News Archive 2010/11

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24 July 2010 Foyle Cup 2010 – Annual Youth Tournament, Derry, Northern Ireland

24 July 2010 Edinburgh University v Hearts U19s (pre-season friendly)

25 July 2010 Hearts U19s v Raith Rovers U19s (pre-season friendly)

1st Aug 2010 Coldstream 1-7 Hearts U19s (pre-season friendly)

6th Aug 2010 Hearts U19s 6-0 Newcastle Academy (pre-season friendly)

8th Aug 2010 Hearts represented in Scotland U17s matches in the Nordic Cup

21st Aug 2010 Hearts U19s 5-0 St Mirren U19s

22nd Aug 2010 HYDC Monthly Draw – Missing Personal Details

28th Aug 2010 Hearts U19s 6-0 Kilmarnock U19s

31st Aug 2010 Five U19s out on Loan

31st Aug 2010 Kevin McHattie signs for U19s

3rd Sep 2010 Jamie Walker Injury blow for U19s

5th Sep 2010 Lauder Amateurs 0-12 Hearts U19s (friendly)

11th Sep 2010 Hearts U19s 0-1 Celtic U19s

16th Sep 2010 Scotland U17s UEFA Qualifying Tournament

17th Sep 2010 Scotland U19s UEFA Qualifying Tournament

18th Sep 2010 Dundee Utd. U19s 0-0 Hearts U19s

25th Sep 2010 Hearts U19s 4-3 Inverness CT U19s

16th Oct 2010 Hearts U19s 0-7 Hamilton Academical U19s

23rd Oct 2010 Hearts U19s 5-0 Motherwell U19s

30th Oct 2010 Hibs U19s 0-4 Hearts U19s

6th Nov 2010 Hearts U19s 4-0 Dundee United U19s – SFA Youth Cup R3

13th Nov 2010 Hearts U19s 5-2 Aberdeen U19s

19th Nov 2010 George Nicolson (1946-2010)

20th Nov 2010 Hearts U19s 1-0 St Johnstone U19s

22nd Nov 2010 HYDC Press Launch

11th Dec 2010 Kilmarnock U19s 3-2 Hearts U19s

23rd Dec 2010 Darren Murray Interview

16th Jan 2011 Hearts U19s 0-1 Hibernian U19s (SFA Youth Cup R4)

4th Feb 2011 Inverness Caledonian Thistle U19s 0-0 Hearts U19s (aban)

09th Feb 2011 Rob Ogleby scores his first goal for Wales U21s

12th Feb 2011 Burns Supper 2011

26th Feb 2011 Hamilton U19s 0-1 Hearts U19s

4th Mar 2011 Motherwell U19s 0-1 Hearts U19s

14th Mar 2011 HYDC Newsletter Spring 2011

18th Mar 2011 Aberdeen U19s 2-1 Hearts U19s

22nd Mar 2011 Hearts U19s 2-1 Dundee United U19s

26th Mar 2011 St Johnstone U19s 1-2 Hearts U19s

29th Mar 2011 Hearts U19s 1-0 Hibernian U19s

1st Apr 2011 Rangers U19s 1-4 Hearts U19s

5th Apr 2011 Inverness C.T. U19s 1-3 Hearts U19s

9th Apr 2011 St Mirren U19s 1-2 Hearts U19s

16th Apr 2011 Guernsey Rovers 0-4 Hearts U19s

17th Apr 2011 Norwich City 0-0 Hearts U19s – Hearts win tournament

22nd Apr 2011 Hearts U19s 1-0 Rangers U19s

30th Apr 2011 Celtic U19s 0-3 Hearts U19s

4th May 2011 Jason Holt – Clydesdale Bank SPL U19 Player of the Year

2nd June 2011 Jordan McGhee – Scotland Debut

15th June 2011 U19s Season 2010/11 Review

24-07-10 Foyle Cup

The Foyle Cup began in 1992 at the request of Derry City Council as part of Impact 92 programme. Since then, Derry City Council have continued to play a major part in the development of the tournament. The organisers, the Derry & District Youth F.A. enjoy an excellent relationship with and tremendous support from, Derry City Council’s Development Dept. ( who not only provide financial support but provide playing surfaces free of charge).

In the first year the event was essentially N.Ireland based and clubs affiliated to the Northern Ireland Boys Football Association were invited to participate. It was staged over one day, with 8 teams taking part in an U 14 and U16 event.

The event began to attract interest from mainland Britain and demand for places in the tournament increased, with entries now arriving from England, Scotland and Wales. As the demand increased so too did the number of entries and the length of the tournament. Growth in the tournament witnessed an entry of almost 90 teams from all over the UK for a six day event in 2005 .

The quality of entry has increased steadily each year with the top clubs in England, Scotland, N.Ireland and Republic of Ireland travelling to Derry to compete as well as a few annual entries from mainland Europe and North America. Every few years teams travel from South Africa.

As they had don in 2009, Hearts entered teams in the U11, U12 and U14 sections.   A report on each of the teams performances follows below:

24-07-10 Foyle Cup Reports

Hearts U11 side successfully defended their Foyle Cup title at Vale Centre, Greysteel in Northern Ireland.  The youngsters were undefeated as they topped their group of local sides Ballinmallard, Letterkenny & District and Shankhill Youth, allowing them to progress to the quarter final stage, overcoming some poor weather conditions on the way.

In the quarter final they had a narrow single goal win over Inishowen Youth League and similarly beat semi-final opponents St Oliver Plunkett.

The final was against their earlier group opponents in Letterkenny & District and was a high scoring affair. However it was the Hearts side who prevailed by the odd goal in seven to lift the cup once again.

Full Results:
Group – Hearts 7-0 Ballinmallard
Group – Hearts 3-3 Letterkenny & District
Group – Hearts 2-0 Shankhill Youth
Q/F – Hearts 1-0 Inishowen Youth League
S/F – Hearts 1 -0 St Oliver Plunkett
Final – Hearts 4-3 Letterkenny & District

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Hearts U12 lost out on their quest to retain the Foyle Cup, losing out on penalties to N.W. & Coleraine in the quarter finals.  The youngsters won their group easily with wins against Dungoyne, Ballinmallard and Carnbane Youth League,, thus progressed to the quarter final stage.

In the quarter final they the Hearts lads led 2-1 but conceded a late goal to take the tie to penalties.  It will be little consolation that the Coleraine side went on to win the competition with comfortable wins in the semi final and final ties.

Full Results:
Group – Hearts 4-0 Dungoyne
Group – Hearts 3-1 Ballinmallard
Group – Hearts 8-0 Carnbane Youth League
Q/F – Hearts 2-2 N.W. & Coleraine (Coleraine won 7-6 on pens)

Note that the full classification matches were not completed due to delays resulting from inclement weather.

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Hearts U14s unluckily lost out to rivals Celtic in a penalty shoot out in their Foyle Cup final at Brandywell Stadium, Derry.  The youngsters were undefeated as they topped their group of local sides Newry City, East Donegal Youth League and Ards FC, thus progressed to the quarter final stage.

In the quarter final they had a comfortable win against fellow Scottish side Gairdoch Uniited, before overcoming Northern Ireland’s perennial leading side, Linfield, by a single goal in the semi final.

The final was very close and not without controversy against Celtic.  Hearts went 1-0 up but conceded a late penalty to their Glasgow rivals (‘twas ever thus). After the Hearts keeper made the save the referee ordered a retake, from which they equalised.  Unfortunately the boys in maroon lost the penalty shoot-out, leaving them down hearted but not without pride in their performance throughout the tournament..

Full Results:
Group – Hearts 5-0 Newry City
Group – Hearts 3-0 East Donegal Youth League
Group – Hearts 0-0 Ards FC
Q/F – Hearts 4-0 Gairdoch United
S/F – Hearts 1 -0 Linfield
Final – Hearts 1-1 Celtic (Celtic won on pens)

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04-07-10 Edinburgh University v Hearts U19s

The U19s played together as a team for the first time this season and produced a performance that augurs well for their season. After a goalless first half with a few close things, the floodgates opened in the 2nd half with Hearts running out easy 6-0 winners against the EoS Premier League side.

Darren Murray fielded what looked like his strongest available side. (4-5-1) Whether they all remain available is another question.

Fairley
Mullen McCormack Hamilton Hill
Walker Robinson (Morton) Prychynenko Holt D Smith
Ogleby

The first half chances mainly fell to Robert Ogleby who was making good runs into the channels. Firstly he hit the bar with an angled drive, then he had a turn and shot from the edge of the area tipped over the bar. He also had a goal chalked off after the referee adjudged him to have nudged the defender. It simply looked that he was physically stronger in the challenge and won the ball fairly. He then dragged a left foot shot just wide from another good run into the box.

Although it was 0-0 at HT there were certainly positives about today\’s performance.

Once into the 2nd half the goals came at regular intervals:

1. Scott Robinson turned his man 35 yards out and ran into space at the edge of the box, created again by Ogleby as he dragged his marker away. Scott finished with a shot from the edge of the box.

2. Ogleby fired in a good shot that brought a good save from the keeper that rebounded to Scott Robinson, who finished easily from 6 yards.

3. Robinson was pushed in the back going for a header, winning a penalty in the process. He took it himself and completed his hat trick with a shot low to the keeper\’s right.

4. Dave Smith scored from close range at the back post as he got on the end of a great cross from Mullen.

5. Denys Prychynenko scored his first goal for Hearts with a shot from 10 yards after the students defence failed to clear a Hamilton cross from the left.

6. Ogleby finally got on the scoresheet, netting from close in after the keeper could only parry a rasping left foot shot from substitute Jordan Morton.

Hearts also made a couple of other great chances in the 2nd half. Walker hit the underside of the bar with a great shot, which Ogleby contrived to head over from a yard out. Prychynenko also hit a terrific free kick from 22 yards that the keeper touched over.

Overall, a good performance with excellent contributions from Walker, Robinson and MOTM  Robert Ogleby.

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25-07-10 Hearts U19s v Raith Rovers U19s

A composite Hearts U19 and U17 side featuring several trialists beat a Raith Rovers U19 side 2-0 at Peffermill today.

Hearts won comfortably in the end but until they scored their first goal just before the half hour the game was pretty even. Indeed they could have gone behind in the first minute when Raith hit the post following a goalmouth scramble.

The first goal was scored by Chris Tobin who had the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net from the edge of the box when the Raith keeper spilled a through ball under pressure from Morton. The 2nd followed a couple of minutes later when Callum Patterson picked the ball up on halfway, beat a defender, ran in on goal and slid the ball easily past the keeper into the net. Hearts squandered a few chances late on as they started to dominate possession when the Raith side tired.

Hearts starting line up was:
Hamilton
Christie McKay Murdoch McHattie
Paterson Snapkauskas Kane Tobin O\’Hara
Morton
Multiple subs used including Carswell, Saunderson, King and Carrick

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01-08-10 – Coldstream  v Hearts U19s

Hearts U19s plus overage Dutch trialist, Jonathon Toto comfortably beat East of Scotland league side Coldstream 7-1 tonight.

Darren Murray fielded a strong side for the game that was part of Coldstream\’s civic week celebrations.

Fairley
Mullen, McCormack (Murdoch), Hamilton, Trialist
Walker (Ogleby) Robinson Prychynenko (Kane) Holt (Snapkauskas) D Smith (Morton)
Toto

After an even first 15 mins, Coldstream\’s initial enthusiasm wore off as Hearts dominated possession and started playing through them with pace and guile. Hearts led 5-0 by the break and scored a sixth 2 mins into the 2nd half, before taking their foot off the pedal. Multiple subs followed but didn\’t have much effect as the game got a bit scrappy. Hearts scored a 7th with 15 mins to go before Coldstream got a consolation with the last kick of the ball (after a howler by Fairley).

The goals came as follows

1-0 Toto scored from close in after a cross by Walker from the right

2-0 Toto scored from close in after a cross by Walker from the left, following a short corner.

3-0 Dave Smith looped a header over the keeper after a cross by Walker from the left

4-0 Prychynenko netted a rebound from 15 yards after the keeper could only parry a great shot from Walker from 25 yards

5-0 The Trialist LB scored from a rebound to the edge of the box after the keeper could only knock another Walker drive onto the woodwork

6-0 Holt scored after a good run ending up with a one-two with Toto at the edge of the box

7-0 Ogleby scored with a run and low shot past the keeper after being put through by the Trialist LB

7-1 Crawford scored easily for the hosts after a Fairley made a hash of a quick free kick which was played straight to a Coldstream player at the edge of the box.

Another good outing for the youngsters, with the midfield playing some terrific stuff with short passing and movement at pace. They created many more opportunities with Holt, Walker, Robinson, Prychynenko, Toto and Morton all having good efforts saved or shot just wide. Mullen also put in some great crosses. The Trialist LB also had a very good  game following  a similar display against Edinburgh University last weekend..

Jim Jefferies was there and would have been impressed by the performances of Holt, Robinson, Prychynenko and MOTM Jamie Walker.

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06-08-10 Hearts U19s v Newcastle United Academy

Darren Murray’s U19 side put in another terrific performance as they beat Newcastle United’s Academy side 6-1, a score that could easily have been more emphatic.

Hearts lineup:
Fairley
Mullen McCormack Hamilton Trialist
Walker Robinson (Snapkauskas) Prychynenko (Kane) Holt D Smith
Ogleby (Morton)

Newcastle could have taken the lead in the first minute after their striker found himself with a clear opening at the edge of the box but his shot was weak and easily saved by Connor Fairley. However within a minute Hearts could have had two goals themselves as Colin Hamilton headed a Fraser Mullen corner goalwards for their keeper to make a great save down to his left. From the resultant corner Jamie McCormack headed against the bar, again from Mullen\’s cross.

Fairley then made a good save low to his right before Hamilton had another header from a Mullen corner cleared off the line. Hearts continued to press and McCormack then had a header cleared of the line, yet again from a Mullen corner.

After 35 minutes Hearts finally went ahead through Ogleby who was played in by Jason Holt after running at the defence with pace. The lead was short lived however as McCormack conceded a needless free kick outside the box which was deflected away for a corner. The corner was flicked on at the near post and the Newcastle no. 10 reacted quickest to thump the ball home from 6 yards.

It was 1-1 at half time and I\’m sure that Hearts felt that they should have been ahead as they had a raft of shots from free kicks and open play that missed the target by varying degrees.

Five minutes into the 2nd period saw Hearts regain the lead from a Denys Prychynenko free kick from 25 yards out. It was probably his worst strike of the day but the keeper misjudged his dive as the ball bounced over him.

Hearts really started to dominate possession, territory and chances after the 2nd goal. Ten minutes into the half Jamie Walker scored his first of the season with a dribble and shot from the edge of the box. Prychynenko then hit the bar with a shot from outside the area, as the chances became more frequent.

The fourth goal came from a rasping angled drive from Ogleby as Walker cleverly created space for the big striker. Four became five when Holt scored with 15 minutes to go with a rocket shot from the edge of the box that was applauded by the 1st team who stopped to watch after their morning training session. Hearts then introduced their first substitute, Jordan Morton, who quickly marked his presence by cracking a left foot drive off the bar. A sixth goal followed with 5 minutess to go when a great Mullen cross found Jamie Walker unmarked 8 yards out and he headed home easily.

Overall a great performance with their teamwork, passing, movement and pace, a joy to watch.

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08-08-10 Scotland U17s in Nordic Cup (Finland)

Hearts were represented in the Scotland squad by keeper Jack Hamilton and central defender Scott Campbell.  The young Scots played four games against Sweden, Norway, Faroe Islands and Iceland  over a period of six days and came out of the tournament with a creditable record of one win, two draws and one defeat.

Jack started in three games while Scott started two matches and came on as sub in a third.

Star of the tournament for Scotland was Celtic’s Islam Feruz who scored six goals including a hat-trick against the Faroes.

Match Reports are available here  (external link)

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21-08-10 Hearts U19 5-0 St Mirren U19

Hearts U19s started their season at Riccarton this morning with an emphatic 5-0 win over St Mirren in blustery conditions. The match started somewhat scrappily but Hearts increasingly dominated possession as the half progressed with Ogleby just failing to get on the end of a couple of crosses from Mullen.  Holt forced a great save from the St Mirren goalkeeper when he broke through their defence.

Hearts finally broke the deadlock after 25 minutes when the ball was passed to Jamie Walker who just outside the box hit a shot which look to take a slight deflection which wrong-footed the goalkeeper. Hearts went 2-0 on 35 minutes when Jordan Morton cut inside from the right touch line to just outside the box where he unleashed a curling shot into the top left corner of the goal. Two minutes later Hearts went 3-0 up with a shot from Robert Ogleby from just inside the left corner of the box.

Hearts went close again when Morton lobbed the goalkeeper but the ball was cleared off the line. Hearts did get a 4th goal just before half time when Ogleby raced through on to a through ball, drew out the goalkeeper, then passed it over to Morton who had an easy finish.

Ogleby went off injured to be replaced by Billy King early in the 2nd half, with Darren reorganising his formation with Jamie Walker up front. Walker then won a free kick just outside the box. Denis Prychynenko stepped up and slot the ball away for Hearts 5th. The match subsequently petered out with few chances for either side

Overall, a great start of the season for the U19s,  with keeper Conner Fairley not having to make a save of note. MOTM  goes to Denys Prychynenko for both his goals and his general play which was top notch throughout.

Fairley
Mullen McCormack Hamilton McHattie
Morton Holt Smith Prychynenko Walker
Ogleby (King)

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22/08/10 – Special notice for Hearts Youth Development Monthly Draw participants

It is important that we at the Youth Development maintain an up to date list of contributors addresses to which we can forward both correspondence (newsletters) and major prizes from the club draw as they become due.

At present our records show individuals for whom we either have no known address, or the address held has seen mail returned by the GPO “not at this address”.

HYDC as a group are keen to update their records so by issuing this listing we hope that those concerned who think it may relate to them would contact us through our new website at www.hydc.co.uk or contact alexjones@hydc.co.uk

List of Prize Draw Number, Name and former address

37 A Frame/S Harvie. 50/2 Balbirnie Place, Edinburgh EH12 5JL
50 David J Gardiner. 2nd/L7 Meadowbank Place, Edinburgh EH8 7AW
110 A Miller. 68 Buckstone Crescent, Edinburgh EH10 6TS
188 S A Webster. 57 Gilmerton Road, Edinburgh EH17 7JB
265 Derek Grant 119/3 Hutchison Road, Edinburgh EH14 1RE
247 D A Robertson 87 Sunnybank, London SE25 4TJ

List of Prize Draw Number, and Names only
1 C (Christine) R Smith
2 J (John) R Anderson
16 R Martin
44 T Campbell
96 I R & P MacDonald
98 RR & PM Mackay
114 AJ King
124 JD & U Montgomery
156 TW & GF Ritchie
159 WT & JL Guthrie
167 JP Lambert
180 AM & S Waddell
183 WD Waterson
224 DR Wilson
235 S Anderson
321 W A Skillen

Please help us if you think you are the individual concerned and provide an updated address, and email where appropriate.

Thanks

Alex Jones (Treasurer).

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28-08-10 Hearts U19 6-0 Kilmarnock U19

Hearts continued their excellent form of last week, cruising to a 6-0 win over Kilmarnock and dominating possession for much of the game.

Darren Murray’s side showed a couple of changes due to injury, with Shaun Hill coming in for Kevin McHattie at left back and Billy King replacing Rob Ogleby.

Hearts quickly got themselves into their passing rythym and it was no surprise when they went ahead after 8 minutes with a low shot by Dave Smith from the edge of the box. Hearts put together a passing move of around 20 passes in the lead up to the goal.

Jordan Morton almost made it 2-0 five minutes later when he crashed a left foot shot of the bar. The ball fell to Jason Holt who perhaps should have done better than knock the rebound over the bar. The second goal was only delayed another five minutes when Morton got his sights spot on this time, with another sweet strike from 20 yards that flew into the top corner.

Hearts continued to play at the same level and Jamie Walker put them 3-0 up after 26 minutes when he rode a challenge at the edge of the box and did well to stay on his feet to slam the ball past the keeper from 8 yards.

The fourth goal came after 35 minutes when a Fraser Mullen corner found Shaun Hill beyond the back post and he finished well with a shot into the far corner.

4-0 at HT and the score flattered Kilmarnock.

The first 20 minutes of the 2nd half was more even as Hearts lost their passing and movement, much to the annoyance of Darren Murray. However they scored a fifth goal after 65 minutes from Jason Holt, who made a great run to get onto the end of a long ball from Mullen into the right channel. Jason finished coolly with a shot across the keeper. The goal settled Hearts once again and they gradually got back to their passing game.

The sixth goal came five minutes from time when Jamie Walker pounced of a bit of slack play in the centre of the Killie defence, taking the ball round the keeper and finishing from a tight angle.

Overall , another fine performance from (an understrength?) side. Best performances for Hearts were from Colin Hamilton, Jordan Morton (1st half) and Jason Holt (2nd half).

Their next game will probably be a bit more challenging when they play Celtic at home on 11th September.

Hearts lineup
Fairley
Mullen, McCormack, Hamilton, Hill
Morton (Kane), Holt, Prychynenko, D Smith, King (Tobin)
Walker

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31-08-10 Five players out on loan to EoS sides

Five of the younger members of Darren Murray’s U19 side have gone out on loan to East of Scotland League teams, until the end of the year to gain experience and get game play behind then.  This will stand them in good stead when the players rejoin to the U19 side in January.  The players who have gone on loan are centre back, Brad McKay, left back, Murray Christie, and midfielders, Dale O’Hara, Chris Kane and Chris Tobin.

Hearts also announced the signing of left back Kevin McHattie from Dunfermline Athletic. Kevin played for Scotland U17s last season.

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31-08-10 New U19 Signing Announced

Kevin McHattie (pictured right) is the latest player to join Darren Murray’s U19 squad.

Having featured as a trialist left back in the the U19s pre-season games, Kevin impressed sufficiently that he has joined Hearts U19s on a permanent basis.  He made his competitive debut for Hearts in the 5-0 win against St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank U19 League on 21st August.

Kevin was previously with Dunfermline Athletic having started out there at eight years old after being spotted by Bert Paton in schools football.

Kevin was a Scotland U17 internationalist last season, featuring in all three group matches in the UEFA U17 Championship.

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03-09-10 U19s injury blow

The U19 side suffered an injury blow with the news that Jamie Walker (pictured right) has suffered ligament damage. Jamie is due to go for a scan early next week and could be out for around 10 weeks.

I think we’d all like to wish Jamie a speedy recovery.

On a happier note, Rob Ogleby will resume training on Monday and should be fit for the visit of Celtic on Saturday 11th September.

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05-09-10 Lauder 0-12 Hearts U19s

The U19s had little more than a training exercise against the local amateur side in the Borders sunshine this afternoon, winning 12-0 in a canter.

Hearts lineup was
Fairley (Carswell)
Mullen McCormack Murdoch (McKay) Kaputas (Christie)
Morton Holt Prychynenko Snapkauskas (Kane) Smith
King (O\’Hara)

The goals came at regular intervals with the scorers being Holt, Morton(3), King, Prychynenko(2), Kaputas, Snapkauskas, Kane(2), Smith. The pick of the goals was a exhibition style flick round his standing leg by Denis Prychnenko.

I think it must be about 30 years since Hearts last played here with a young trialist in their lineup, John Robertson. Let\’s hope it\’s a good omen for one of these lads.

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11-09-10  Hearts U19s 0-1 Celtic U19s

Hearts unbeaten start to the season came to an end this morning as they lost 1-0 to a James Keatings goal for Celtic in the 46th minute. Hearts missed a great opportunity to go ahead after 30 minutes when Fraser Mullen saw his penalty well saved by the Celtic keeper.

Darren Murray brought back Rob Ogleby and Kevin McHattie after missing out in the previous game.  Jamie Walker, Scott Robinson and Shaun Hill were all unavailable due to injury.

Hearts started brightly with Morton having a left foot shot saved, then Prychynenko tested the keeper again with a free kick within the first 3 minutes.  It was Celtic who came closest when an angle shot from the left hit the outside of Fairley’s post after 13 mins.

Hearts continued to enjoy good possession and created more chances with Morton hitting the side net before Hamilton hit the bar with a header from a Mullen corner.

Hearts then missed a great chance to go ahead from the spot on the half hour when a Prychynenko free kick was handled above head height in the wall. Fraser Mullen hit the ball hard and low to the keeper’s right but he made a great diving stop.

Celtic went ahead just a minute after the break, when the U19s top scorer James Keatings created a yard of space at the edge of the box and shot low past Fairley. Ten minutes later Celtic then went close to getting a 2nd with a header against the bar that the Hearts defence were happy to scramble away.

Hearts were seeing less possession in the 2nd half, although they were well in the game.  There were few chances being created but Morton saw his shot from the left touched onto the post and away for a corner.  Celtic managed to kill the game effectively in the last few minutes and Fairley made a couple of good stops in the last 5 minutes.  Morton had one last chance in stoppage time but his shot went wide.

In the final minute of the game, goal scorer Keatings got a straight red for kicking out at Morton after he himself was fouled.

Hearts deserved something out the game after their first half performance, but it was not to be.  Both teams look as if they will be challenging for the U19 honours this season.

Best for Hearts were McCormack, Mullen and my MOTM, Jason Holt.

Hearts lineup (4-5-1): Fairley, Mullen McCormack Hamilton McHattie, Morton Holt Prychynenko Smith King(Patterson), Ogleby

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16-09-10 Scotland U17s UEFA Championship Qualifying Round

Hearts Jack Hamilton has been included in the squad to represent Scotland at the 10th UEFA Under-17 Championship first qualifying round between 17th and 22nd September.

Scotland will travel to Luxembourg where they will take on their hosts, Macedonia and Switzerland. You can view the full match schedule and standings here (external link)

Update 17-09-10 Scotland 1-0 Macedonia

Update 17-09-10 Scotland 2-1 Luxembourg

Scotland therefore progress to the Elite Qualifying round with a game to spare.

Update 22/09/10 Scotland 0-0 Switzerland with Jack on the bench.

Goalkeepers
Jack Hamilton Heart of Midlothian
James Wightman Celtic

Defenders
Joseph Chalmers Celtic
Jack Grimmer Aberdeen
Steven Logan Newcastle United
Stuart Urquhart Rangers
Mohammed Yaqub Celtic
James Thomson Dundee United

Midfielders
Lewis Kidd Celtic
John Heron Celtic
Craig Slater St Mirren
Lewis McLeod Rangers
Liam Polworth Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Connor McVey Queen’s Park

Forwards
Islam Feruz Celtic
Matthew Kennedy Kilmarnock
Lee Erwin Motherwell
Thomas Reilly St Mirren

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17-09-10 Scotland U19s UEFA Championship Qualifying Round

Hearts Jason Holt and Scott Robinson have been included in the squad to represent Scotland at the UEFA Under-19 Championship first qualifying round between 23rd September and 4th October.

Scotland will travel to Estonia where they will face their hosts, Liechtenstein and Norway. You can view the full match schedule and standings here (external link)

28-09-10 Update Jason Holt played the full 90 minutes for Scotland in their opening tie as they comfortably beat Liechtenstein 7-0 in the first match of their qualifying group.  Scott Robinson missed out on the trip due to injury. Scotland’s next game is against hosts Estonia on Thursday 30th Sep. Estonia won their opening match 2-0 against Norway. Match Report (external link)

30-09-10 Update Scotland won their 2nd game 2-1 against Estonia. Match Report (external link)

03-10-10 Update Scotland lost their final game 4-2 against Norway with Jason making a late substitute appearance. Scotland ultimately finished 3rd in the group despite having the best goal difference and goals scored record, but may still progress as a best 3rd placed team. Match Report (external link)

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 18-09-10  Dundee Utd U19s 0-0 Hearts U19s

Hearts and Utd fought out a goalless draw at St Andrews University this morning despite dominating possession. Both sides ended up with 10 men as the young ref lost the place, going card happy in the 2nd half and that wasn\’t the worst of his decisions.

Hearts made one change from last Saturday with Aaron Murdoch coming in at CB and Jamie McCormack replacing Billy King in midfield.

Hearts just didn\’t have their shooting boots on today as a series of half chances came and went with a mix of snatched or wayward shots, with Morton most guilty with at least half a dozen efforts going high wide and not so handsome.

Dave Smith and Jason Holt came closest in the first half, with the former knocking the ball just over after controlling the ball well on his chest. and Holt at least testing the keeper with a snap snop when under pressure from a defender.

Hearts had the wind behind them in the second half and shots started raining in from Morton, Ogleby and Smith, before the ref took centre stage midway through the half.

He had already booked a couple of people for dissent earlier in the match before Colin Hamilton needlessly found himself on the wrong side of the ref.  After awarded a free kick, he complained about the challenge by the Utd forward and was booked for dissent.  Before the free kick was taken he was shown a second yellow again for saying something out of turn, leaving Hearts with 10 men for the last 20 mins. McCormack dropped back to CB leaving four across midfield.

The dismissal didn\’t change the flow of the game any as Hearts continued to press for the opening goal.  With around 8 mins left the ref awarded Hearts a penalty after Morton was tripped at the edge of the box. However, the female assistant ref, decided otherwise and called the ref over, only for him to give a bounce ball at the edge of the box. I can’t work out the sequence of events that led to it being a bounce ball. It could have been any of a penalty, a free kick at the edge of the box, a goal kick or a corner, but not a bounce ball. Anyway, Morton was booked, not for a dive, but for protesting against the decision.

United then went down to 10 men themselves as their no 8 was booked for dissent for the 2nd time as the refereeing disintegrated into farcical proportions.

There was still time for Morton to finally get a shot on target, which the keeper did well to touch onto the post, but Ogleby and Holt were unable to force the rebound over the line.

Hearts will be disappointed to have dropped two points today, in a game that they dominated throughout. I can\’t recall Fairley making any save of note and was only tested by a rebound that came off his own defender.

Good performances for Hearts from Mullen and the centre three midfielders, but I thought that Hearts biggest threat today came from Dave Smith.

Hearts line-up: 4-5-1  Fairley,Mullen, Murdoch, Hamilton, McHattie, Morton, McCormack, Prychynenko, Holt, Smith, Ogleby

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25-09-10 Hearts U19s 4-3 Inverness C.T.

Hearts got back to winning ways this afternoon, with arguably their poorest performance of the season as they needed a stoppage time winner to win 4-3.

Hearts made a couple of enforced changes with Shaun Hill and Billy King coming into the side, replacing the suspended Colin Hamilton and Jason Holt on Scotland duty.

The normal quick passing game was absent early on as the ball was knocked up front a bit quicker, but it was ICT who created the first couple of chances, forcing Connor Fairley to make good stops. However it was Hearts who went ahead after 20 minutes through Rob Ogleby, who used his pace to good effect in closing down and dispossessing a defender close to the bye line before beating the keeper and knocking the ball home from a tight angle.

Hearts 2nd goal came from the spot after 38 minutes after Billy King was fouled. Denys Prychynenko took the penalty knocking it high to the keepers right. The lead was short lived though as ICT scored 3 minutes later from close in as the Hearts defence went to sleep at a corner..

Hearts stepped up the pace immediately after the break and Olgleby, Hill and Morton all had decent efforts at goal as started to dominate the game for the first time. It was no surprise when Hearts got their third goal in 52 minutes and again Prychynenko scored from a set piece. This time it was a thunderous free kick 30 yards the flew past the keeper without him moving.

The game then settled into a quiet spell with Hearts looking comfortable with a two goal cushion. However ICT had other ideas. After 78 minutes some simple passes opened up the centre of the Hearts defence and the ICT striker struck the ball past Fairley from the edge of the box. ICT continued to press and got their reward with 3 minutes to go, again from a set piece. The free kick from the left was swung in and bundled home from 4 yards with the Hearts defence spectating.

ICT thought they had salvaged something from the game but it was not to be. Three minutes into stoppage time, a cross from Fraser Mullen found Billy King in the inside left position, King did well to disguise to shoot and instead rolled the ball into the path of 15 year old substitute Callum Patterson who scored from 10 yards, to much delight from the Hearts side.

Darren Murray will probably be unhappy with the way the goals were lost and the failure to pass the ball as accurately as they normally do. Difficult to pick a MOTM for Hearts. Rob Ogleby worked hard before going off injured and both full backs did OK.

Hearts line up  Fairley, Mullen Hill (Snapkauskas) Murdoch McHattie,  Morton McCormack Prychynenko King Smith, Ogleby (Patterson)

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16-10-10 Hearts U19s 0-7 Hamilton Academical U19s

Hearts suffered an embarrassing defeat at Riccarton this morning, going down 7-0 to an excellent Hamilton Accies side for whom Jordan Fitzpatrick was outstanding.

Darren Murray fielded his strongest available side as they resumed their U19 campaign, but quickly found themselves behind when Hamilton scored in the first minute following a corner on the left.    In 9 minutes Hearts were 2-0 down as the Hamilton striker cut in from the left and fired in a good shot that went in off the far post.  Things got worse after 17 minutes with a similar goal, with the Hamilton striker cutting in from the left and firing a curling shot high past Fairley’s left hand.

Hearts tried to get back into the game but created few opportunities, the best of which was a free kick from Denys Prychynenko that was tipped over the bar.

If Hearts harboured thoughts of getting back into the game in the 2nd half, they were quickly extinguished and Hamilton went 4 up after 50 minutes.  Fairley made a good stop from the initial shot, but had no chance with the rebound.  Accies went nap after 58 minutes following a quick break down the left.  It was 6-0 after 65 minutes after another fine shot.   Hearts embarrassment was complete after 78 minutes when Fairley slipped as he come out to collect a through ball and the Hamilton striker was able to float the ball over the stranded keeper and into the net for Accies seventh.

Darren Murray will have some harsh words for his team when he calls them in for extra training on Sunday morning.

Hearts line up
Fairley,
Mullen McCormack Hamilton McHattie
Morton (Paterson) Holt Prychynenko Smith (Carrick) King (Murdoch)
Ogleby

Hamilton Scorers: Jordan Kirkpatrick (3), Mikey Devlin, Euan Lindsay, John Marsden and David Hopkirk

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23-10-10 Hearts U19s 5-0 Motherwell U19s

Hearts returned to winning ways this morning with a convincing 5-0 win over Motherwell at Riccarton.   The key moment was when Motherwell’s keeper conceded a penalty and was sent off for a professional foul in the lead up to Hearts opening goal.

Darren Murray made one change in his starting lineup from the previous week with Callum Patterson getting his first competitive start with the U19s in place of Billy King who took a place on the bench.

The opening phase of the game was fairly even with few chances created by either side.  Hearts came closest to a goal with Patterson just failing to get on the end of a Rob Ogleby cross and Ogleby himself forcing the Motherwell keeper into a good save at his near post.  The pivotal moment in the first half came in 39 minutes when Rob Ogleby was brought down as he went to walk the ball round the keeper, who was sent off for a professional foul.  Motherwell were forced to sacrifice an outfield player as they brought on their substitute keeper. The penalty was taken 2 minutes later with Denys Prychynenko converting from the spot although the keeper did get a hand on it.

The game was effectively over just two minutes after the break. Jordan Morton made a good run down the left and his low cross was knocked in at the near post by the onrushing Ogleby.

The Motherwell heads went down a little as Hearts started to pass the ball around and dominate possession.  The 3rd goal came after 54 minutes with the goal of the game as Patterson controlled a pass from Morton on his chest and hit an unstoppable left foot volley past the keeper.

Things got worse for Motherwell in 67 minutes when Kevin McHattie capitalised on a misunderstanding between a defender and the keeper, by chipping the ball neatly into the far corner of the net from wide on the left.

The final goal came from a trademark Prychynenko free kick from the edge of the box, but the Motherwell coach was unhappy that the original free kick had been brought forward 10 yards after encroachment from the wall.

Hearts will be happy to get back to winning ways in what in the end proved to be a comfortable victory.  MOTM for Hearts was Callum Patterson with a good shift put in by Prychynenko and McHattie.

Hearts line up
Fairley (J Hamilton),
Mullen McCormack C Hamilton McHattie
Patterson (King) Holt Prychynenko Morton Smith
Ogleby (Hill)

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30-10-10 Hibernian U19s 0-4 Hearts U19s

Hearts produced a dominant display to trounce Hibs 4-0 at East Mains  this afternoon.

Darren Murray was able to welcome back Scott Robinson in midfield following his hamstring injury.  After a quiet first half he became one of the more influential players in the 2nd half, before being subbed after the 4th goal with 5 minutes to go.

Hearts edged the 1st half in which there were relatively few chances. Hearts went ahead after 8 minutes with a trademark 25 yard free kick from Prychynenko, almost identical to last week\’s effort against Motherwell. He then proceeded to test the keeper again, this time from 35 yards which the keeper pushed away for a corner. Hearts next effort at goal was a stinging effort from Dave Smith from which the keeper made a good save.

The second goal came after 38 minutes when Morton released Ogleby down the right and his cross was met at the back post on the half-volley from Robinson who gave the keeper no chance from 8 yards out. Hibs only real effort of the half came on 45 minutes from a Scott Smith free kick that Fairley held comfortably.

The second half saw Hibs push 2 then 3 up front, but Hearts started linking their play well and passed the ball better. It was no surprise when the 3rd goal came from Smith after 59 mins when McHattie set him up 10 yards out with a cut back from the bye line. Hearts then really started to dominate possession through Holt, Robinson and Prychynenko and Hibs resorted to some hefty challenges.

Hibs did get the ball in the net midway through the 2nd half but it was ruled offside.

Prychynenko gave the Hibs defence another warning from a free kick that left a Hibs defender clutching his ribs for the next few minutes. The fourth goal wasn’t delayed much longer.  Robinson was fouled 25 yards out after 85 minutes and Denys stepped up once again, this time with a cracking strike high into the corner of the net.

Hearts made a couple of late chances but the 4-0 result was well deserved. Best for Hearts were the two central defenders in the first half and the midfield three in the second. I\’ll give my MOTM to Denys for his two goals, but Jamie McCormack ran him a close 2nd for being rock solid at the back.

A word of praise for the ref (Michael Banks) who I thought handled the game well and kept talking to the players throughout.

Hearts line up
Fairley,
Mullen McCormack Hamilton McHattie
Morton (Patterson) Holt Prychynenko Robinson (Hill) Smith
Ogleby

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06-11-10 Hearts U19s 4-0 Dundee United U19s

Hearts cruised into the 4th round of the SFA Youth Cup with a 4-0 demolition of Dundee United at Tynecastle. Rob Ogleby was the star of the show with a hat-trick plus an assist for the fourth goal by Scott Robinson.

Darren Murray, not surprisingly, fielded an unchanged side after last week\’s 4-0 thumping of Hibs at East Mains.

Hearts started the game well, retaining possession but without making too many openings, although both Jordan Morton and Dave Smith at least forced the United keeper to make a couple of saves. The opening goal came after 21 minutes following a run and shot from Smith which was deflected off a defender into the path of Ogleby who had a simple task to divert the ball into the net from six yards.

United\’s only real chance of the game came after 40 minutes when Fairley made a good diving stop to his right from a shot from 12 yards. Hearts then went close themselves a couple of minutes later with a Denys Prychynenko free kick that went just over the bar.

At half time it was 1-0 with Hearts probably a little disappointed to be just the one goal in front.

Prychynenko had a couple of great efforts early in the 2nd half, one from a 25 yard free kick and the other with a shot from the edge of the box, both of which were well saved by the keeper. For the next 10 minutes United threw men forward and enjoyed a bit more possession, looking threatening at times but without actually testing Fairley. However, it was United who contributed to their own downfall midway through the half when a sliced clearance fell to Rob Ogleby on the right and his cross was side-footed home by Scott Robinson.

The 2nd goal settled Hearts once again and they resumed their domination of possession. Jason Holt missed a good chance by missing the target from 12 yards and Dave Smith had a shot tipped round the post before Rob Ogleby got his 2nd goal in 74 minutes with a turn and shot, in off the post, from 10 yards out. Rob went on to complete his hat-trick on 84 minutes when he latched onto a pass from Callum Patterson to fire an angled shot past the helpless keeper.

Best for Hearts were Mullen, Hamilton and McHattie while the MOTM has to go Rob Ogleby for his 3 goals and one assist (despite not having one of his better games overall).

Hearts Line-up
Fairley
Mullen McCormack Hamilton McHattie
Morton (Patterson) Robinson Prychynenko Holt Smith (Hill)
Ogleby

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13-11-10 Hearts U19s 5-2 Aberdeen U19s

Hearts eased to a comfortable win over Aberdeen this afternoon after an excellent first half saw them reach half time 3-0 up. Some complacency set in during the second half and they were pulled back to 3-1 and 4-2 before wrapping up the points with a fifth goal from the spot.  Scorers for Hearts were Smith, Ogleby, Robinson and Prychynenko (2, 1pen)

Hearts fielded an unchanged starting XI for the 3rd week after successive 4-0 wins over Hibs and Dundee United

Hearts went 1-0 up after 16 minutes when Smith drove in from the left and had his shot blocked, but Ogleby reacted quickly to play the ball back to Smith who scored with an angled shot across the keeper.

Hearts proceeded to go two up in 36 minutes when a McCormack ball into the right channel found Ogleby who chipped the keeper from a tight angle.

The 3rd goal followed just two minutes later when another McCormack long ball found Robinson, who neatly dribbled past a defender at the edge of the box  and he simply passed the ball into the net.

Hearts almost had a fourth just before the break, when Ogleby again got on the end of a McCormack through ball, but his effort struck the keeper’s right hand post.

Hearts paid for some slackness at the beginning of the 2nd half by conceding a needless penalty after 51 minutes when Hamilton upended an Aberdeen attacker near the bye line.  The penalty taker sent Fairley  the wrong way from the spot.

It could have been a 2nd for Aberdeen if Fairley hadn’t made a terrific save low to his right on the hour.  However Hearts put the game beyond Aberdeen after 65 minutes when Holt was fouled 22 yards out and up stepped Prychynenko to fire in his 6th free kick of the season.

Aberdeen got themselves a life-line after 76 minutes with a good shot from the edge of the box to make it 4-2, but then conceded a needless penalty themselves when Patterson was also fouled close to the bye line.  Prychynenko then thumped the ball high into the net from the spot in the manner of a young Drew Busby.

All in all, a good performance and result that moves then two points clear at the top of the table, although both Celtic & Rangers have games in hand.  Best for Hearts were McCormack who was outstanding in the first half, while Morton, Holt and Robinson did some good work in the 2nd.

Lineup
Fairley
Mullen McCormack Hamilton McHattie
Morton Robinson Prychnenko Holt Smith (Patterson)
Ogleby (Hill)

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 10-11-10 George Nicolson

It is with deep sadness and regret that we have to intimate the death of George Nicolson, chairman of The Hearts Youth Development Committee, who died of cancer at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital, on 10th November 2010.

It was a measure of the respect in which George was held that his funeral service was attended by the Hearts Academy Director, John Murray, the U19s Coach, Darren Murray, all the U19 and a number of U17 players and the full HYDC.

George was diagnosed with cancer nine years ago, but despite his illness he continued to dedicate much of his life to his love of Hearts.  As chairman of HYDC he was eminently successful in raising funds through his leisure time interests and was pivotal in the success of the HYDC Golf Day and the Annual Burns Supper.

George will be sadly missed by all and thoughts and sympathies of the full HYDC go to his wife Margaret and family.

It is the intention of HYDC that a memorial to George will be created.  The form that will take has yet to be agreed but it is likely to be a sporting trophy for one of the HYDC sponsored events.

George’s two sons, Ewan and Barry attended HYDC’s November meeting and were given invitations to join the committee. I am pleased to say that both accepted. Their future presence and input will be welcomed by all.

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20-11-10 Hearts U19s 1-0 St Johnstone U19s

Hearts U19s continued their winning ways this afternoon with a narrow 1-0 win against St. Johnstone with a fine finish from Jason Holt. Hearts fully merited their win and would have won more easily had they not spurned two or three good chances. The weather conditions weren\’t conducive to good football but Hearts were the better side in possession over the piece and created the better chances.

Darren Murray made one enforced change to the side with Shaun Hill coming in for the injured Kevin McHattie at left back.

Hearts line up
Fairley
Mullen, McCormack, Hamilton Hill
Morton Holt Prychynenko Robinson Smith (Patterson)
Ogleby.

It took Hearts twenty minutes or so to subdue their visitors, as St Johnstone started the game at a high tempo and competed strongly for every ball. However, Hearts coped well with the challenge and created a couple of half chances for Ogleby and Robinson in the early stages, but it was 30 minutes before either keeper was tested when Robinson forced the St Johnstone keeper into a good blocking stop at his near post.

Hearts went ahead after 35 minutes when a long ball into the right channel from McCormack found Jason Holt who saw the keeper a few yards off his line and flighted a lovely chip over the head of the keeper and into the far corner of the net.

St Johnstone had one chance before half time but the attempt to lob Fairley from distance was weak and Fairley was able to take a few steps backwards and make a comfortable save.

The second half started like the first with both sides working hard. In 47 minutes Robinson mad a driving run through the middle of the Saints defence, but his shot was diverted wide off the keeper\’s legs. Hearts ten settled down and had the majority of possession, but St Johnstone looked dangerous on the break as the half progressed. Morton, Robinson and Prychynenko created further half chances as the weather deteriorated and Saints had one effort on goal superbly touched around the post by Fairley as time started to run down.

Hearts coped well in the last few minutes keeping the play in the Saints half and saw the game out successfully to gain a deserved victory and 3 points.

Best for Hearts were Jamie McCormack with a commanding performance at the back and Jason Holt for his goal and forward runs from midfield.

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22-11-10 Hearts Youth Development Committee (HYDC) Press Launch

Today marks the official launch of shirt sponsorship of the Hearts Academy Teams at all age groups from U11 to U17, by HYDC.co.uk.

The purpose of the sponsorship of the youth teams is to raise awareness among parents, friends and supporters of the work carried out by HYDC in raising funds to support the development of young talent throughout the Academy.

The HYDC was established in 1991 at the behest of the then Manager, Joe Jordan, who had the foresight to see that if Hearts could invest more money in youth development, then it would benefit the club in the longer term.  That aim has not changed over the years and a succession of dedicated supporters have volunteered their time and money to that end.

While money is tight across Scottish Football, any funds that can be raised specifically to support the development of young players is most welcome. Hearts continue to finance the day to day running of the Academy and pay the wages and expenses of the full time ground staff, coaches and other employees, but the funds raised by HYDC are exclusively available to the Academy Director to spend as he sees fit.

In the last few months, money raised by the committee has allowed more than 50 kids aged between 10 and 14 plus their coaches to take part in a three day pre-season tournament in Northern Ireland.  Video recording and analysis equipment were purchased to assist coaches in reviewing games and enhance individual players’ performance and technique. Heart monitors were purchased using funds donated by the Heart of Midlothian Shareholders Association to aid the Sports Scientists to monitor the fitness and general health and wellbeing of the youngsters.

The website was launched at the beginning of September with the aim of providing supporters with up to date information about all the youth teams and individual players that are the future of the club, in addition to satisfying HYDC’s need to promote their fundraising activities, whether they are monthly draws or raffles, or other events such as the annual Golf Outing, Burns Supper or the prestigious Young Player of the Year Awards.

The website has received positive feedback since its launch and is attracting around 100 hits a day from a zero starting point. Some of this feedback has actually come from other clubs who don’t have such a facility.  It has already attracted donations from individuals and other organisations.  HYDC seeks to develop the website further as a key means of communication with supporters. This will ultimately facilitate improved fundraising capability for HYDC and we hope to see an increase in the funds available to the Academy Director to invest in the future success of the club.

Eric Clelland

HYDC

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11-12-10 Kilmarnock U19s 3-2 Hearts U19s

Hearts U19s suffered a disappointing 2-3 reverse away to bottom of the table Kilmarnock this morning. Hearts had the bulk of the possession and chances but were profligate in front of goal. They did fight back from three goals down but it was too little too late.

Darren Murray fielded his usual side of Fairley, Mullen McCormack, Hamilton, McHattie, Morton Robinson, Prychynenko Holt, Smith (Patterson), Ogleby (King).

Hearts looked in need of a game as they started of comfortably, dominating possession, but without any urgency going forward. It was 25 minutes before Hearts tested the Killie keeper who made a good diving stop from a Smith shot. However Killie went ahead after 28 minutes when McCormack clipped the heels of the striker as he drove in towards goal. Mc Cormack was booked for the challenge, but Killie went ahead from the spot as Fairley was sent the wrong way.

Hearts almost hit back immediately when Prychynenko hit a left foot shot shot from the edge of the box just wide, with the keeper rooted to the spot. Hearts should have equalised just before half time when Ogleby headed wide from a great Mullen cross when it seemed easier to score.

Hearts started the 2nd half with a better tempo in the 2nd half with Robinson and Morton at least forcing the keeper to make saves. Prychynenko then struck a great 35 yard free kick against the post and two Hearts players managed to get in one another\’s way when trying to net the rebound from 6 yards out.

Hearts were made to pay almost immediately, when Killie went 2-0 up. Their striker cut in from the left and got the break of the ball in a challenge with Mullen and McCormack and netted with an angled shot that went in off the far post.. It got worse for Hearts two minutes later, this time the Killie player cut inside McHattie from the right and curled a superb shot into the top corner from 30 yards. The game was beginning to resemble the Hamilton game earlier in the season.

Killie were content to play out time as best they could as Darren Murray made his substitutions and committed more players forward. With 11 mins left, a long throw-in from Patterson was knocked on at the front post and Kevin McHattie netted with a neat overhead kick from 8 yards. With 9 minutes left Hearts were right back in the game from yet another 35 yard free kick special from Denys Prychynenko. This time the keeper was helpless as Denys got his radar spot on hitting the ball over the wall and into the net. (his 7th free kick goal this season).

Hearts continued to press for an equaliser, but were just unable to get anything on target from a series of testing corners and free kicks from Mullen. Their best chance was in the final minute as three players sliding in at the far post all failed to make contact on a terrific Mullen cross.

Overall it was a disappointing result against a side that Hearts had beaten comfortably early in the season. They need to ensure that their work rate matches their ability right from the start, rather than to turn up expecting to turn teams over.

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23-12-10 The Darren Murray Interview

Under 19 coach, Darren Murray gave a comprehensive interview to HYDC earlier this week, providing a mid season report on the U19s and his thoughts on a number of topical subjects affecting the club and Scottish football in general.  Eric Clelland asked the questions.

In Part 1, Darren talks about the U19 season to date.

Team Performance

Well I think that we always knew we had a good group of players and expectations were that they would develop, win games and get a winning mentality. We had a tough year last year, in terms of not winning games, because they were young and we played a lot of U17s in it.  I expected them to win more games than they would lose.

Do you actually set targets for the team at the start of the season?

I don’t do it at youth level. Once you start looking at games and say that we should have X number of points after a number of games then it becomes results driven.  I don’t think that should be the case for youth teams.

The Academy team games are deemed “non competitive“ so how do you introduce a “winning mentality”?

Don’t get me wrong, winning is very important for their development.  That’s the difference through playing with boys clubs.  The better players get taken away from the boys clubs and we try and put the emphasis on the development side. I watch youth initiative games. I’ve been a coach at youth initiative level and they are all desperate to win. Although, in my opinion it’s only done properly when their winning is done in a proper manner

At the halfway point of the season Hearts are currently 2nd behind Rangers in the SPL table. How do you feel the team has performed in the first half of the season?

I’ve been very pleased with their performance. Taking away one or two performances out of the 12 games that we have played, I think we have done exceptionally well and some performances were right up there with the best that I have ever had at the football club.  It was always going to become more difficult as the season progressed. The pre-season was fine although Newcastle United was an obstacle, but we played very well against them.  The first couple of games were great because we did really well, scoring 11 goals and not conceding any, defensively we were solid but then Jamie Walker gets injured. Make no mistake about it Jamie is a big player for the team so I felt that was a big loss.  Then looking at the Celtic game I felt that if we had scored with the penalty in the first half then, the way the game was going, I think we would have gone on to win that game.

What do you believe went wrong in the Hamilton game?

We’ve had one blip. It’s been proven by the Hamilton game and to a certain extent in the Kilmarnock game, that we are not a team that likes a break between matches. We need to keep playing. Even a two week break is too long for us and we try to organise games but we can’t always do it because of the weather. In the Hamilton game, everything they hit went in and I think we forgot about the dirty or ugly side of the game, the tackling, the 1st and 2nd balls, all these types of things.  If this team gets the dirty side of the game right then they will go on to win a lot of these games and do very well.

The team has lost each of the 3 games when they lost the first goal.  Do you have any concerns about the mental toughness of the team?

That’s certainly a bit of it. Turning the question round, every game that we have scored first in we have gone on to win. However, it is the mental side of things when they go up the ladder and play for the first team, they have got to learn to recover from setbacks. That’s something we are working on and try to replicate in training as much as you can. You may start a training game saying to the starting XI, ok you are a goal behind. You are trying all the time to replicate what happens at a weekend, but until we win from being a goal behind, it won’t be done.  I don’t really want to make too big a deal of it because then it could have a psychological affect on the players. We and the players need to work it out for ourselves and win a game from a losing position.

The league season has been unbalanced in terms of home / away fixtures. Do you think that will have a significant impact on what will be achieved by the end of the season?

Until the Kilmarnock game, I was quite happy about playing away from home.  The Dundee United game was a great case in point where we probably had 80% of the ball. We had chances to win the game but probably not enough given the amount of possession we had. That’s something that I’ve been saying to them and I’m working on them to try and get them to go forward a wee bit quicker and get support up to the forward players. We want them to pass the ball but we also know they have to get forward and games are about scoring goals.

What we tend find now is that teams coming to us sit deep making it difficult to break them down. When we go away from home, teams may have a bit more of the ball and come at us a bit more. We are the type of team that will thrive on that, because there will be spaces that we can use when we get the ball back. However, we’ll have to wait until the 2nd half of the season to see how that develops.

You have the Youth Cup tie with Hibs to be rescheduled in the New Year. I guess you personally are looking forward to the challenge, but do the players get themselves into a derby mentality and is it something you encourage?   

You can’t rest assured that any derby games that we go into we are well prepared for them. The players genuinely know this is the biggest game of the season to date. Any game against your local rivals is the biggest game. Although we’ve got some players like Denys from the Ukraine, although with a German passport, and big Rob from Coventry and we’ve got one or two lads from Glasgow, they all know that this is the game.

Is the Youth Cup a realistic target for Hearts this season?

It’s been quite a while since the Youth team at Hearts has still been involved in both the league and cup after Christmas and that’s got to be a very positive thing. I’d love for my team to win something, but the most important thing is to get the players through to the first team and I’ve never lost focus on that. If a league or a cup comes along, brilliant, I’ll be delighted for the players, because of the amount of work they actually put in, they do deserve something.  I also know that the gaffer, Billy and Lockey have been very impressed with 3 or 4 of the players.

You made an early decision to allow 5 of the 1st year U19s to go out on loan for the first half of the season? What was the thinking behind that action?  

We could have kept them here but they wouldn’t have played much. I think to put them out on loan at least they are playing regularly and they are coming back into training on a Monday morning quite happy having played at the weekend. I know how it feels to be left out and not playing for the 1st team.  I think in terms of their development they had to go out and play.

Have you been tracking their performances?

I speak to their managers and coaches regularly and I phone the players after the games. I’ve been quite impressed with the progression of one or two of them. Brad McKay has been doing very well at Penicuik Athletic. I’ve spoken to Craig their manager. He’s happy and wants to keep Brad for the rest of the season.  I know that Chris Kane has probably been the star man for Spartans Juniors in the games he’s played. I know his coach Davie Cowan very well and speak to him on a weekly basis and he’s been very complementary towards him. These are two younger kids, 17 years old, who are doing very well at that level so we just hope that they continue to do so.

The rest of them are also doing reasonably well. Young Murray Christie is at Coldstream who are having a tough time picking up points so that a learning curve for him. Dale O’Hara is out at Tynecastle and he’s been starting a lot of games. He’s getting his confidence back and you can see that at training here. Chris Tobin has been playing well with East of Scotland side Craigroyston scoring a number of goals in the process.

Individual Performances

You have a couple of new recruits to the club in your regular U19 XI in the shape of Rob Ogleby and Kevin McHattie. How do you feel that they have fitted in with the rest of the team and performed on the park?

It’s like everything else, it takes time. Being at Hearts or at Coventry and Dunfermline, no disrespect to those clubs, it’s totally different. Rob and Kevin will tell you this, that we take the development side of the players very seriously. I know that every club does, but the amount of training they now do, both football and physical, is probably more than they have ever done. It’s a wee bit of a shock to their bodies but they are getting used to it now. Rob’s done really well in what he’s really good at like strength and pace, getting in behind defenders. His hold up play and heading ability are things that we’ve targeted for him to get better at.  Kevin is slightly different from Rob in that he still has another season at U19 level and in some games he has been very good for us and in other games maybe playing on the outside of it. Defensively, they way we play at times, he’s got to learn to do certain things I’m asking him to do. It’s still work in progress with both of them, but I’m happy where we are.

Who has exceeded your expectations this season?

I think it’s got to be Denis (Prychynenko).   If there’s a laddie you would love to make it, and I believe he has a massive chance actually, it’s Denis.   The amount of work he puts in it is quite phenomenal.  At every opportunity, he will be in the indoor astro.   He would be in there all night. You have to actually physically pull him because he does so much on his own and un-coached practice for young players is one of the most important things.   As much as I have a difficult but important job when I take them into squad training, it’s individual training and un-coached practice where players go away and work on something specific like their weaker foot, or their heading, or shooting, or whatever, that time on their own working on their weaknesses gives them the best grounding.   That lad has got everyone at Hearts and all the young lads doing it through his attitude and a bit of peer pressure.

Dennis he has now hit 7 free kicks right into the top corner, near enough every one.  If he gets it on target it’s a goal.   It’s the way he hits them and it’s been practised for over a year.  He’s one of the most improved players I’ve seen.  When he first came, Anatoly Korobochka brought him over actually and we weren’t sure and I said we will take a wee chance on him because he is a good lad.   He has a really good attitude and he has just gone from strength to strength.

Who else are performing up to the standards you have set?

Jason Holt has done exceptionally well.  He is a very talented player and we think he has a big, big future.  He has been at times our best in terms of on the ball and linking up. There’s not a great deal technically wise he can get better at because he is so gifted.   Just needs to get a bit stronger and more robust and that’s something that again we are working on a daily basis.   Fraser Mullen has done well on the ball, maybe defensively he needs to tidy up a bit.   Jamie McCormack, Colin  Hamilton  there’s a number.    Jordan Morton’s done well at times.   Jordan can be a very frustrating player to coach and watch, but when he switches it on he can go past people.   Davie Smith’s another one, he’s got another year left as does Jason Holt. Whether they are with me or not I don’t know but it’s great for the future.  In addition, we have players such as Aaron Murdoch, Billy King and Callum Patterson all knocking on the door.  Indeed Callum has also scored a couple of vital goals coming off the subs bench.

I should also make a special mention of Scott Robinson. Here we have a lad that was playing and working with the first team squad and was offered the chance to go out on loan.  He decided that he would rather stay at Riccarton, even though it meant dropping back to the U19s, in an effort to develop himself further and establish himself as a top class midfielder.   I have to say that his attitude and his play since he came back have been first class.

You have had a few injuries to contend with Jamie Walker, Ryan Stewart and Shaun Hill have all been missing for extended periods.  I guess that Jamie has probably been missed more than most based on how he was performing at the start of the season. What is the position with each of them?

Well Jamie’s near enough back, he’s done his rehab.  If there were better conditions and it was grassier he would be out running with the physios in the next couple of weeks and then getting phased back into  the training so Jamie’s not far away at all.   Hopefully we will have him back for the restart on the 29th January.   All depending on the weather conditions we will get a few practice games, bounce games and hopefully he will be involved in them.  We hope to have Ryan Stewart back in training sometime in February after he completes his rehab work following a back injury that has kept him out all season.  Shaun Hill’s injury is not serious and he will be available in two or three weeks.

 Is there a possibility the Hibs match may be rescheduled before the 29th January.

Well I hope not because we gave Hibs four dates. They agreed on the last one we gave them because  their preparations weren’t right.   Well our preparations wouldn’t be right before the 29th so I wouldn’t expect that.

23-12-10 The Darren Murray Interview – Part 2

In Part 2, Darren talks about coaching,  player development, the McLeish report and more.

Training and Coaching

Tell me more about training. Talk to us through a week in the life of an U19 player.

Starting the week on Sunday, most Sundays will be their day off.   It all depends what happened at the game the day before. If I deem it fit to call them in it’s because I want to get something over to them maybe on the video or DVD, but most Sundays they will be off.  Monday morning they will come in at 8.30. They will have breakfast then we will have squad training 9.45 to 11.30.  After that they will have lunch and we do a weight session on the Monday afternoon so it’s a double session.   On a Tuesday, again in  at 8.30, breakfast, squad training 9.45 to 11.30.   We will then break they will then most of the time do individual stuff on a Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday they will be at college.   Thursday they will do squad training in the morning 9.45 to 11.30 then weights in the afternoon so again it’s a double session.    On a Friday its game preparation, so we will look at the game we are going to play, we will do our video analysis normally on a Friday so the whole week, it’s  quite a busy week.   There’s times as well that I will do triple sessions because in between on the Monday for example we will do after their weights we will maybe do a wee session in the indoor hall a wee technical session or we might do it before then so we might chuck in an extra session now and again because I think young players have got to learn the game and the more touches they have on the ball the better they become.

They say that players need to get 10,000 hours coaching during their development years if they are to make it. That’s very difficult.  Over a 10 year period that’s 1000 hours of coaching they have to get every year.

Yea that’s right it’s very difficult. What we need to do as a nation, and it’s money driven, is get our kids in when they are 8, 9 or 10 that kind of age and they have got to train more then, they must train more then.  Right now we have got Academy kids, Initiative kids that are in for two sessions a week of about one and a half hours.  That’s not enough, nowhere near enough. We need to double, if not triple that in terms of that age group and then you will see a difference in them coming through.

Celtic have set up an arrangement with St Ninians High School at Kirkintilloch where I believe they currently have 14 kids now doing double training sessions while satisfying their educational needs.  Is this something that you think that Hearts could implement?

Not really. Again that’s down to finance.  We have looked into it in terms of Edinburgh and no Edinburgh School would do that for us.  I think John Murray has already looked into that and there was real difficulty in getting a school that would do that for us.   To be fair to Celtic it’s a very great idea where you get training in the morning and afternoon for an U16 or U17 side.

What we can do is, when we know we have a player who is going to join us full time in the near future we make an arrangement with the school that allows them to train with us two days a week and spend the other three at school. Any time they get time off school like school holidays, we encourage them to come in which helps them get used to what they can expect when they finally come in full time.

All the U19 games are filmed. Do you watch the match videos yourself and get the team to review them with you?

I watch the game right through because I do the video analysis on them. There’s a clock on the top right hand corner that I can stop and start every time there is something I want to show the players. In my opinion it’s very important for young players because a picture paints 1000 words. It doesn’t matter how many times you speak to them, they always think they are right, but if you sit them down in the seminar room and show them a picture of what you are talking about then it’s very important for them to see that.

Do you get them to watch videos of top teams like the recent game between Barcelona and Real Madrid to see what they can learn from watching the best in the business?

Before that match I asked them all to watch the game if they could.  After a game like that I ask them to comment of who they thought were the best players, what systems were better and that sort of thing.

As a youth coach you need to get into the minds of the players. You have to know what makes them tick. Some of the players don’t like watching football although they are good players, but they are getting round to watching football on a regular basis. As well as watching the Barcelonas of this world they should also be watching the Scottish game. For the majority of home games, all the players are there so that they can see and learn what the 1st team are doing.

I’ve been encouraged by the sight of the U19 squad at the recent funerals of George Nicolson, the HYDC chairman, and Sinky’s as well as visiting Sinky in the hospice.  Is this something new that you have sought to encourage in terms of life skills and social responsibility?

I’ve been to a few Youth Development meetings and George was a great guy, with not a bad word to say about anyone. I just felt that it was right for the whole squad to pay their respects to George and the work that you guys do for youth development at the club. John and I wouldn’t have half the things we have without your financial support.

It’s important for young people to see that side of life as well because I think it makes them better people. Showing respect in that way and going up to see Sinky in the hospice. In some ways it’s not a nice thing to see, but that’s life and I think it makes you appreciate more what you’ve got.  I said to them to think about their own lives and that things aren’t too bad. They are in a great position where they are doing something that many kids would chop their right arms off to be able to do.

Do you provide your squad guidelines for conduct their outside the club? e.g. What’s your policy on drinking?

There’s a code of conduct in place but I think we have a good group of lads. There’s nothing to say that at times individuals could get out of hand, I think every football club has had one or two cases. There are things that if you find out about them then you can act on them. I know lots of people around Edinburgh so I can usually find out if anything untoward happens. They are under no illusions that if do find out something then there could be problems.

They are young professional footballers and they shouldn’t be drinking. I will never encourage that. They have got loads of time for that in the years to come. I do know that the squad socialises together, but I know that a lot of them don’t drink.

Player development

You have coached a number of players who have gone on to “make it” or are close to doing so. Tell me something about the abilities and development of the best players that you have coached?  

I started coaching at Hearts in 1998-99. I’ve coached Andrew Driver, Lee Wallace, Callum Elliot, Jason Thomson, Christophe Berra, and the more recent crop including Eggert Jonsson, Gary Glen, David Templeton, Ryan McGowan, Craig Thomson, Arvydas Novikovas, quite a few.

You look at David Templeton who is currently being talked about. Every day, you pick up a newspaper and it’s how much is he worth? A lot of people are getting credit for David Templeton, which is fair, but I met David Templeton four and a half years ago and he was young, thin, painfully thin, but technically gifted. Could I make him a better player technically? No chance. What David has done, he has done it himself, because he has worked extremely hard especially on his upper body. It was something we saw as soon as he came to us. Get yourself in the gym.  We kept at him. He went on loan to Raith Rovers but we still kept at him asking are you in the gym?   But he has done it for himself. He is probably the most gifted player I’ve ever worked with, unbelievably gifted.

There is one person that doesn’t go in the limelight and doesn’t claim any credit, but without him David wouldn’t be here and that’s John Murray. John was the man who went out on a limb when Newcastle were interested, Celtic were interested, but John Murray insisted that we wanted the player. Believe me, if the gaffer, Billy Brown and Gary Locke were here two years ago that player would have been playing in the 1st team two years ago, because he was churning out performances like that in the Reserves week in, week out.  It’s only because the last manager didn’t have a lot of confidence in the youth players.  In fact in his first game against Aberdeen, he almost scored a goal that was probably better than those he has scored this season.

How would you contrast the views of the previous manager and the current management team about youth development?

If you look at David Templeton’s case the last manager seemed intent on playing some players for the sake of it. I don’t think he really had a handle on the development of the younger ones. Now that the gaffer, Billy and Lockey are in I think they are very interested. They will come to the youth games, they will ask questions. As a youth coach, they keep you involved with the 1st team and ask you to come along to games when there’s no U19 game and to be part of it. On that side of it, they have been great. The confidence they have shown in the young players is 100% better than it was under the previous manager and I would hope to see one or two of the current U19s featuring in the 1st team squad before the end of the season.  I have to say that there is a real buzz about the place with both the 1st team and the U19s going so well and I think a lot of the credit for that is down to the management team.

Do you think that the club has now got the balance right with the number and duration of senior contracts they have given out?

There’s no doubt that we have got too many players. It’s quite evident that if there is no clear pathway through to the 1st team then young players can get frustrated because they can see that there is that player and that player in front of them.  If we can get the squad down, which I know that the gaffer is working on, then the pathway becomes much clearer for everyone and that’s what we are trying to do.

The future

John Murray has expressed some concerns about the quality and quantity of talented players coming through the younger age groups.  Financial constraints and the compensation scheme for SPL coached youngsters are adding to those concerns. Do you share those concerns?

It’s an issue, a big issue for all clubs that there aren’t enough good players to go round and everyone wants the best for their club.  It’s always been the case and John knows that the best thing is to get them in young, at 8, 9, or 10. Scout the best ones, and coach them in the proper manner.  John Murray himself has a great eye for a player and brought in Callum Elliot, Lee Wallace and Andrew Driver when they were very young.  Hearts have had a good record of bringing youngsters through that ranks and the scouts and coaches continue to do a great job identifying and developing talent at the club

If you get them into your academy young, you will spend less money on them, but there’s got to be times that a club like Hearts will need to spend a bit of money. John Murray did so when he spent £20k for David Templeton. Now that’s a shrewd piece of business for the club, that could earn it millions. Although it would be great to see David Templeton stay at the club for another couple of seasons and maybe win an honour with Hearts before moving on.

In a recent meeting with John Murray he was considering hosting a small tournament at Riccarton perhaps as an alternative to participation in the Foyle Cup. What’s your view?

I’m a great believer in the Milk Cup, probably because we won the tournament when I was there. I’ve not been to the Foyle Cup but I loved the whole set up of the Milk Cup.

I think what we are trying to do with the money that comes in from the Youth Development is to spend it on the right things because it is becoming more difficult to get young players through and sometimes it’s better to spend half the money here and half the money elsewhere, maybe on coaches or scouts. John’s been in the game a long, long time and he knows what’s best and if that’s what he wants to do then I’m with him.

The McLeish Review has just come out in the last week. What are your thoughts on the recommendations particularly in relation to the colts?

Two leagues of 10, in my opinion, isn’t going to work. I think a bigger league of 16 is a better all round solution for the game in Scotland. The problem is that everyone wants their games against Celtic and Rangers and that’s the where the problem is. Provincial clubs probably make an extra  £100K-120K from each of the home games.  I believe that clubs of the stature of Dunfermline and Dundee, Raith Rovers are good enough to play in the Premier League. Raith getting to the semi-final and Ross County getting to the final of the cup show what the better SFL clubs are capable of. I think a 16 team league would buy managers a bit more time and they would play a few youngsters. It wouldn’t be so cut-throat in terms of relegation. I’ve been in the game a long time and I don’t think that two tens work.

Placed in the right division the Colts option is a very good idea. You’ve got a lot of players just out of the U19s but not quite ready for the first team, that’s where the Reserve League worked. Basically, they have admitted that they made a mistake when they said that clubs didn’t want a Reserve league because they didn’t have enough players, money or whatever but I think it’s one of the worst things that’s ever happened. As much as the Colts will be more competitive than the Reserves because they will play in a division of the League, the Reserves did have points to play for. The young players who came through did kick on and the Reserves developed players like Craig Thomson and Scott Robinson  Had the Reserve league had been there last season, then Denis and Jason Holt probably would have been playing in there and it would have given them more of an idea if they could go on and play in the first team this season. The development had stopped and with the Colts team coming back it will bring them on again.

One thing that has not made the report is Summer Football.  I would like to see the season running from March to November, not just for youth players but for the senior teams too.  I strongly believe that it will help players enormously if they can train and practice in good conditions and facilities throughout the season and it would help players achieve the target of 10,000 hours coaching during their time in youth football.

Yourself

Where are you with your Coaching badges and what work are you planning to do in that regard?

I’ve got my youth licence, my A licence, my B licence and just my UEFA Pro to go for. I would hope to get on the next UEFA Pro course that’s coming up and that will be me

What ambitions do you have beyond U19 coach?  First team coach or manager ?

You’ve got to be ambitious as a coach. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job at this football club and it’s great that I’m a Hearts supporter. I stood on the terraces and supported them. May 3rd 1986 was my 16th birthday. I actually played football and broke my leg and followed Hearts home and away all that year so it was devastating, but made up for it in 98 when we won the cup.  My son’s name is Stephane after Stephane Adam. So it’s a great job, I love my job. I love working here especially with the new management team that makes you feel a part of it. It makes a massive difference.  Of course I’ve got ambitions to go and work a higher level. But right now I’m quite happy.

Did you enjoy the period while you managed the reserves?

I loved that because I was dealing with some first team players and you always wonder if you can do that. I went up there and my record, well the record of the team actually was very good and we played some good stuff.  It was a progression for me. I knew I could get a youth team to play well because I was already working with them but could I get a group of players , some from the youth and some from the first team, to gel and play well. We certainly done that. We beat Celtic, we beat Hibs  and in the second part of the season we won nine and drew one. It was a fantastic record to have and it whets your appetite to get a shot at it, but it was good experience for me at the time.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Coaching the U19s is a team effort, and we would not be successful without the leadership and support of John Murray and the assistance of John Currie, Sports Scientist, Nial McGregor, physio, Allan Carswell, goalkeeping coach and John Yule, coaches’ admin assistant.  I’d like to thank them all for their efforts over the year.

I’d like to take the opportunity of thanking HYDC for all the hard work and endeavour they’ve put in over the year. I know that John, myself, and everyone in the youth department appreciate it. We talked about the Foyle Cup earlier. It’s only through the money that you guys raise that we are able to take part.  It’s important because the part-time youth coaches don’t get paid very much but to enable them to go away on what is a footballing holiday is a good thing both for the coaches and the payers.

Is there anything else that you are looking for that the HYDC might be able to provide.

A six foot three inch striker, about 16 years old, two footed, good in the air, really quick and can score goals. If you can get us one of them, then that would be great

Thanks for your time Darren.

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16-01-11 Hearts U19s 0-1 Hibernian U19s

Hearts U19s disappointingly went out of the SFA Youth Cup at Tynecastle this afternoon, going down 1-0 to local rivals, Hibs. Hearts were the creators of their own downfall to a large extent losing a goal on the break from their own free kick in the Hibs half.  Any thoughts of a comeback went when keeper Conor Fairley was sent off for handling the ball just outside his area midway through the second half.

Hibs started the brighter side with Hearts midfield and front men struggling with their first touch. Hearts then conceded a needless goal after 11mins, with a move that started with a Hearts free kick 15 yards inside the Hibs half. The centre backs went up into the box for the free kick, but Scott Robinson played it short to Holt but overhit the pass which allowed Hibs to break 3 on 2. The ball was played down their left and cut back to the centre forward who took the ball round the keeper and scored from a tight angle.

Hearts gradually got a foothold in the game mid way through the first half but were restricted to long range shots from Morton cutting in from the right onto his left foot and a shot from Smith into the side netting. Ogleby also managed to put a close in header just over the top.

The crowd expected that Hearts would come out for the 2nd half with more determination, but were to be disappointed as the game continued in a similar vein to the first with Hibs looking to have more drive and Hearts possession limited to the defensive areas with little threat up front. The decisive moment, however, was the red card to Fairley for his handball outside the box. Darren Murray was then forced to shuffle his pack and gamble to some extent. The game opened up for a while but Hearts looked as likely to concede a 2nd goal on the break as they were of scoring themselves.

Denis Prychynenko had a couple of free kicks well saved by the Hibs keeper, but Hearts best chance came with 10 minutes left when Ogleby latched onto a long ball and crashed a shot against the face of the bar. It was to be Hearts last real opportunity of the game and Hibs were content to see out time for a deserved win.

Best for Hearts were Morton in the first half and my MOTM, Kevin McHattie, who came up with some timely challenges.

Team:
Fairley
Mullen (King) McCormack C Hamilton McHattie
Morton (Patterson) Robinson Prychynenko Holt Smith (J Hamilton)
Ogleby
Unused Subs: Murdoch, Kane

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04-02-11 ICT U19s 0-0 Hearts U19s  – match abandoned

Hearts U19s  game at Dingwall was abandoned at half time when the referee decided that the pitch was unsafe following persistent snow during the first half.

The score was 0-0 at  the time in a game in which Hearts adapted well to the conditions but missed several good chances to score.

I got the chance to travel up with the U19s today to the Highland Academy at Dingwall for the game against ICT and what a farce that turned out to be.

The departure was delayed while a pitch inspection was carried out at 8:30 which was ok so we set off, then they announced they were doing another at 10:30 by which time the bus was at Pitlochry and hitting some snow. Despite Hearts concerns about the weather forecast for Dingwall at the time the game was due to KO, the game was given the go-ahead after ICT consulted with the SPL. The second half of the journey was a bit hairy with driving snow, but sure enough by the time we reached Dingwall the lying snow had disappeared and the pitch was in decent condition.

The U19s started their warm up as snow began to fall, but the game started as scheduled at 1pm. Within 15 mins the game had to be stopped to allow the lines to be cleared, which was repeated at interval during the half. At half time the ref initially said that the game could resume so he called the players out and both sides were ready to go, before he changed his mind and decided to abandon the game on player safety grounds. Ironically, it immediately stopped snowing thereafter and conditions were better than they had been throughout the first half.

I think that it was ok that the game was abandoned, but it really shouldn\’t have started, nor should it have been necessary for Hearts to travel if ICT and the SPL had the common sense to make an early decision in light of a poor weather forecast and travelling conditions.

As for the game, it was 0-0 at half time, with Hearts much the better side and playing some decent football despite the conditions. Holt and Robinson each missed a couple of gilt edged chances while Walker and Smith also went close. ICT had a couple of chances early in the game before Hearts got used to the conditions, but Fairley made a couple of good saves diving to his left.

Good performances from the midfield and Dave Smith up front. Hearts look much more of a threat going forward now that Jamie Walker has returned to the side. Rob Ogleby was left out of the starting lineup as he is off international duty with Wales U21s.

Hearts line up
Fairley
Mullen McCormack C Hamilton McHattie
Walker Robinson Prychynenko Holt Morton
Smith
Subs J Hamilton, Murdoch, Kane, Tobin, Patterson, Ogleby, King

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09-02-11 Rob Ogleby scores a first for Wales U21s

Hearts U19 striker, Rob Ogleby  scored his first international goal for Brian Flynn’s Wales U21 side after coming on as a substitute against  a Northern Ireland U21 side in Wrexham.  The Welsh side won 2-0.

Coventry born Rob had made his debut for Wales U21 side in their friendly against Austria at Newport County FC on 17th November 2010. Rob qualifies for Wales through his Welsh grandfather.

FAW Match Report

Wales’ youngsters warmed up in fine style for their 2013 UEFA championship qualifiers with an impressive victory in this friendly at the Racecourse ground.

Brian Flynn’s squad open their campaign in Andorra on March 29, and this second successive friendly victory will give them plenty of confidence.  Swansea’s Daniel Alfei struck a penalty while a second-half header from Robert Ogleby–his first at this level–secured a confidence boosting win.

Wales senior boss Gary Speed flew back from Dublin after the 3-0 defeat by the Republic of Ireland to take in this under 21 clash with Northern Ireland at Wrexham. If Speed was in need of some inspiration after the disappointment of Tuesday’s defeat, then Flynn’s youngsters did their best to cheer him up.  Speed was in an executive box full of scouts, and also including Wigan chief Roberto Martinez, no doubt taking interest in the progress of a few of his former Swansea youngsters.

And it was Swansea defender Daniel Alfei who put Wales ahead three minutes from the break with a fierce penalty after Crystal Palace’s flying winger Jonathan Williams, just 17, had been tripped in the box by Seanan Clucas.

The northern Irish had started the stronger and quicker, putting Wales under plenty of pressure. This looked as good an under 21 side to be produced from the province for a while.  They looked a strong unit before Wales got into the game. Then Manchester United ‘keeper Conor Devlin made a stunning close range save from the lively Ryan Doble as Wales recovered from their shaky start.

Earlier Newcastle’s Paddy McLaughlin had forced a couple of decent saves from Rhys Taylor, as the visitors threatened to take a firm grip on the game. Newcastle’s Shane Ferguson–who has had three senior games this term–did particularly well, while Manchester City’s Ryan McGivern also impressed.

But slowly Wales got themselves going and Elliott Chamberlain scooped a shot over from a yard, and then latched onto a quick Jake Taylor free-kick to flash a shot inches wide of the far post.

Wales sent on Joe Partington, Tom Bender and Billy Bodin for Reece Jones, Paul Dummett and Williams, with the northern Irish replacing Josh Carson, Chris Hegarty and Ryan Blake with Josh Magennis, Daniel Devine and Kirk Millar as the second period progressed.

Northern Irish ‘keeper Devlin made a fine double save from Doble and Bodin, and Wales may well have had another penalty when Bodin was tripped in the resulting melee.  Wales saw further chances go begging when Partington header a corner over unchallenged, while Lee Lucas fired over after Devlin had blocked Chamberlain’s shot following Taylor’s strong run and cross.  But Wales had controlled much of the second-half and did managed a deserved second after 76 minutes when Hearts youngster Robert Ogleby–with his first touch after coming on as a substitute–headed home an Ashley Richards free-kick.  Ogleby had come on for Chamberlain, while the visitors sent on Carl Winchester and Andrew Mitchell for |Matthew Lund and James Lawrie. Wales then sent on Adam Matthews for Taylor.

This victory, coupled with the 1-0 win over Austria in November, shows that Flynn–who has taken two squads to within touching distance of finals qualification–has another group with plenty of potential

Coventry born Rob made his debut for Wales U21 side in their friendly against Austria at Newport County FC. On 17th November 2010. Rob qualifies for Wales through his grandfather.

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12-02-11 Burns Supper 2011

This years Burns Supper took place on Saturday 12 February with over 200 people in attendance, including the Hearts management team Jim Jeffries, Billy Brown and Gary Locke. Players representatives included Ruben Palazuelos, Rob Ogleby, Denis Prychynenko and Jamie Walker also attended.

David McLetchie MSP gave a tremendous immortal memory and Jimmy Graham toasted the lassies in his own special humorous way. As always the Burns entertainment was provided by The Poosie Nansie Burns Club and was enjoyed by everyone.

Chairman and host Calum Robertson interviewed manager Jim Jeffries who thanked HYDC and everyone attending for continuing to supporting the HYDC events and draws.. Jim also carried out the Grand Draw for the sponsorship of the up and coming Young Player of the Year Event and these winners will be on the Website in the near future.

Please watch the website and match day programme for all future events including next years Burns Supper.

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26-02-11 Hamilton U19s 0-1 Hearts U19s

Hearts obtained a degree of revenge for the drubbing they received from Hamilton earlier in the season with a hard fought, but entertaining, 1-0 victory at Linlithgow. Jamie Walker got the only goal from the penalty spot after Kevin McHattie was judged to have been tripped.

Darren Murray made a number of enforced changes to the line up for tactical reasons, injury and unavailability of Denis Prychynenko and Scott Robinson who were on the bench for the first team at Aberdeen.

J Hamilton
McCormack Murdoch C Hamilton McHattie
Walker Smith (Tobin 90) Kane Holt Morton
Ogleby (Patterson 45)

The first half was very competitive with lots of hard but fair challenges coming in from both sides. There were few chances at either end but Hamilton had the first opportunity after 7 minutes but their striker blazed over from 15 yards. Jordan Morton then had a couple of speculative efforts that went well wide. Hamilton created their best chance of the match midway through the half as a cross from the right was almost forced over the line, but Aaron Murdoch did well clear. Hearts created a great chance after 32 minutes when Jamie McCormack played a one two with Jamie Walker down the right. The full back’s cross was met 6 yards out by Jason Holt with a diving header but the keeper made a fine save.

The second half saw the introduction of Callum Patters for Rob Ogleby and he almost made an immediate impact with a nutmeg on the full back setting him off down the right, but his cross was well defended. The game then entered a quiet spell with defences on top.

However the game sparked into life after 69 minutes when Jack Hamilton made a good save diving to his left. Hearts then enjoyed their best spell of the match as firstly Callum Patterson missed a good chance from 10 yards out after some tenacious play by Jordan Morton and a cross from Jamie Walker on the right flank. Hearts continued to press and finally went ahead after 75 minutes. Jason Holt played the ball out to the overlapping  Kevin McHattie down the left and when he tried to take the ball past the full back just inside the box he went down in the challenge. There didn\’t appear to be much in it but the ref awarded a spot kick. Jamie Walker stepped up to hit the penalty down the middle to give Hearts the lead.

Callum Patterson should have doubled their lead two minutes later when he was set up with an easy chance after a terrific driving run by Jamie McCormack. His sidefoot finish, however, hit the inside of the post and ran across the goal to safety. Hamilton responded in the final few minutes by pushing men forward, but the Hearts defence were solid and there were no real alarms in front of goal as they saw out time to a deserved win.

Hearts will be relieved to get back onto the winning trail after playing only 2 games in the previous 3 months due to the weather. Best for Hearts were Jason Holt and Chris Kane in the first half and the whole of the back four were excellent in the 2nd half.

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04-03-11 Motherwell U19s 0-1 Hearts U19s

Hearts U19s won their 2nd away game within a week with a 1-0 win over Motherwell at Creamery Park, Bathgate. Jason Holt scored the only goal of the game seconds into the 2nd half  after being set up by Rob Ogleby. Motherwell played much of the 2nd half with ten men after their full back was red carded for a two footed lunge.

Hearts lined up with
Hamilton
McCormack Murdoch Hamilton McHattie
Morton Robinson Kane Holt Paterson (Mullen)
Smith (Ogleby)

The first half was almost a non event with few chances at either end. Hearts looked better in possession but were unable to get their midfielders up in support of the lone striker and the quality of crosses was poor. As the half progressed some silly errors crept in and they conceded too many needless free kicks. Motherwell probably had the best chance of the half but Jack Hamilton was quickly off his line to block the effort on goal.

Half time saw the introduction of Rob Ogleby for Dave Smith and within seconds of the restart he set up Jason Holt for the opener. For the first time in the match Holt played the ball forward and continued his run into the box.. Oglebly played the ball into his path and Holt slotted home with a composed finish.

Two minutes later Motherwell went down to 10 men when their left back launched a two footed lunge towards Scott Robinson and was shown a straight red card. That should have made it easier for Hearts, but rather than try and kill the game with another goal, they were content to keep possession, passing the ball back and forth between the defenders and midfielders. Hearts only created two significant attempts on goal thereafter, one a fierce shot from Scott Robinson from 25 yards that hit the crossbar and a volley from Callum Paterson that went wide.

Motherwell tried to push forward in the last few minutes, winning a couple of corners in the process, but didn\’t really threaten the Hearts goal.

It wasn\’t a great spectacle but a win is always welcome.

Best for Hearts were Chris Kane and Scott Robinson in flashes.

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14-03-11 HYDC Newsletter – Spring 2011

The following is the text of a newsletter circulated to all participants in the HYDC Monthly Draw.  It outlines a number of fundraising activities and opportunities for supporters either to participate or contribute the the future development of young players at the club.  If you are interested in any of the initiatives, then please use the contact details included in the document

Newsletter – Spring 2011

Youth Development Club Draw

Firstly on behalf of HYDC thank you all for your continuing your contribution to our monthly prize draw. Congratulations to all who have been fortunate enough to have been a winner and we wish all other contributors luck in the future draws. Those of you at the recent matches versus Dundee United and Kilmarnock will have seen our new chairman, Calum Robertson make the monthly prize draws for February and March on the pitch at half time in these games. This procedure of the half time draw will be continued for the foreseeable future.

HYDC appoint a new chairman

Following the sad death of George Nicolson after many years of devoted service to Youth Development – both as a group member and latterly as chairman – HYDC were delighted to welcome Calum Robertson as our new chairman. Calum like George before him is a Hearts fan of long standing and has a great interest in youth development and the set-up at Riccarton.

HEARTS YOUTH DEVEOPMENT YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR

This event will take place in the Gorgie Suite on Saturday 30th April 2011 and tickets are available now at £35 per person – please contact Clare Cowan on 0131 200 7216 / clare@homplc.co.uk. The evening will include presentations to the U17, U19 & overall young player of the year awards, a delicious three course meal, guest speakers and will be hosted by the voice of Hearts, Mr Scott Wilson. Hearts backroom staff and players will be in attendance. The overall young player will be chosen by supporters on hydc.co.uk and the nominees are below:

Gary Glen, Eggert Jonsson, David Templeton, Craig Thomson and Arvydas Novikovas.

Voting will commence on 28th March to 15th April 2011.

HYDC are delighted to welcome the support of Innovate Financial Services who are overall sponsors of the event. Jambos Kickback will sponsor the U19 award and GR Thomson & Co proudly sponsor the U17 award. HYDC would like to thank all companies for their support.

Fancy playing at Tynecastle?

Ever dreamed of playing at Tynecastle in famous maroon and scoring a last minute goal? Well now you can make that dream come true

The Hearts Youth Development Committee is hosting our annual fundraising match on Saturday 21st May 2011, with an 11am kick-off, and you can be part of it!

Contact Steve Hutchison – steve@hydc.co.uk

IMPORTANT INFORMATION and MEMBERS’ HELP REQUESTED

HYDC needs your help to keep our records up to date. If your name and address is different from the label on the envelope you received, please let us know. We’d be delighted to communicate to you via email too – if you have an email address please contact Alex Jones – alexjones@hydc.co.uk / awj57@btinternet.com. Please clearly state your full name, address and draw number. (draw number appeared on your envelope).

And finally but most importantly, thank you for your continued support.

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18-03-11 Aberdeen U19s 2-1 Hearts U19s

Hearts lost out to a very good Aberdeen side at Balgownie this afternoon.  Aberdeen were the better side for much of the game and went two up with goals from Gibson and Brown either side of half time  before Jamie Walker got one back midway through the 2nd half to set up an entertaining finish.  Hearts did come close to an equaliser on a couple of occasions but it was not to be .

After Hearts dominated possession for the first 10 minutes without creating anything, Aberdeen gradually started to take control of the game through their higher workrate. Chances started to come their way with 3 or 4 efforts that went either narrowly wide or just over the bar. Hearts sole effort of the first half came from Jason Holt who shot over from 30 yards, but he only shot because there was nothing else on for him. It was typical of a lacklustre performance from Hearts.

It was no surprise when Aberdeen took the lead after 35 minutes, but it was with a goal that shouldn\’t have stood. Lewis Davidson put in a good cross from the right to the front post and Hamilton had both hands on the ball when the Aberdeen striker Nico Gibson bumped the keeper and the the ball fell into the net.

The Hearts players and bench were incensed that no foul was given and the referee had words with Darren Murray about his complaint.

The second half resumed much as the first half had ended with Aberdeen on top. Callum McRobbie went close with an angled shot and Jack Hamilton made a good save after the Dons made a quick break after winning a challenge in their own half. Hearts finally got their act together, by upping the tempo and started making many more forward passes following the introduction of Ogleby for Morton after 55 minutes. The game became much more competitive and a little physical as a result. Ogleby almost scored with his first touch and Jamie Walker started to influence the game with some penetrating runs from deep and getting some shots at goal.

However, just when Hearts thought they were back in the game, Aberdeen broke down the right and McRobbie found Davidson who crossed for Jordon Brown at the back post o head into the net after 65 minutes.

Hearts didn\’t give up and capitalised on an error 4 minutes later when the Dons’ keeper misjudged a through ball outside his box and Jamie Walker was quick to win possession and slot the ball into the unguarded net from 20 yards Hearts pushed hard for an equaliser, but Aberdeen looked equally likely to get a third. Hearts did have an appeal for a penalty turned down when Holt went down in the box, but their best chance came with 5 minutes to go when the keeper could only parry Walker\’s shot from 20 yards and two follow  up attempts were blocked by defenders.

Aberdeen thereafter comfortably saw out time for the win that moves them above Hearts into third place in the league, although Hearts still have 3 games in hand.

No MOTM performances from Hearts in the first half, but Jamie Walker did come onto a game in the second. The best player on the park was Calum McRobbie who was a threat throughout the game down the Aberdeen right.

Hearts line up
Hamilton
McCormack Murdoch, Hamilton McHattie
Walker Holt Prychynenko Kane (Tobin) Smith (Mullen)
Morton (Ogleby)

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22-03-11 Hearts U19s 2-1 Dundee United U19s

Hearts got back to winning ways after a comeback win against a stuffy Dundee United side. United had gone one up with a free kick from Barrett midway through the first half but Hearts hit back in the second half with a 20 yard strike from Dave Smith and a late effort from Aaron Murdoch to take all three points

Darren Murray made a several changes to the side that lost at Aberdeen last time out with Mullen, Robinson, Paterson and Ogleby  coming in for McCormack, Kane Smith and Morton.

Hearts dominated possession for much of the first half, but could only manage a few long range efforts.. However, it was Dundee United who went ahead after 25 minutes when central defender Paddy Barrett netted with a terrific free kick from 25 yards after Shane Campbell wall fouled.

Dave Smith replaced Callum Paterson at half time and it was he who brought Hearts la deserved equaliser with a good strike from 20 yards.  Either side of the goal Jack Hamilton made a couple of  good stops but Hearts too created a couple of great chances with Rob Ogleby hitting the bar and Scott Robinson missing a easy chance when set up by a superb Jamie Walker cross.

The most controversial moment of the match came with 10 minutes to go, when United were denied what looked like a stonewall penalty when Liam Scott was blocked at the edge of the box.  It was to prove a costly decision for United as Hearts continued to push for a winner.  Hearts eventually  got the reward their performance merited when defender Aaron Murdoch was in the right place to tap home the winning goal  from close range with only  two minutes left.

Best for Hearts were the midfield trio of Robinson, Holt and Walker.

Hearts regained 3rd place in the league table with the win, and still have 3 games in hand over 4th place Aberdeen. Like the senior team, 3rd place looks secure, but it is looking increasing more difficult to catch Rangers and Celtic at the top.

Hearts line up
Hamilton
Mullen Murdoch, Hamilton McHattie
Walker Robinson Prychynenko Holt
Paterson (Smith) Ogleby (McCormack)
Unused subs were Fairley, Kane, Tobin and King

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26-03-11 St Johnstone  1-2 Hearts U19s

Hearts consolidated their third place position in the league table with a 2-1 win away to St. Johnstone that was a bit more comfortable than the score suggests. Kevin McHattie got the opener for Hearts just before the break and Denis Prychynenko added one of his trademark free kicks from 30 yards midway through the 2nd half. Saints scored from the penalty spot with 6 minutes left but it was too little too late from them.

Darren Murray made some changes from Tuesday\’s win against Dundee United with Jamie Walker resting a swollen knee and Rob Ogleby away on international duty with Wales. The most significant was a positional change with central defender Aaron Murdoch playing up front.

The game was played at Tulloch Park, the home of Kinnoul Juniors, but on a very firm and bumpy surface that did little to aid consistent control and passing. Saints readily resorted to long ball tactics which were meat and drink to the Hearts centre backs. Hearts did try to play passing football but it wasn\’t easy.

The first chance game in 10 minutes when Jack Hamilton saved comfortably at his near post. Hearts hit back with a shot from Morton that the keeper pushed away for a corner, from which Denis Prychnenko had his shot blocked. St Johnstone then missed their best chance of the game when their striker blasted over the top from six yards. Hearts created another good chance after 30 minutes when Scot Robinson fed Dave Smith down the left and the wingers angled shot was well saved by the keeper.

Hearts finally went ahead just before half time with a similar move down the left with Robinson feeding the overlapping Kevin McHattie. This time the full back\’s aim was true as he drove an angled shot past the keeper from 15 yards. Half time 1-0 with Hearts deserving their lead.

The second half resumed with Hearts increasingly getting on top. A Scott Robinson effort went narrowly wide with an overhead kick after good work down the right from Fraser Mullen. Hearts deservedly got a second goal after 63 minutes after Aaron Murdoch was pulled back 30 yards out just to the right of the goals. As ever, Denis Prychynenko stepped forward to take the free kick and thumped an unstoppable shot into the keeper\’s top right hand corner of the goal. (Denis\’ 8th free kick goal of the season).

The goal seemed to deflate the Saints for a period. Their keeper had to make good stop from a left foot shot from Morton and an attempted chip from Scott Robinson over the keeper just floated over the bar. However, Saints got a lifeline with six minutes to go when Prychynenko was adjudged to have blocked a shot with his arm from just a couple of yards away. It looked a somewhat harsh decision. Saints striker, Stevie May drove the ball down the middle to score. Hearts had one late scare when Jamie McCormack made a great block on a good shot again by  May with a couple of minutes left, but that was the closest they came.

A decent performance from Hearts whose best players were down the left in McHattie, Smith and Holt, with Prychynenko putting in his best performance in a few games.

Hearts Line Up
Hamilton
Mullen McCormack Hamilton McHattie
Morton Robinson Prychynenko Holt Smith
Murdoch
Subs (none used) Fairley, Kane, Tobin, Paterson and King

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29-03-11 Hearts U19s 1-0 Hibernian U19s

Hearts youngsters completed the double over their city rivals at Riccarton this afternoon with a hard fought, but fully merited, 1-0 victory.  The only goal came after 35 minutes from yet another free kick from Denis Prychnenko from 30 yards plus.  The win moved Hearts up to 2nd in the table.

Darren Murray stuck with the same line-up as defeated St Johnstone on Saturday  for the return derby  fixture against Hibernian.  Jamie Walker was deemed fit enough for a place on the bench . Scott Robinson was given a more attacking role in getting up in support of Aaron Murdoch up front.

Hibs created the first chance of the game after 3 minutes, but Jack Hamilton was alert to the through ball and made a good block on the striker’s shot.  Hearts soon settled and Jason Holt had Hearts first effort on goal after 9 minutes with a shot from distance that was comfortably saved by the keeper.  Hibs almost conceded an own goal after 19 minutes when a defender sliced a ball just over his own bar while under no pressure.   Hearts continued to probe down both flanks and Dave Smith missed a great chance to open the scoring when he knocked the ball over the bar from six yards after a good cross from Fraser Mullen.

Hearts finally got their noses in front  after 35 minutes.  Hearts were awarded a free kick for a high challenge on Scott Robinson over 30 yards out.  Denis Prychynenko stepped up and struck the ball over the wall  and into the net with what looked like a wicked bounce  or a misjudgement by the keeper (Denis\’ 9th free kick goal of the season).

Good link up play down the left between Kevin McHattie and Jason Holt created another shooting opportunity for the latter but again the keeper saved comfortably.

Half time 1-0 with Hearts deservedly in front..

There were two injuries early in the second half that required the attention of the physios. Firstly Aaron Murdoch twisted his knee and looked in some pain.  He played on after some treatment  but was substituted by Jamie Walker a couple of minutes later.  The second and more serious injury was to the Hibs captain, Scott Smith who appeared to suffer a bad knock on his right ankle.  He was carried off on a stretcher, but managed to hobble away to the dressing room on crutches a few minutes later.

Hearts increasingly dominated the action as the half progressed with Jason Holt and Denis Prychynenko controlling the midfield.   Hibs pushed forward sporadically, but their shooting was wayward. Increasingly, each time Hibs pushed forward, they were exposed to quick breaks form the Hearts forwards and midfielders.   Dave Smith and Jamie Walker both went close from these runs. The Hibs defenders were forced to resorted to some crude challenges, with a couple of cynical trips on Hearts players resulting in yellow cards.

Hearts were content to play out time and did so with few alarms.  The referee finally conceded that Hibs would never score and blew his whistle after 8 minutes of stoppage time to give the young Hearts side  the victory  over their local rivals.

Outstanding for Hearts was MOTM Jason Holt with good performances from Kevin McHattie and Dave Smith.

Hearts Line Up
Hamilton
Mullen McCormack Hamilton McHattie
Morton Robinson(Paterson) Prychynenko Holt Smith
Murdoch(Walker)
Subs (unused) Fairley, Kane, Tobin and King

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01-04-11 Rangers U19s 1-4 Hearts U19s

Hearts U19s stormed back to the top of the Clydesdale Bank U19 League with an outstanding second half performance that saw them come from a goal down at half time to cruise to a 4-1 victory.  Dylan McGeouch had put the home side ahead early in the game, but two goals each from Jason Holt and Denis Prychynenko saw the young Jambos home to a fine win.

Rob Ogleby came in for the injured Aaron Murdoch and Jamie Walker replaced Scott Robinson, who was on on duty with the 1st team, as the only changes from the starting lineup that beat Hibs earlier in the week..

Hearts started brightly and in the third minute Jamie Walker was tripped 25 yards out. Denis Prychynenko hit a fine free kick that was well saved by the keeper who touched it over the bar.

Rangers hit back after eight minutes with their play maker, Dylan McGeough, scoring a good goal from the edge of the box after beating a couple of men. If anything after that Hearts stood off a bit too much allowing Rangers to pass the ball around. However Hearts were still well in the game and Rob Ogleby forced a diving save from the Rangers keeper with a run and shot from 20 yards.

McGeouch continued to threaten and Hamilton was tested a couple of times by McGeough himself and McCabe for Rangers. One of the key moments occurred after 29 minutes when McGeouch was injured after a (fair) challenge by Fraser Mullen and had to go off. That was followed by a Hearts substitution after 38 minutes when Jordan Morton was replaced by Chris Kane. The changes seemed to help Hearts get a grip on midfield and they created a couple of good chances for Rob Ogleby. First a great cross from Mullen was well controlled on his chest by the Wales U21 striker, but he inexplicably managed to knock the ball over the bar from 6 yards when it seemed easier to score. Just before the break, Jamie Walker made a good run down the right and cut the ball back for Rob steaming in at the near post who knocked the ball just wide of the post.

Half time 1-0 to Rangers in what had been an even contest.

It wasn\’t to remain so for long as within two minutes of the restart Jason Holt scored the equaliser with a neat turn and shot from 8 yards. After 49 minutes Hearts went ahead. Fraser Mullen\’s corner from the left was met by Coin Hamilton whose goal bound header was handled on the line by the Rangers left back, Steven Hetherington, who was shown a straight red card. Denis Prychynenko thumped the penalty into the net to the keeper’s right leaving him no chance.

From that moment on, Hearts dominated possession as the Rangers heads went down and put together some good moves sometimes involving up to 20 passes. After 53 minutes Dave Smith forced a good diving stop by the keeper, then Prychynenko hit a good shot from 30 yards just wide.

It was no surprise when Hearts got their third goal after 66 minutes. A lovely disguised pass from Mullen found Prychynenko lurking at the edge of the box and he swept a sweet shot into the far corner of the net for his 14th of the season, although his first from open play. Hearts fourth followed in 70 minutes with a fast break when Jason Holt was left with one defender to beat which he did so with ease before running into the box and hitting the ball high past the keeper for a fine goal.

Hearst almost had a fifth after the keeper could only parry a fierce shot from Jamie Walker and Rob Ogleby should have done better with the rebound, but knocked it wide. Hearts were content to see out time by keeping possession which they did comfortably.

MOTM again for Hearts was Jason Holt whose work  ethic and skill on the ball was shared by several others in the team, with notable performances from both full backs, Denis Prychynenko, and Dave Smith. The win puts Hearts back at the top of the table although both Rangers and Celtic have games in hand.

Darren Murray will have been delighted by the second half performance and will hope to repeat it in the 4 remaining games.

Hearts Line Up
Hamilton
Mullen McCormack Hamilton McHattie
Morton(Kane) Smith Prychynenko Holt Walker(Tobin)
Ogleby (King)
Unused subs Fairley and Paterson

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05-04-11 Inverness CT U19s 1-3 Hearts U19s

Hearts U19s continued their recent good form with a comfortable win in very windy conditions over the hosts at the Highland Football Academy in Dingwall.  All the goals came in the first half .  Scott Robinson, Fraser Mullen and Jason Holt put Hearts 3-0 up before ICT scored just before the break.  Hearts could afford to hit woodwork twice and miss a penalty., such was their dominance.

Hearts opened the game very positively after their fine performance at Murray Park last week. They dominated first half possession and handled the elements much better than their opponents. Scott Robinson opened the scoring after 12 minutes coming in off the right to slot the ball past the keeper from 8 yards. A few minutes later the same player hit the bar following a similar run.

Hearts second goal on 33 minutes was a peach. A Kevin McHattie throw-in found Dave Smith at the edge of the box and he played it back to Fraser Mullen 25 yards out and he hammered an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net for his first competitive goal with the U19s.

Hearts third followed in 36 minutes after neat interplay between Dave Smith and Chris Kane set up Jason Holt 8 yards out and he finished with some aplomb.

Hearts defence went to sleep after 39 minutes, when the ICT winger found space down the right and his angled shot found the far corner of the net.

HT 3-1, with Hearts playing well but probably cursing a lack of concentration that led to the ICT goal.

If anything, the wind got stronger in the 2nd half and any hope of playing measured football went out the window. Neither side created too many chances. Kevin McHattie did hit the post and ICT had one shot pushed away for a corner by Jack Hamilton. However there was one unusual event. Scott Robinson was felled in the box and a penalty was rightly awarded. Denis Prychynenko stepped forward and lost his previous 100% record from the spot, hitting his shot just over the bar, much to everyone‘s  surprise.

Hearts comfortably saw out time for a well deserved win that keeps them at the top of the league for the time being. Best for Hearts were Colin Hamilton, Scott Robinson and Dave Smith.

Hearts Lineup
Hamilton
Mullen McCormack, Hamilton, McHattie
Robinson, Kane Prychynenko Holt Smith (Morton)
Ogleby
Unused subs – Fairley, Tobin, Paterson, King, Walker

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09-04-11 St Mirren U19s 1-2 Hearts U19s

Hearts U19s extended their winning run to six straight games with a deserved 2-1 victory away to St Mirren at McKenna Park. Hearts goals came in similar fashion with two Fraser Mullen corners being headed home, by Jamie McCormack and Rob Ogleby.  St Mirren got their consolation two minutes into stoppage time. The win leaves Hearts 4 points clear of Celtic at the top of the table, although Celtic have three games in hand.

Darren Murray made one enforced change from their previous outing in Dingwall, with Jordan Morton coming in for Scott Robinson who had been called up to the 1st team squad.  Conditions were perfect at St Anthony’s Juniors ground at McKenna Park.

There were few early chances in the first half as both sides competed for every ball.  However, it was St Mirren who forced the first save of the match after 19 minutes when keeper Jack Hamilton blocked an angled shot away for a corner .  St Mirren did have the ball in the net after 26 minutes when a shot from the edge of the area bounced viciously in front of the Hearts keeper but the Saints striker had knocked the rebound home from an offside position.

After that scare Hearts took control of the game through their better movement and passing. Their opening goal came after 28 minutes when a fine corner from Fraser Mullen on the left was met perfectly by the head of Jamie McCormack at the back post and his header back across goal nestled in the corner of the net. Hearts continued to create chances with both Dave Smith and Rob Ogleby  firing just off target. Jordan Morton then struck a fine left foot shot off the post  and Rob Ogleby put another effort just past the post after good work by Dave Smith down the left.  Hearts were deservedly ahead at the break..

Hearts started the second half as they finished the first. After 47 minutes Jordan Morton forced another good stop from the Saints keeper.  Denis Prychynenko, then struck a fine free kick from 25 yards just wide.  Approaching the hour mark, Jordan Morton brought out a great  save from keeper diving low to his right  after good lead up work from Fraser Mullen and Jason Holt.  Dave Smith might have done better with the rebound which he hit wide as Hearts continued to press for a second goal that their play merited.  Colin Hamilton just missed out on getting a touch on another fine corner from Fraser Mullen.  Next it was Jamie McCormack running directly at the Saints defence who forced another good block by the keeper.

With 15 minutes left St Mirren finally got some belief that they could get back into the game, firstly with an strong appeal for a penalty after the ball struck the raised arm of Rob Ogleby and shortly after a good chance was headed just over the bar.  St Mirren continued to push and Jack Hamilton made a good save from another headed chance after 82 minutes then could only watch as another shot from 12 yards flew just over the top.

With five minutes left, Hearts finally settled their nerves with a second goal, which like the first came from a Fraser Mullen corner on the left, but this time it was Rob Ogleby who rose above the defenders to score with a header from eight yards.  St Mirren did however get their own consolation with a headed goal in stoppage time.

MOTM  for Hearts was Fraser Mullen for his set piece delivery and supporting runs down the right. There were also good performances from Jason Holt and Dave Smith in the first half.

All in all another good win for the young Jambos that keeps up the pressure on Celtic and Rangers to win their games in hand in the run in to the league title.

Hearts Lineup
Hamilton
Mullen McCormack, Hamilton, McHattie
Morton(Paterson), Kane Prychynenko Holt Smith
Ogleby
Unused subs – Fairley, Tobin, King

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17-04-11 Clydesdale Bank International Tournament – Geurnsey Rovers Athletics F.C. v Hearts U19s

Hearts U19s side were successful in winning the 2nd Clydesdale Bank International Tournament, held over the weekend on the Channel Island of Guernsey.  They did so without conceding a goal in their three matches and, additionally, Denis Prychynenko won the Player of the Tournament Award.

Report from the Guernsey-Press website

Scottish team show their class in victory

Heart of Midlothian 4 Rovers Athletics 0

As Rovers flagged under the sun and gave squad members pitch-time that they did not get in their opener, Hearts showed their class and romped to a big win.

Not only that, the Scots displayed some lovely flowing football on a fine late-season Foote’s Lane pitch and might have won by a bigger margin but for some sloppy finishing by the visitors who showed no sign of fatigue in the second of back-to-back games.

Rob Ogleby and Denis Prychynenko got the goals to sink Jersey Scottish 2-0 and just three minutes into their second game Ogleby should have scored again, but a weak finish on the stretch failed to turn in a cross from Jordan Morton.

Rovers made just one change to the side that drew with Norwich Danny Felbabel coming in for striker Jack Graham whose injury from the first game left him on crutches and struggling with damaged ankle ligaments.

Unlike Norwich, Hearts did not give Mac Gallienne’s side a look·in and went ahead on 15 minutes Dave Smith side-footing from eight yards at the end of a well-worked move which was too clever and swift for the Rovers back three.

A few moments later Smith, a persistent threat, fired a 30-yarder that just as well for Davey went straight at him. Had it been a yard to his right or left it may have been too fierce a strike to keep out.

Marquand made a total hash of Rovers’ only chance of the half, but Felbabel and Ferbrache went close early on in the second before Hearts decided enough was enough. Prychynenko doubled Hearts\’ lead with a 30 yard pile-driver which Davey could only get his fingertips to and only then divert it onto the post and in.

A minute later Morton crossed from the bye line and provided sub Callum Paterson with an easy tap-in. With a couple of minutes left, Christopher Kane tried his luck from 25 yards and a fierce shot deflected off a defender and spun just out of Davey’s reach as it fell out of the sky and just beneath the crossbar.

TEAMS
Rovers: Davey, Gallie Ellis, Powell, Vernon, de Jesus, Wiltshire, Clatworthy, Queripel, Marquand, Felabel
Subs: Le Tisseier, Moseley, Austen, Jehan, Blower, Ferbrache, Rowe, Russell, Green

Hearts of Midlothian: J Hamilton Mullen McHattie McCormack, C Hamilton, Prychynenko, Kane, Ogleby, Thomson, Smith
Subs: Tobin, Fairley, King, Paterson, O’Hara, McKay, Holt

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17-04-11 Clydesdale Bank International Tournament – Hearts Win

Hearts U19s side were successful in winning the 2nd Clydesdale Bank International Tournament, held over the weekend on the Channel Island of Guernsey.  They did so without conceding a goal in their three matches and, additionally, Denis Prychynenko won the Player of the Tournament Award.

Taking part along with Hearts were local adult sides in Guernsey Rovers FC, Jersey Scottish and Norwich City’s Academy side.  The four teams played in a round robin format with each game lasting one hour.

Hearts first game was played on the Saturday against Jersey Scottish, who they beat 2-0 with goals from Denis Prychynenko and Rob Ogleby.

Their second game, also on Saturday, was played against the host side Guernsey Athletics F.C. and the Jambos ran out easy winners by the score of 4-0.  The goals came from Dave Smith, Denis Prychynenko, Calum Paterson and Chris Kane.

The final match against Norwich City was played on the Sunday.   Norwich had beaten Jersey Scottish 2-0 but had drawn 1-1 with Guernsey Athletics in their opening match.  That meant that a draw would be sufficient for Hearts to come out on top and that was exactly what they achieved with a 0-0 result.

Report from  the Guernsey-Press.com website,

A final game goalless draw  saw Hearts win the Clydesdale Football Tournament at Foote’s lane yesterday.

Having already beaten Rovers  and Jersey Scottish on Saturday, the Scottish outfit always looked in control against fellow visiting side Norwich City.

In what was an entertaining game contrary to the final score line, Hearts were much the better side, moving forward from the back, often at startling pace.

Fraser Mullen and Rob Ogleby both tried the spectacular for Hearts from long range in the early stages, although neither keeper was as busy as perhaps would have been expected.

But Norwich were looking impressive on the counter attack and Richard Brindley really should have broken the deadlock when he fired way over from close range after fine work by Josh Dawkin.

Despite threatening, it took until first-half stoppage time for Hearts to register a real chance with Denis Prychynenko’s free-kick from the edge of the area.  The player of the tournament could not have got any closer, rattling England U18 keeper Jed Steer’s crossbar.

But the Scots began to create more regular chances after the break, Rob Ogleby doing brilliantly to turn his marker under pressure from Prychynenko’s cross, but Taylor McKenzie did well to smother the danger.

David Smith then timed his run to perfection to beat the offside trap and bear down on Steer but his effort was brilliantly turned around the post at the expense of a corner.

But Norwich knowing a win would see them crowned champions, nearly had their moment with nine minutes remaining, Matthew Bell looking certain to score.  He pulled back the trigger to slot home, but Jamie McCormack’s last-ditch tackle saved the day and ultimately the trophy.

From then on, Hearts never looked threatened. Jordan Morton nearly putting the icing on the cake but he could only shoot straight at Steer.

But it was still enough, Hearts remaining unbeaten throughout the weekend, not conceding a single goal in the process.  Their 4-0 and 2-0 wins over Rovers and Jersey Scottish respectively saw the two Channel Islands teams edged out of second spot.

Norwich took that but only just, having just one point more than Rovers who beat Scottish 2-1 earlier on Sunday.

Goals from Danny Marquand and Blane Queripel were enough to give the Port Soif  side four points in total and a mightily successful weekend.

For Scottish, it was a weekend to forget as they finished pointless with only that solitary strike against Rovers to show for their efforts.

Teams

Hearts: J. Hamilton, Mullen, McCormack, C. Hamilton, McHattie, Morton, Kane, Prychynenko, Smith, Holt, Ogleby

Norwich: Steer, Dobbs, McKenzie, Habergharn, Barker,  Florence, McGeehan, Brindley, Kelly, Ball, Dawkin

Referee B.Blondel

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22-04-11 Hearts U19s 1-0 Rangers U19s

Hearts youngsters completed their home league programme with a good win at Riccarton over their Glasgow rivals with a 60th minute goal from captain, Colin Hamilton, which was Hearts 50th League goal of the campaign.  The win came at a cost though as both Denis Prychynenko and Chris Kane both suffered injuries that saw them both on crutches.  In a game of few chances, Hearts still fully merited the victory as they were the better side in possession and enjoyed a territorial advantage for much of the game.

Darren Murray fielded the same side that won away to St Mirren last week.

Rangers set up very defensively in the first half and relied on long balls up to their striker Kane Hemmings who was well marshaled for the most part by Colin Hamilton and Jamie McCormack. There was little of note in terms of chances in the first half, with neither keeper having to make a save, although Hearts increasingly dominated possession as the half progressed. The main talking point was the injury to Denis Prychynenko who had to go off with a twisted knee. Let\’s hope it\’s not too serious and that he can get a run out with the first team before the end of the season. Callum Paterson replaced Denis after 31 minutes. Hearts only chance of the half fell to Jordan Morton who volleyed over from 8 yards after Rob Ogleby unsettled the Rangers defence.

Rangers replaced Kal Naismith and Kane Hemmings at half time, clearly saving then for Wednesday\’s Youth Cup Final at Hampden. Hearts continued to have the better possession and territorial advantage as Rangers were hardly seen in the final third. Rob Ogleby missed a great chance on 52 minutes after Callum Paterson set him up with a great pass into the right channel. Rob outpaced the defenders but his angled shot was wall saved by Drummond, the Rangers keeper.

Hearts were hit by a second injury blow after 58 minutes when Chris Kane took a sore one on the shin and had to be helped off. Chris Tobin came on in his place. Two minutes later Hearts went ahead. Fraser Mullen took a corner on the left that was only half cleared and the ball was fed back out to him still on the left wing. Fraser whipped a great ball into the far post and Callum Paterson knocked the ball back into the path of captain Colin Hamilton who hooked the ball into the net from six yards, unusually for him with his right foot

It was a lead that Hearts were not to give up. They continued to pass and probe forward with Jason Holt prominent. Hamilton headed another Mullen corner just wide and Jordan Morton had a couple of decent efforts from distance that just went wide. Billy King replaced Rob Ogleby with five minutes left and he too created a couple of half chances. Rangers created one chance themselves late on but the shot was hit wide of the target.

Hearts are now two points behind leaders Celtic but they still need Celtic to lose to Motherwell tomorrow if the league is to go to the final game.

Best for Hearts were Jason Holt, Jordan Morton and my MOTM, Colin Hamilton.

Hearts line up

Hamilton
Mullen McCormack Hamilton McHattie
Morton Kane (Tobin) Prychynenko (Paterson) Holt Smith
Ogleby (King)
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30-04-11 Celtic U19s 0-3 Hearts U19s

Hearts completed their league programme earlier today with an outstanding performance from what was a very  young side, convincingly beating Celtic, the league and cup winners 3-0 at Lennoxtown.   Hearts completely outplayed Celtic from start to finish, dominating the game, both in terms of possession and territory.

All the goals came in the 2nd half with two from Callum Paterson with a Jason Holt tap-in sandwiched in between. Islam Feruz started for Celtic but it was to be a short appearance for the youngster as he was dismissed after 37 minutes after swinging an arm in the direction of Kevin McHattie.

Hearts made three enforced changes from the win against Rangers with Denis Prychynenko and Chris Kane out injured and Rob Ogleby on international duty with Wales. Chris Tobin and Calum Paterson deputised in midfield with Billy King up front.

Despite a strong crosswind Hearts quickly settled into their passing game with Tobin and Holt pulling the strings. Chances however were limited to long range efforts from Holt, Paterson and Morton, none of which really tested the keeper. On one rare attack by the home side Kevin McHattie made a good defensive header from a cross from the left. Celtic\’s Tony Watt was their only threat with his pace but was expertly handled by Colin Hamilton.

Islam Feruz had a difficult time as Kevin McHattie repeatedly got the better of him. His frustration showed firstly in an exchange of words with Darren Murray who told him to calm down. It had no effect as soon after he then upended McHattie with a wild lunge on the touchline on 21 minutes for which he was shown a yellow card. Things went from bad to worse when he lashed out an arm at Kevin McHattie and received a shown a straight red card on 37 minutes.

The second half saw Paterson and Morton swap flanks but the play continued as before with Hearts creating half chances, while Celtic sat in, hoping to hit on the break. Jordan Morton might have done better with a shot from the edge of the box as Fraser Mullen put in a good cross in 46 minutes. Celtic created their first real chance of the game in 55 minutes with a free kick on the right which was headed back across goal, but the ball was hooked clear by the Hearts defence. Morton and Paterson both had decent efforts at goal that went wide before Tony Watt created a good opening for himself on 61 minutes after beating Mullen and McCormack out wide then cut inside but his shot went just wide of the target.

The opening goal came on 70 minutes immediately after a switch by Darren Murray that saw Dave Smith move to the right flank and Callum Paterson move inside to a striker\’s role. It was those two who were to combine for the goal. Chris Tobin fed Dave Smith on the right and he got the better of the full back before crossing low for Callum Paterson to side-foot home from 6 yards. It was no more than Hearts deserved.

Celtic had one opportunity to level the scores but an angled shot from Watt was tipped round the post by Jack Hamilton in the Hearts goal.

With three minutes left Hearts doubled their lead after a low cross come shot from Dave Smith was met by Jason Holt ghosting in at the back post to tap in from three yards. In 89 minutes Hearts went 3-0 up after a Chris Tobin header found its way through a static Celtic defence to Calum Paterson who slotted the ball past Robbie Thomson in the Celtic goal from 16 yards.

Hearts fully deserved the victory today and it was a scoreline that didn\’t flatter them in any way aaginst the league and cup winners. It was heartening that the win was achieved with 8 of the 11 players still being eligible to play again at U19 next season.

Man of the match was Chris Tobin who controlled the tempo of the game throughout with his accurate passing and neat turns into space.

The win was Hearts eighth in a row and left then agonisingly only 2 points adrift of Celtic at the top of the table.

Hearts line up
Hamilton
Mullen McCormack Hamilton McHattie
Morton Smith Tobin Holt Paterson
King

Subs (all unused) Fairley, Saunderson, McMillan, Carrick

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04-05-11 Clydesdale Bank Awards – Jason Holt

Last, night , Hearts midfield dynamo, Jason Holt picked up the Clydesdale Bank SPL U19 Player of the Year Award at a glittering awards ceremony  in Glasgow’s Fruitmarket.  It was a tremendous accolade and achievement for the youngster to be named the best player in the country at his age group.

Jason has had on outstanding season with the U19s, scoring seven goals in the U19 League, mainly with late runs into the box and some exquisite finishing.

On receiving his award, Jason said “It’s been a great season for the U19s and all credit to the players. The gaffer is hoping to give young boys a chance before the season ends so hopefully I can do enough in training to stay in his thoughts. I was with the first team squad in Italy for last season which was a great experience and if I can keep doing well at youth level hopefully I’ll get a chance soon”

It was a double celebration for Jason as he was also named in Scotland’s U19 squad for next week’s two challenge matches against Denmark.

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02-06-11 Jordan McGhee – Scotland U15 Debut

Congratulations to Hearts U15 centre back, Jordan McGhee who made his Scotland U15 international debut against Belgium in a double header on 31st May at Dunblane and 2nd June at Linlithgow.  Jordan played the full 80 minutes in the first match and for the first half of the second game.

For the record, Scotland drew the first match 1-1 and won the second 2-0.

Match reports on both matches are available from the SFA website by following the links below:

>Scotland 1-1 Belgium

>Scotland 2-0 Belgium

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15-06-11 Review of Season 2010/11

Hearts 2010/11 season will be viewed as being “so near and yet so far”, as they finished the league just two points adrift of champions, Celtic.  I’m certain that Darren Murray will look back on the season as having been very successful, but will think that if only a couple of things had gone differently then we may have had a different and positive outcome for the team.

Prior to the start of the season, the composition of the team looked good, with all indications suggesting that the team would be competitive, with a solid defence, a technically adept midfield and a physical presence up front with the welcome attraction of pace throughout the team.  The squad was nicely balanced in terms of experience with a mixture of 1st and 2nd year players with a couple of U17s thrown in.

The pre-season games went well with the team scoring freely against Edinburgh University, Coldstream and Newcastle United’s Academy side. These games allowed Darren Murray to quickly form an opinion of what was his best side. However, the squad size was somewhat bloated with 24 full timers, therefore an early decision was made to send five players out on loan to East of Scotland or Junior sides, to get some game time more than anything else. These were Murray Christie, Brad McKay, Dale O’Hara, Chris Tobin and Chris Kane.

The league season started well with comfortable home victories against St Mirren and Kilmarnock with 11 goals scored and none conceded with some exceptional goals thrown in. A high tempo, short passing game was evident in both games and was to become the team’s trademark as the season progressed.

If the start of the season had led to high expectations, then the next four games were about to create more of a sense of realism.  First up was league favourites, Celtic.  Hearts were without key personnel in Jamie Walker and Scott Robinson due to injury, but put up a great fight before losing 1-0 in a tight match. They were left to regret a missed Fraser Mullen penalty while they were on top in the first half.

The following week a controversial red card for Colin Hamilton, a penalty award which was overturned on the say so of the assistant referee and the width of a post were the main factors in a 0-0 draw away to Dundee United.

The youngsters got back to winning ways against Inverness C.T. but had to rely on an injury time winner from substitute Callum Paterson in an unconvincing performance to complete a 4-3 victory.

The following match against bottom of the table Hamilton was to produce the biggest shock of the season for any team in the league as Hearts lost 7-0.  It is difficult to understand what went wrong that day as every effort that Hamilton had at goal hit the back of the net. Darren Murray called in everyone for an extra training session at 7am the next morning, but I think everyone was fully aware that the whole team had failed to play to the required standard. It was best to treat it as just one of those results to forget and to get on with preparing for the next game.

If the Hamilton game was to be viewed as the low point of the season, then the team quickly set about re-establishing their status with a series of good performances coupled with a return to their early season previous free scoring exploits.  A 5-0 win over Motherwell was followed up with a terrific performance at East Mains to beat Hibs 4-0. Another 4-0 win followed in the SFA Youth Cup against Dundee United at Tynecastle, including a Rob Ogleby hat trick. This was followed up with 5-2 and 1-0 home wins against Aberdeen and St Johnstone respectively.

That run of victories was highlighted by some exceptional individual performances, particularly from Jason Holt, but even he was outdone by Denis Prychynenko’s unbelievable striking of free kicks from 20-35 yards out.  Simply put, if Denis hit the target it was more often than not a goal.

Winter set in with a vengeance after the St Jonstone game, with the result that Hearts only played two games over the next three months, both of which they lost. The first in mid December against, at that point bottom of the table, Kilmarnock, will probably be viewed as the most disappointing and avoidable loss of the campaign.  3-0 down at half time revived memories of the Hamilton debacle, but the team rallied in the second half and was unlucky not to get a result after pulling back two goals midway through the half from another Denis Prychynenko free kick and a neat overhead kick from Kevin McHattie.

A month later, the 1-0 loss to Hibs in the SFA Youth Cup was very disappointing as Hearts failed to match their opponent’s desire and work rate.

Competitive football eventually resumed at the end of February with an away game against Hamilton, at Linlithgow. Hearts were without Denis Prychynenko who had earned a place on the bench with the first team, but welcomed back Jamie Walker for his first game since the end of August.  Chris Kane and Chris Tobin were also available having completed their loan spells.  In a close game, it was Jamie who scored the only goal from the spot as Hearts regained a small measure of revenge for their early season defeat.   Another 1-0 victory followed against Motherwell, with Jason Holt the scorer of the only goal.

Despite the last two wins, Hearts weren’t playing with the fluency they had showed earlier in the season and deservedly lost their next game away to Aberdeen by 2-1.  It looked as if their chances of challenging for the league had gone.

A backlog of games caused by the winter snow meant that the team had the prospect of playing twice a week for the rest of the season.  The first of those games against Dundee United proved to be a pivotal one.  A last minute goal from Aaron Murdoch gave Hearts a 2-1 win, the first time they had come from behind to get a result all season.

Wins against St Johnstone and Hibs followed with Denis Prychynenko again showing his prowess from free kicks, before a visit to Rangers at Murray Park provided one of the performances of the season.  Hearts went behind early on, but gradually took control of the game as the first half progressed.  The second half saw Hearts completely dominate the home side and score four goals without reply to run out comfortable winners with Jason Holt, Denis Prychynenko and Jamie Walker outstanding.

A return visit to Dingwall, after the original game against Inverness C.T. had been abandoned due to snow, gave Hearts a 3-1 win with the help of a sweet strike from Fraser Mullen.  A 2-1 win away to St Mirren kept alive Hearts slim hopes of the league title but it was out of their hands as they still needed Rangers and Celtic to slip up in the run in.

Hearts had a welcome weekend break in the middle of April which they used to participate in the Clydesdale Invitational Tournament in Guernsey, which they won comfortably without conceding a goal.  Denis Prychynenko was also voted player of the tournament.

The last two league games were against the Old Firm.  The first against Rangers resulted in a 1-0 win with a goal from captain Colin Hamilton, but a season ending knee injury to Denis Prychynenko meant that he missed out on a chance to get his debut with the first team. The win also guaranteed the Hearts would finish no worse the second in the league table.

Celtic duly went on to win the league after winning their games in hand leaving Hearts with only pride to play for in their final game at Lennoxtown.  Another outstanding performance saw Hearts outplay their Glasgow rivals and prevail by 3-0.  It was a result that left Hearts just two points adrift and looking back on a couple of below par performances earlier in the season that probably cost them the title.

Overall, it was a very good season for the youngsters as they won plaudits from a number of other coaches for their style of play.  It was noticeable that Hearts best performances were reserved for away wins at East Mains, Murray Park and Lennowtown.  The excellent playing surface at each of those venues was clearly conducive to Hearts passing game.

On the negative side, it appeared that the team played their best football when they were playing week after week. Some of the poorest performances and results followed a break in the fixtures, whether caused by the weather or other reasons.

Injuries also played their part with Ryan Stewart unavailable all season with a back injury. Jamie Walker missed much of the season after tearing a meniscus (cartilage) in his knee. Although he came back after surgery, he continued to suffer swelling on the knee following each game and had to have a second operation before the end of the season. Scott Robinson missed the early part of the season with a muscle problem. Late in the season saw Aaron Murdoch and Denis Prychynenko both suffer knee ligament damage resulting in a premature end to their seasons.  It is to the immense credit of the rest of the squad that they still managed to finish the season with eight consecutive wins.

Other positives included international recognition for Jason Holt, Scott Robinson, Rob Ogleby and Jack Hamilton.  Jason Holt was also voted Clydesdale Bank U19 Player of the Year, although he was pipped by Denis Prychynenko to the HYDC award.  It was just reward for their outstanding performances throughout the season.  Scott Robinson made a few appearances for the first team and Jason Holt also made his first team debut, coming on a substitute in the final game of the season against Dundee United.

Sadly, at the end of the season, the cut throat nature of youth football meant that Connor Fairley, Jamie McCormack, Murray Christie and Shaun Hill were among a number of players released by the club.  We wish them all well for the future.

On the positive side, Colin Hamilton, Denis Prychynenko, Scott Robinson, Jordan Morton and Rob Ogleby can look forward to their first season as senior professionals.  Again we wish them well for the future.

Darren Murray will now be faced with building his squad for next season.  With a number of players from last season still being eligible, the team is again likely to display good technique, although perhaps not quite as physically strong.  All in all it augurs well for another good season at U19 level.

Eric Clelland

14/06/11

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