fair result to the match as both sides enjoyed the better of one half although the goals both came against the run of play.

There were excellent performances from Jordan McGhee and Sam Nicholson in the first half, while Adam King came onto a game in the second half.

Hearts team:

McGhee, McGowan, Prychynenko, McMillan (Keegan)

D Smith, A King, G Scott (McKirdy)

B King, G Smith (Oliver) Nicholson

Unused Subs Hamilton, Gordon, L Smith

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Hearts U20s 2-3 Dundee United U20s

18-04-13 A very young Hearts side with no overage players all of whom were U19 or younger lost out by the odd goal in five at Tynecastle tonight. Gary Oliver put Hearts ahead after 20 minutes, but were pegged back by Paddy Barrett’s quick thinking at a free kick as Jack Hamilton was lining up his wall. Gary Oliver restored Hearts lead with a nice turn and shot in the first minute of the second half, but Scott Fraser equalised, then a trialist put the visitors ahead for the first time with eight minutes left. Despite going down to 10 men after Euan Spark was shown a second yellow, United comfortably saw out time to collect the three points and maintain their third place in the U20 League table.Hearts fielded 2 x U19s, 4 x U18s 4 x U17s and 1 x U15, a selection that was reminiscent of the young sides that started the season. Dundee Utd also fielded a young side with only a couple of U20s in their lineup. The selection was more down to the hectic schedule of the last couple of weeks than anything else.United had the better of the first 15 minutes forcing a few corners but without any significant efforts on goal, before Hearts got a foothold in the game. Accurate passing by Adam King and Angus Beith exploited some space on the right flank. The opening goal came after 20 minutes when from one of those incisive passes, Gary Oliver won a corner. Adam King took the set piece on the right finding Liam Gordon rising unchallenged beyond the back post to head back towards goal, where Gary Oliver’s flicked header was enough to beat the keeper.Hearts took some confidence from the goal and looked the better side for the remainder of the half and were much more positive confident in their passing although chances were few. Gary Oliver did get a sight of goal after 24 minutes when Adam King again found him in space, but the shot from a tight angle was well blocked by Philip Anderson in the United goal. Hearts best chance to increase their advantage came in the 31st minute with a Marcus McMillan header which flew just over the top from another Adam King corner .United got back on terms in the 41st minute due to a lack of concentration and “professionalism” on Hearts part. Jack Hamilton was standing by his post lining up his wall for a free kick 25 yards out when Barrett took a quick free kick coolly knocked the ball into the opposite corner of the net.Hearts went back in front a minute into the second half after Sam Nicholson broke down the right and cut inside to play a pass to Gary Oliver at the edge of the box, Gary made as if to shoot with his left foot but turned back onto his right and curled his shot superbly just inside the right hand post.

The second half was a bit scrappy with few real openings, but United probably had the edge on pressure and went close with a volley that went just past the left hand upright. The visitors did equalise for the second time after 74 minutes when the ball was played into the middle and the striker laid the ball off to Scott Fraser who swivelled and hit a first-time left foot shot into the corner of the goal.

Worse was to follow for Hearts after 82 minutes when United’s substitute Shaun Rooney chased down a ball over the top and as Jordan McGhee stumbled he was in on goal and slotted the ball past Hamilton.

Euan Spark was sent off a minute later for his second yellow, but Hearts didn’t really create anything of note in the later stages.

The second half was pretty average from a Hearts point of view as they failed to create anything in the final third.

Jordan McGhee had a good game at the back, bar the incident around the winning goal, while Adam King was the best of the midfielders. Gary Oliver was excellent for the first hour but struggled to create anything in the last half hour as perhaps tiredness from the 4 games in 10 days eventually took their toll on those who played in 3 or 4 of those games.

Hearts Lineup

Hamilton

L Smith, Gordon, McGhee, McMillan

G Scott, A King, Beith (Keegan)

McKirdy (Buchanan), Oliver, Nicholson

Unused subs, Millar, Ford

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Hearts U20s 1-2 Hamilton Accies U20s

23-04-13 Hearts completed their home league programme with one of their poorest performances of the season as they ultimately lost out to a 90th minute goal from Accies captain Lee Kilday. Hamilton had the better of the play and chances throughout and went ahead on the hour mark with a strike from Craig Watson. With just five minutes left Billy King had earned Hearts a lifeline, scoring from the penalty spot after he was brought down himself, but it was not to be.Hearts fielded a much changed side with four players away in Israel with Scotland U18s, but a more experienced one than lost out to Dundee United last week.Hamilton started off much the better, denying Hearts any possession and they pressed the ball at every opportunity. The early chances all came their way as Greg Docherty saw his shot blocked, Eamonn Brophy saw Mark Ridgers make a decent save and Andrew Ryan shot narrowly wide with the keeper beaten, in addition to forcing several corners, before Hearts finally ventured up the other end.Hearts first chance of the game came after 15 minutes when a long ball from Dylan McGowan into the right channel found Billy King running onto the ball and his angled shot across the face of the goal went agonisingly wide of the far post.Louis Longridge then tested Mark Ridgers, before Gary Oliver took advantage of slack defending at a throw-in, but somehow managed to get the ball stuck under his feet and couldn’t get a shot away just three yards from goal.In 25 minutes Gary Oliver again found himself in great position after he got the better of Jonathan Page inside the box, but his shot from eight yards was weak and the keeper got down well to save as he did with the rebound from Billy King.

That was as good as it got for Hearts as the visitors resumed their superiority through hard work, closing down space and winning second balls.

Just before the break Eamonn Brophy again forced a save from Mark Ridgers with a neat turn and shot that the Hearts keeper touched over for a corner.

Darren Murray made a couple of half time substitutions, replacing Denis Prychynenko and George Scott with Aaron Scott and Mark Keegan as he sought to introduce some much needed creativity into the midfield.

However, the second half continued in much the same vein as the first. In 47 minutes, Andrew Ryan saw his effort deflected over the bar for a corner. The Hamilton striker should have done better in 51 minutes, when a mistimed challenge by Dylan McGowan allowed him to run towards goal but his shot was a bit wild.

Hamilton finally went in front just after the hour. A free kick in the centre circle was played into the box and knocked down to Craig Watson whose sweetly struck shot from 15 yards into the corner of the net gave the visitors a deserved lead.

After 71 minutes Louis Longridge created an opening for himself with a good run from midfield but his well struck shot was straight at Mark Ridgers.

Hearts attacks were sporadic to say the least but they did git a lifeline with just five minutes left. Aaron Scott played the ball wide to Billy King on the left who cut inside, but was tripped just inside the box and the referee awarded the penalty. Billy King got up to take the spot kick himself and drove the ball down the middle of the goal for Hearts equaliser.

Hearts joy was to be short lived however, as in the 90th minute poor marking inside the box allowed full back Lee Kilday to turn a low cross from the left into the net from close range.

The result was no more than Hamilton deserved and the performance from Hearts was away below what they are capable of. Their passing was slack and they were second best to every loose ball as Hamilton worked so much harder.

Hearts now have three away games left to complete their season. I’m sure that Darren Murray will have learned a bit more about his charges from tonight’s performance and will make further changes in the games ahead.

Hearts Line-up

Ridgers

McKay, Gordon McGowan, McMillan( L Smith)

G Scott (A Scott), Tapping, Prychynenko (Keegan)

D Smith Oliver B King

Unused subs Hamilton Buchanan

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George Nicolson Memorial Golf Day – Kingsfield Golf Centre, Linlithgow

26-04-13 This year’s event was full for the third year running and proved a very successful day if you forget the hailstones shower halfway through the round.Some very good scoring was achieved by a number of teams and some mediocre scores by others but as the saying goes “it’s only a game”HYDC were delighted that former Hearts stars Donald Ford and Gordon Marshall supported the event and regaled everyone with some stories from their playing days.The highlight of the day was definitely the hole in one on the 9th hole by Ian Carruthers which in a strong wind was a fantastic achievement and one I am sure he will remember for many years to come.After the golf everyone transferred to The Champany Restaurant for a delicious meal and the presentation of the prizes.At the presentation we were delighted to be joined by “Captain Fantastic” Marius Zaliukas and two players who have come through the academy system Callum Tapping and Jack Hamilton.

The winning Team was “Broughs Boys” Hugh Fulton Group.

All who attended were very generous in the raffle and auction and HYDC are very grateful for all the support that we continue to receive from supporters of this event.

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Celtic U20s 3-0 Hearts U20s

04-05-13 Hearts young guns suffered from a poor start as they went down to the league champions at Firhill this morning. Hearts lost a poor goal in the first minute then went two down in 15 minutes before they really got started. The wee Jambos were pinned back for long periods, but it took another defensive error early in the second half to seal the game for the young Celts. Darren Murray used the game to give three more youngsters their debut at U20 level.Once again, Hearts fielded a very young side against a Celtic team that had just sealed the league and cup double for the fourth successive year. Hearts starting line-up had 2 x U19s, 2 x U18s, 5 x U17s, 1 x U16 and 1 x U15 . Celtic too fielded a number of their U17s, but were bolstered with experience in Irvine, Fisher, Findlay, Twardzik and Johnstone.The visitors got off to the worst possible start after just 55 seconds when Jack Hamilton’s attempted clearance rebounded off debutant centre back Leon Jones into the path of ex Hearts youth Liam Henderson, who slotted the ball into the unguarded net.Paul McMullan had a chance to double Celtic’s lead after 13 minutes but shot straight at Jack Hamilton. The second goal was only delayed by two minutes as neat passing from the right wing across the edge off the box found Patrick Twardzik in space on the left and he thumped a left foot shot high into the net.Although it was one way traffic as Hearts struggled to cope with the physical advantage of the home side, clear cut chances were at a premium as Lindsay and Johnstone tried their luck from distance.It was only on the odd occasion that Hearts managed to get forward with some neat one and two touch passing moves but their success was limited to a couple of corners.

Just before the break, Miller swung in a good cross from the left, but Denny Johnstone couldn’t quite get his head on the ball at the back post.

Half time came with the home side deservedly two goals up. The young Hearts side started as if caught in the headlights, but gradually settled into the game, with Liam Smith, Liam Gordon and George Scott all working hard to stem the tide.

The second half started with Celtic continuing to press, Denny Johnstone forced a good save from Jack Hamilton with a shot from the edge of the box after 49 minutes after he was set up by Liam Henderson, before Johnstone again shaved the outside of the post with another effort from the edge of the box.

Hearts contributed to their own downfall once again in 52 minutes when Liam Gordon was disposed by Liam Henderson 30 yards out and the young striker stepped forward to knock the ball past Jack Hamilton to put the hoops three goals to the good.

A number of substitutions followed with both sides introducing more youngsters to the fray, in Hearts case giving U20 debuts to Ian Smith and Kai Wilson. The substitutions if anything helped Hearts as they saw much more of the ball with Angus Beith and Aaron Scott becoming much more prominent. However the chances continued to go Celtic’s way as Paul McMullan showed good skill on the right and Liam Henderson forced another good stop from Jack Hamilton.

It took until the 81st minute for Hearts to get a shot on target when Angus Beith hit a free kick from around 28 yards, but Fasan in the Celtic goal saved comfortably.

The game drifted to the inevitable conclusion with a comfortable Celtic victory, but it will have been a good learning experience for the Hearts side.

There were good performances from Liam Gordon and Aaron Scott, but the pick of the Hearts side was Liam Smith who kept his concentration on the job in hand despite the pressure that the side was under for much of the game.

Hearts Line-up

Hamilton,

L Smith, Jones, Gordon, Ford

G Scott (I Smith), A Scott, Beith

Buchanan (Wilson), Oliver, Nicholson

Unused subs Millar, Daniel

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Dundee United U20s 0-2 Hearts U20s

06-05-13 An excellent second half performance saw the young Jambos earn a deserved two goal victory at Tannadice this evening. After an uneventful first half, Hearts dominated proceedings in the second period. They went ahead after 52 minutes with a close in header from Angus Beith, then with nine minutes left Denis Prychynenko marked his iminent departure from the club with a goal that capped off a superb individual performance.Darren Murray made several changes to the side following Saturday’s defeat against Celtic, bringing in more experience in Mark Ridgers, Brad McKay, Denis Prychynenko and David Smith. Denis took the captain’s armband in what will likely be his last game for Hearts before he leaves at the end of the season.The home side created an opening in the first 30 seconds as Ali Coote made progress down the left and squared the ball for Brad Smith but the striker’s shot was just wide of the left hand post.Hearts hit back and went close in eight minutes, when Sam Nicholson found David Smith at the corner of the six yard box but he shot into the side netting.Further shots from Montgomery and Scott Smith also missed the target for the home side while Gary Oliver and Aaron Scott did likewise for Hearts as the game ebbed and flowed.As the game edged towards the interval, Hearts started to gain an edge in possession and created more half chances as Adam King and Gary Oliver tried their luck from distance, but again failed to test the keeper. Hearts created another chance in the last minute of the half, when Adam King and David Smith combined at a short corner for the latter to shoot just over the bar.

The half time whistle blew with the game still goalless. Both sides had played some decent football, but the shooting was wayward with neither keeper having a save to make.

The first minute of the second period saw McGovern in the United goal tested for the first time when substitute Marcus McMillan latched onto the ball fully 30 yards out and the keeper tipped the powerful shot over the bar.

United responded then Euan Spark found some space down the right and crossed for Scott Smith at the edge of the box but the shot went over the bar.

In 52 minutes Hearts got their noses in front with a bit of a collector’s item. Brad McKay picked up a loose ball in the centre of defence, made his way forward across the half way line and remained unchallenged as he got into a crossing position on the right flank. His perfectly weighted cross found Angus Beith coming in unmarked at the back post and the young midfielder headed the ball past McGovern from four yards out for his first goal for the U20s.

Mark Ridgers made his first save of the match after 55 minutes when he comfortably gathered a with a free kick from all of 35 yards.

Gary Oliver almost created a second goal for Hearts with a teasing cross from the left that a defender headed behind for a corner.

Hearts were now well in the ascendency as Adam King and David Smith then worked another short corner, this time setting up Gary Oliver for a shot that went just over the top. Good play by David Smith down the left saw him create space for a cross that just eluded Sam Nicholson.

Hearts continued to press forward with David Smith again creating danger for the home defence as another cross from the left was deflected behind for a corner.

On 80 minutes United conceded another corner from a Marcus McMillan cross. This time Adam King crossed into the box and Brad McKay challenged for the ball which broke to Denis Prychynenko at the corner of the six yard box and he lashed a left foot shot into the net to put Hearts deservedly two up.

After 85 minutes, United’s Brad Smith suffered what looked like a broken wrist when he fell awkwardly following an aerial challenge with Denis Prychynenko.

With three minutes left David Smith tried an ambitious effort from a tight angle after Sam Nicholson set him up with a neat flick, but the keeper saved well at his near post.

The home side created the last chance of the match two minutes into stoppage time when their substitute Trialist striker headed a corner towards goal but Mark Ridgers made a good save to preserve his firt clean sheet of the season.

All in all it was a pleasing performance and a good win against a United side that has done well in the league this season.

There were a number of good individual performances, with David Smith always looking a threat with his pace and direct running, but the man of the match was Denis Prychynenko , who was immense at centre back and his goal was a bonus. It was fitting that, on the day his departure from the club was announced, that he would demonstrate the qualities that he has both as a player and a person. He will be missed by all at the club and it was good to see Darren Murray call him over and give him a personal well done and a pat on the back after he scored his goal.

Hearts Line-up

Ridgers

L Smith McKay, Prychynenko, Ford (McMillan)

A Scott (Wilson), A King, Beith

Nicholson, D Smith, Oliver

Unused subs: Millar, Gordon, Keegan

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Dunfermline Ath. U20s 3-2 Hearts U20s

09-05-13 The young Jambos suffered late disappointment as they conceded two late goals to lose their last game of the league season at Stirling University today. Earlier, Gary Oliver and Sam Nicholson had put Hearts in front with second half goals after being down by a goal at the break.Darren Murray again rung the changes as Hearts fielded a very young side against a similarly youthful Dunfermline side that reflected their priority as the first team in their efforts to avoid relegation.The Pars’ opened proceedings on top and gave Hearts a double warning when full back Martin forced a fine save from Jack Hamilton then headed a further effort over the bar within the first five minutes.On eight minutes Hamilton had a further fine save from striker Gray, and it was fully fifteen minutes before Hearts ventured upfield Sam Nicholson firing a shot well wide. On nineteen minutes Martin again outjumped the Hearts rear-gaurd bulleting home a Mercer right wing corner kick.Ten minutes later Hamilton again came to Hearts rescue with another fine stop, and although Hearts came more into the game, they had nothing on target in the first half with Adam King firing a free-kick over the bar and Sean McKirdy doing likewise with a further shot.On the stroke of half-time Hamilton again had to look lively saving a close range volley from Spence.

Hearts, who had to re-organise just before half-time when Liam Smith took a knock and was replaced by Mark Keegan, had the best of the second half with Keegan firing a long range free-kick past a post and Nicholson toe-poking a close range effort over the bar.

In a Pars’ breakaway Hamilton again was forced to beat away a Gray angled shot.

On 64 minutes Hearts equalised with their first shot on target, Gary Oliver scoring with a six-yard shot from an Adam King —-now playing full back—-right wing cross, and six minutes later Sam Nicholson pounced on a loose ball and rattled home a 25 yard right foot shot.

Hearts were now well on top but could not score a safety goal despite a few efforts on goal, and were made to pay the price in the final few minutes when the defence took the shakes following a mis-handle from Hamilton.

On ninety minutes full back Drummond rose unchallenged to head home a Mercer right wing cross and three minutes later the same player rose to nod home a free header from a right wing Bruce free-kick.

Overall a disappointing result, however the Pars may have been out of sight by half-time.

Top men Hamilton, until that blunder at the end that seemed to unsettle the defence, McGhee, Nicholson, Oliver and McKirdy, a star at fifteen years old. No bookings either side, a good clean game.

Hearts Line-up

Hamilton;

L Smith (Keegan 43), McGhee, Gordon, McMillan,

Buchanan, A King, McKirdy, Beith, Nicholson

Oliver;

Subs Unused; Millar G/K, Ford, Wilson, Simpson

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Hearts U17s 0-3 Hibernian U17s

31-05-13 Hearts East of Scotland Shield hoodoo continued as they ultimately lost 0-3 to a Hibs side that was much more clinical in front of goal. Hibs led at half time with a goal from Allan, which was against the run of play. However, in the second half, further counters from Sinclair and a fine headed goal from Docherty gave Hibs a comfortable win, their ninth in a row in this match that has been played by sides at various levels.Hearts fielded a young side in the latest East of Scotland Shield, with 5 x U17s, 5U16 and 1 x U15 in the side for the annual challenge match.The game opened in the expected way for a derby match with a number of fouls conceded by both sides and neither keeper having much to do.Hearts early openings came from Robbie Buchanan who twice got in behind the Hibs defence. However the chances were lost firstly with no takers for an inviting cross , then Robbie himself took a heavy touch when well placed.Hibs created their first chance after 18 minutes when Jamie Beaton shot across the face of goal and just wide of the left hand upright.Hibs took the lead after 32 minutes when Lewis Allan fired in a shot from 10 yards that Jordan Millar got a hand on at his near post but couldn’t stop the ball rebounding high into the net. The goal was possibly against the run of play as Hearts had the better possession until then.

Hearts response was a good run from Jack Simpson, but he was eventually closed down and his shot was deflected through to the keeper.

The second half started in much the same way as the first as Hearts pushed forward and Hibs were content to clear their lines. Liam Smith shot over from 25 yards before Jordan Millar was forced into a save by Scott Martin. Angus Beith then saw his free kick go just wide of the right hand post with the Hibs keeper scrambling across his goal.

However, it was the visitors who took their chance when it came to give them a second goal and a stranglehold on the match. The lead up was a bit unusual and a long ball was played forward towards the Hearts goal. Jordan Millar attempted to clear the ball with his head, but the ball went straight up in the air and caused som panic in the home defence which resulted in a free kick to Hibs just outside the box. Jordan Sinclair stepped up to take the free kick and his low shot found the corner of the net.

Hearts responded with substitutions and pushing Liam Gordon up front as they chased the game, but they continued to squander any chances that came their way with wayward shooting and some poor set piece delivery. The one genuine close thing was a shot from Angus Beith wide out on the right that brought a good stop from Sean Brennan in the Hibs goal.

Hibs put the game beyond Hearts reach after 75 minutes with an excellent third goal. Jamie Beaton put in a great cross from the left and it was met with an equally good header by Dominic Docherty which was directed into the top corner of the net, leaving Jordan Millar with no chance.

The game was over as a contest and Hibs comfortably saw out time for their ninth consecutive win in the contest.

Overall it was disappointing from a Hearts viewpoint,, although there were decent performances on the night from Liam Smith, Liam Gordon and Angus Beith.

Hearts Line-up

Millar,

L Smith, Wilson, Gordon, Ford

McKirdy A Scott (Craigie), Beith

Simpson (Cockburn) Buchanan Daniel (Flanagan)

Unused subs Sneddon, Lewis

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ADO Den Haag Tournament

02-06-13 Scotland sent a young side to the 60th annual ADO Den Haag Tournament for Under 20 teams palyed over three days between 31st May and 2nd June. The teams taking part were a mix of club sides and national teams. Hearts had two representatives in the squad. David Smith was given the honour of captaining the side, while Jordan McGhee was one of a number of U17s being fast tracked to a higher age level.The Scots got off to the best posibble start when they beat Brazilian side Cruzeiro 3-1 in their opening group match with Hiberninan’s Danny Handling scoring an early double . The second game against Slovakian side FK Senica resulted in a 0-1 defeat, with David Smith forced out of further participation in the tournament after he went off injured. With other results in the group going their way, Scotland only needed a draw in their final group match against Club Brugge to reach the semi finals, which they duly achieved with a 1-1 draw.Their semi-final opponents were the holders, Mexico. Jordan McGhee had put the young Scots into the lead, but Mexico hit back with two goals to win the match and consign Scotland to the third / fourth place play-off. Danny Handling also missed a penalty before Mexico scored their winning goal.The play-off was a repeat of the group game against FK Senica, with the outcome once again going in favour of the Slovak side by a single goal.Mexico went on to win the tournament, beating Swansea on penalties after a 0-0 scoreline in the final.For the Scots it was a good experience for what was the youngest side in the tournament. Jordan McGhee did well to play every minute of first four games, before being rested for the final match.top

Poland U15s 1-1 Scotland U15s

19-06-13 Scotland’s U15 squad fought out a tight game with their hosts, Poland, which finished one goal each, after Celtic’s Mark Hill scored a deserved late qualiser, despite the young Scots having gone down to ten men with ten minutes left. The challenge match was played in 30degree heat in the southern Polish town of Ożarów, so was a severe test for the young Scots.The notable Hearts contribution came from midfielder Sean McKirdy, who had the distinction of captaining the side for the first time. Sean followed in the footsteps of fellow Hearts central defender Leon Jones who had captained the side in their previous outing.top

The John Cockerell Interview

30-06-13 The Assistant Academy Director, John Cockerell, gave an interview to HYDC earlier this week, providing an insight into the recruitment and development of the youngsters at the Academy.Eric Clelland asked the questions.Can you tell me about your footballing and coaching background, and your role at the Academy?I played senior and junior football for a number of years I was with Stirling Albion for a short period of time but the majority of my football career was played at junior level with Newtongrange Star and Bonnyrigg Rose for probably nigh on 10 years. I then went to Haddington Athletic as a player/Assistant Manager. I played there for a further two years and ended up as manager. I became a bit disillusioned with junior football and my laddie had started playing football so I got involved in Youth Football. I took my coaching badges, then John Murray approached me about a position at Hearts around 11 years ago. For my sins that’s where I am at the moment. I used to take the U16s in the old structure while Darren took the 18s. When the structure changed, I became U15s coach for 6 years, working with a number of different number twos including Allan Carswell, Willie Atichison, Paul Melrose. When John became Director of Football I became Assistant Academy Director, taking some of the weight off John regarding the Academy. While at Hearts I achieved my SFA Elite Youth Licence Award, which is a requirement of my current role.I have responsibility for organising the training sessions, making sure that they are structured properly. We do a special session on a Wednesday night which is down to me to devise and put forward to the coaches to deliver. With John’s responsibilities for the first team when doing his Director of Football role and the amount of time devoted to the club’s present financial situation, there is more pressure on me to make sure that the Academy is running fine.There’s a fair bit of administration involved, for example, preparing information packs and forms for parents. There are now 7 forms that need to be signed by every parent and child that comes in here, Child Safety, Child Protection forms have to be signed just to give us permission to train the kids now. It can be a minefield and we have just gone through the painful process getting all the boys re-registered again for next season. That, organising referees, transport, making sure that everyone is aware of venues, kick off and pick up times. That’s some of the things that I am trying to take over from John.

Please tell me what you can about recruiting kids into the Academy.

In the last year the scouting network has been organised better than it has ever been. That’s nothing to do with me I must say. It used to be that we had Scouts in different areas geographically and they just picked a game and went to watch it. Now all the Scouts come in here on a Friday night and they plan which teams, which ages, which players, they are all going to watch and theoretically we should have one Scout at most of the main games, and avoid having two or three Scouts turning up at the same game.

We’ve got Scouts in Glasgow but our catchment area is predominately the central belt from Falkirk, Stirling, through to Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian and West Lothian. We do get referrals from Scouts and other guys who have previously worked with the club, who are watching games as well and giving us indications of good players in different areas as well.

The regional centres are still in place, mainly for the younger kids. That’s a good catchment for us where we have boys coming in for training who are not actually signed with the club. Obviously they are training with our coaches who will identify the better players. They are still able to play with their boys clubs while they are training with us.

The Scouts are looking for technically gifted players, but allied to that you are looking for them to be naturally athletic, aggressive, not in a fighting manner but they need to be able to look after themselves on the pitch. We need them to be technically very good. We need them to be athletic. The athletic thing is a huge part of the game now. I am not just talking about the Scottish level, I am talking about Champions League and International level. We are not looking for the height and strength we are looking for the athleticism and the technical ability. If they’ve got the height and strength and technical ability that’s great but that doesn’t happen much in Scotland.

When the Scouts identify someone with potential they will invite the lads in for training. Say an U12 or U13 lad has been identified at for arguments sake Tynecastle FC or Hutchie Vale, he will come and train with us for four weeks. The training and the tempo of the games we playing are higher that they are used to at boys clubs. That’s because we have quicker, stronger and fitter boys playing. It can take them a while to adjust so we made a decision, instead of having a laddie in for two weeks training and saying yea he’s good enough or no he’s not good enough, we give them time to adjust so we give them four weeks. We give them the odd trail game with the permission of their clubs. After the four weeks we will make an assessment on them and they will get a report.

We made a conscious level this year at the younger levels to run with thinner squads where we will promote U11s up to U12s, U12s up to U13, in an effort to try and get the boys kicked on a bit quicker. When they are playing with older, better players the stronger and more physically able players will be pushed up an age group in an effort to accelerate their development.

We never put a cap on the number of trialists, because if there are ten good players at U13 out there and we can bring them in, then we will do so. We can’t set a limit of only three per age group and then all of a sudden a fourth one pops up which is a far better player. We need to bring them in. On average we are always looking at three or four players at each age group, of which maybe 25% to 30% of them will be good enough for the level.

It’s unusual to pick up quality players at an older age group, although two guys, Brad McKay and Callum Paterson, have done exceptionally well. If they have gone through U13s, U14s, U15s and they haven’t been identified at that point, it’s unusual. You can’t hurry Mother Nature in terms of their stature, their strength or their pace. That happens at different times and these two guys are late developers, but they are exceptions. We are going the other way. We are trying to bring them in here at 9 and 10 years old so we can get them into the good habits in the early stages so hopefully by the time they get to 13, 14 or 15 they will have got rid of any bad habits.

I am all for the schools’ football because they like to play with their pals and football is about enjoyment at the end of the day. However we run the risk of overtaxing the boys. They are in here training four days or nights a week, playing on a Saturday or Sunday. The sports scientists are telling us it’s too much for them. At lower levels, if an opponent finds out that a player is with Hearts he becomes a big target for anyone who wants to have a go at him and that’s the down side of it. I played schools’ football myself and my kids play schools’ football and it’s a great social thing however if you are at an elite level I don’t think it’s a good thing to be playing too much.

How do you look to develop an individual player?

Every one of our age groups has what we term a technical session with Roy Craig, our technical coach, at least once per week, where all we are working on is their touch, their ball control, their body positioning to receive the ball, getting the ball into the right position to play it, passing and tricks.

On a Wednesday night we do a uniform session which every age group completes. They are all doing the same passing drills, game related practices, and conditioned games. They are all geared up around the formation we will be playing in the 4-3-3 at youth level. They are getting uniformity in their training so when they come up to the next age group they know exactly what drills they will be doing. That has helped make it easier to move up age groups.

The goalkeepers have their own specialised training sessions. Alan Combe is goalkeeping licence holder, Alan Carswell has first team experience and Jonathan Craig will hopefully get his goalkeeping licence soon. Alan Combe comes in every Wednesday night and will mainly work with the older groups with Allan Carswell. You couldn’t have two better coaches to coach your kid in 15s and 17s level. The younger ones are taken by Jonathan Craig who is also assisted by Alan Combe on a Wednesday night as well.

The biggest issue I have now is that I would like the goalkeepers to play more with the ball at their feet. Modern goalkeepers need to have the footballing ability of a centre half with glove son, that’s what I say to them. On the Wednesday night session after they have done their goalkeeping training come into the training and do the passing drills for half an hour and they come in and either maybe play in the game for half an hour or do the passing drills for half an hour to get them more proficient with the ball.

Every player is assessed and tested by the sports science department. We do very little running without the ball as everything we do in the technical and conditioning side needs the ball. If there is a deficiency in any of the boys pace, agility, movement across the pitch, then it will be picked up by the coach and referred to the sports science department. If necessary , we would then have an additional session to attempt to redress that, so we may have two or three players from a particular age group who we believe may have to work on their dynamism or speed about the pitch. Their individual needs are being tailored and deficiencies rectified.

We don’t put anyone onto weights until their bodies are ready and we are very wary of that. We start introducing the U14s to weights by using empty bars so that they get familiar with the mechanics of lifting and the body adapts to movements required. Once they get to U15 they are generally ready and happy to work with dumbbells so we can start to physically develop them. They will do a half session with the sports scientists, either Bob McCunn, Dave Sykes and John Hill, do a number of upper body drills and will work on their upper body strength with weights and elastics.

There’s a sports scientist who looks at players peripheral vision. I can see games where a player spots a pass straight away, like Jason Holt who plays with wing mirrors on. When the ball comes to him he knows exactly what’s around about him. It’s something we try to get over to the younger kids is awareness and taking a picture of what’s around them before they receive the ball as it buys you that extra fraction of a second on the ball. It can be more psychology that football, but there are players who naturally have that ability, but there are others who you have to work harder with, their heads are down when they receive the ball. It’s something we continually tell them in their training to constantly look to see what’s around them. There are situations where we will stop the play and highlight where players didn’t look. We want then to get into the habit of doing it in training so that it becomes natural in a game.

There are players you have to drag out their shell, others who only come out their shell on the pitch. There are some like Sean McKirdy who are like a sponge, they want to take in information. You can tell straight away in a training session who are listening, those who are looking you in the eye, but there are some, particularly at the younger age groups, who you can tell from the look on their face that they are not taking everything in, so you have to work harder with them, but in time they will get there. Those who learn quicker, generally progress quicker. That’s evident from boys like Sean who have played U17s and U20s.

You push them along and look to see how they react to being pressurised. Are they happy to do something? That tells you so much about their attitude towards being a professional footballer. Criticism is part of coaching, you have to rectify their deficiencies and sometimes that’s hard for them to take, but we do it in a positive way, by saying you controlled the ball perfectly, but your decision making or execution of the pass was poor. We try to be critical in a constructive manner.

I love a winning mentality. I’m not a fan of “results don’t matter”. I think in any sport results do matter and I think in the mind of Scottish kids, results do matter as they want to win every game they play anyway. You see that by their reaction when we play Hibs, Celtic or Rangers, their natural enthusiasm to win the game comes out. We can develop more of that attitude at a younger age. They have got to learn the basics and the technical side of the game, however we don’t want to see players who are happy to get beat in games. If we teach them to do the right things technically and pass the ball properly and they do that on the park, moving the ball quickly and playing at a high tempo, then nine times out of ten they will win the game.

What do we do to help players work as a team?

The U13s to U17s and also the U12s when they change to 11 a side have one team session when they with work on their formation shape and their set plays. The U13s and U14 do it on a Friday night when they have a double session while the U15s and 17s do it on a Saturday in readiness for their weekend matches. It’s not a strenuous session they work on patterns of play what their roles and responsibilities are within the team.

We attempt to get the players playing the same formation, tactics, patterns of play all the way through the age groups ready to move into the U20s where Darren and Lockie determine how they want to play and onto the first team. If Darren wants them playing 4-3-3 in the 20s, then we will get them familiar with playing that way, but we don’t ram it down their throats. They need to be able to adapt to other formations and we do that from time to time. In practical terms on the park there may only be 10 yards of a difference in position for some players when we adopt another system. It’s usually the wide players and the central midfielders who have to adjust to a 4-2-3-1 from a 4-3-3.

In the seven a sides, at the younger age groups, we try to get the kids to play different positions and get them used to passing the ball and movement. I loved it when soccer sevens was introduced. They used to have a safety zone where the goalkeeper could pass it out to the full back or central defender and no-one was allowed to touch him until he stepped forward or played a pass. I don’t know why it was done away with, because you get some teams at that level who, if we are playing with two defenders, will put two strikers up top to stop you being able to play the ball out. At that level, we are trying to get the laddies to play football and I don’t really see the benefit in putting pressure on the players to stop then getting the ball. We never advocate that but some teams do.

What are your thoughts on the current structure of pro-youth football?

The current set up is going through a restructure or pilot scheme with the Forth Valley academy combining two or possibly three clubs into one academy and just putting one team into the Elite structure. I think that it would be difficult to put that strategy into Glasgow or Edinburgh. You might get World War 3 starting if you asked Hearts and Hibs or Celtic and Rangers to amalgamate. I don’t think it is necessary at that level. I think we are capable of producing enough players to substantiate our own age groups.

One thing they might have looked at was doing dual age bands, instead of pulling three academies into one, with U17s, U15s and U13s, but with your elite players always playing against elite players. You are cutting down the number of elite players, but what they are saying with the creation of the Forth Academy is that there aren’t enough elite players at each of these clubs. I feel that we have enough elite players at this club, however an easier way of doing it would be to get the best that they’ve got against the best that we’ve got in combined age groups. A lad that’s been playing at Falkirk through U12s U13s and U14s may now join the new academy, but if he doesn’t get kept on, then where does he go? What happens to the laddies that get through to the end of the Forth Academy? Where do they get offered contracts? Only one of those clubs involved is full time. I see what they are trying to do, but I think it could be done better.

I think the link up with the schools is great but it’s the cost that’s involved. It’s great what Celtic do. Two seasons ago, physically and technically they had the best U15s squad without any shadow of a doubt because that was the age group they were focussing on. This year I was a bit disappointed with them, they seem to have gone backwards although they are still producing boys from the same school setup. It may be that last season’s group weren’t of the same quality of the previous season, but in the game that they played here, which was eventually abandoned, they played with a style that wasn’t Celtic like. If we could get a school that we could put our U14s and U15s into and get access to them in the morning and afternoon for coaching and training I think it would help enormously.

I’ve spoken to John Murray about the scenario with what Livingston has done. They have brought in boys at 16 when they’ve just left school and given them full time contracts. Some would argue that they are paying them peanuts, but when their U17s played us at the start of last season, I was very impressed by them, They were quicker stronger but that came from the full time training they had. I know some aspects of their setup aren’t right, but those lads will develop much quicker getting that extra year of full time football under their belt.

We have considered training the 13s 14s and 15s together in Glasgow or Cumbernauld, but we have the financial constraints of employing another set of coaches, but we would lose out on the camaraderie that the boys develop when they play and train together as a team. Aberdeen did it with their Edinburgh centre, only bringing the teams together at the weekends, but I think they have just scrapped it. It’s not ideal, but I think what we do, by putting the transport on to bring the boys in is a better idea. In here they have access to the sports scientist and the physiotherapy clinic if they have an injury. They are training with their own age group and I think it’s a more comfortable environment.

I don’t think there is any club whose coaches are more highly qualified that what we have here. We are now governed by the SFA with who we can bring in, because we’ve got to have a youth licence holder at every age level and a level 4. Some would argue that some of the coaches who don’t have the required licence are better coaches, but we no longer have a lot of choice in the matter as we have to get the coaches with the right qualifications in place in order to get the funding from the SFA. We have the right levels in place that we need to get the accreditation for the Academy.

Our sports science department is the best in Scotland and that is widely recognised as such. Where we have an issue with the SFA at the moment is that they are judging us on their criteria that requires each team to have half the area of a pitch available for training, something that is required to get us to the Elite level 5 status. I don’t believe that you can make full use of half a pitch four nights a week. We use a quarter of a pitch for each team as the size of that astroturf pitch out there is massive. I think it’s ample for the drills and high tempo quality training sessions that we are putting on. Half a pitch would be too much as there would be a lot of wasted space out there. But for financial reasons we need to find another alternative training facility to get another pitch to train on.

The only time that the boys use a full half pitch is on their technical sessions and on Friday Nights and Saturday mornings when they are working on their shape. Then they do need half a park when they are working on set pieces or defending across the park.

What concerns do you have about how the club’s current financial issues may affect the Academy?

I couldn’t confirm the amount but I know there is an amount of money due to Heriot Watt and it could possibly jeopardise our position here. However I think an agreement for the future we will have to wait until the new owners come in. I think an agreement would be a sensible option for both parties. The whole academy structure is massively critical to the club as we don’t have the finance to go out and buy players like we’ve done over the past few years so we have to produce our own and to produce our own we need the facilities.

My way of thinking the academy is almost self-funding, and that’s thanks to the HYDC guys. The funding that we accrue from the SFA in grants for coaching etc, and the money that come in through the HYDC almost covers the Academy costs. The vast majority of the money provided by the club could be allocated to the first team because they are in here every day using the facilities, so it’s not a real cost to the Academy itself.

Thanks for your time John. It’s most appreciated and I’m sure that there will be a lot of people interested in reading what you have to say on the HYDC website.

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