Youth Can Play Their Part
Hearts will be looking to their young players to help them though the current problems.
Jamie MacDonald has faith in their youngsters Hearts will have to rely on but recognises that the club would benefit from signing experienced players. Hearts have had the transfer embargo lifted by the SPL after the club confirmed that players were paid on time. However, there are conditions imposed on who they can sign following a failure to pay outstanding bonus money. Australia international Ryan McGowan and back-up goalkeeper Peter Enckelman have both left the club this month, but Hearts can only sign under-21 players, who are brought in on deals worth less than the departing player, on a 'one-in, one-out' basis. Ahead of the game with Celtic, manager John McGlynn faces further, temporary problems with captain Marius Zaliukas and midfielder Ryan Stevenson, his most recent signing in August, suspended. Scott Robinson remains out injured and fellow midfielder Mehdi Taouil is doubtful with a foot problem, while full-backs Jamie Hamill and Danny Grainger remain long-term absentees with knee injuries. MacDonald said: "It's obviously a very difficult situation. We have got a young squad and the conditions are it's young players we are going to bring in. I think the club could be doing with an experienced player or two. That's just the way it is. We have still got a good squad, it's a good crop of young players we have here." The 'keeper is not bothered by the necessary defensive reshuffle, although Andy Webster should return from injury. He said: "It's not a problem. The Hibs game, Dylan (McGowan) came in at centre-back and Darren Barr played right-back and kept a clean sheet. We just get on with our job. The boys we have got to fill in are more than capable on their day. I have full confidence in them and there is no worry. The young boys who have come in have done really well. Obviously results haven't been as good as we would have liked but I think performances generally have been pretty good and we have been unfortunate. Maybe that's where experience counts, sometimes we have maybe not had the experience to hold out in games." McGlynn predicted his team for the game at Parkhead could be among the youngest in the club's history and, with more cutbacks required to keep the club in business, more experienced players are likely to leave before the start of next season. MacDonald said: "Everyone is aware of that, it's a transitional period. The main thing is the club's survival. "The club has to get self-sufficient. It's going to be difficult and next year there could be a lot of new faces but we will just have to see what happens." Hearts managed to avoid a winding-up order last month by paying a tax bill with help from the fans who contributed to a £1million share issue but anticipated season expenditure exceeded income by £2million. With McGowan and David Templeton sold this season, that sort of money may presumably need to be cut off next season's budget. MacDonald added: "I think the club have been working very hard to get the finances. Selling Ryan will go a long way to helping the club but I think indications are it's starting to look a lot better. Obviously the fans raised a lot of money, which was great and we can't thank them enough. But I think we will be okay now. It's a case of getting to the end of the season and I think the club will be running self-sufficient. The club have done really well because they have just been cut off all of a sudden from the funding from UBIG and I think things are starting to look a little bit brighter."
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