Heart of Midlothian FC Tryouts
Heart of Midlothian Football Club is a Scottish professional football club based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The club currently plays in the Scottish Premiership, the country’s highest football league in Scotland.
Heart of Midlothian FC Youth Development System
The Academy strives to develop players who are capable of performing in the Heart of Midlothian FC first team. We work with players from as young as six years of age and the curriculum becomes progressively more demanding as the players advance through the Academy.
Heart of Midlothian FC Academy
The players focus mainly on technique, passing, movement and possession during their early years in the Academy, learning new turns, new tricks and they are encouraged to demonstrate their skills in match situations. As the players progress through the Academy system they learn the Hearts principles of play and enhance their knowledge of the tactical aspects of the game.
Each player is developed with the very best input from the coaches, the sports science team, the performance analysts, supported by a first-class medical team. Heart of Midlothian FC works closely with our partners Heriot-Watt University to deliver the very best Academy programme.
The success of the philosophy at Heart of Midlothian Football Club is dependent upon the teamwork, dedication and effort from every member of staff. There is a genuine belief in the purpose, objective and philosophy of the Academy by staff at all levels of the club from manager, Daniel Stendel right down to the junior Academy coaches.
Heart of Midlothian FC Recruitment Trials
Heart of Midlothian FC does not hold open trials for players wishing to be part of the Academy. We have a large scouting network which allows us to cover games and tournaments across Scotland, which is our main source of recruiting young players with outstanding ability.
Should anyone wish to be considered for a trial, the following procedure applies. Players between the age of six and 18 years are asked to send their CV by way of supplying the following details to the club:
- Age & date of birth
- Contact address and telephone number
- Current club
- Position you play
- A list of forthcoming fixtures playing in
- You can email this information to [email protected]
The recruitment staff will assess the details and make a decision as to whether or not a scout will be sent to watch the games.
Academy trails will last for a period of approximately six weeks during which time the player will train and play with the current registered players in the relevant age group, monitored by the Academy staff.
A decision will be made within this period as to whether to sign the player for Hearts or to continue to have the player monitored at their club. If someone does not receive a reply within 14 days, please assume the request for a trial with Heart of Midlothian Football Club has been unsuccessful.
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Heart of Midlothian FC History
Friends who met through the Heart of Midlothian Quadrille Assembly Club got together and decided to form their own club. Prior to playing a game of local rules football at The Meadows, the group of friends made a purchase of a ball at the Tron, where they were given directions to play by a member of the community police force. Rugby and association football were the two primary influences on local rules football. In December of 1873, a match was played at Raimes Park in Bonnington between XIs chosen by Mr. Thomson from Queens Park and Mr. Gardner from Clydesdale. The bylaws of the Association were presented publicly for the very first time in Edinburgh during this event. After watching the contest, members of the dancing club made the decision in 1874 to adopt the rules established by the association. The newly formed team was given the name Heart of Mid-Lothian Football Club. The actual date that the club was established was never recorded; nevertheless, 1874 is considered to be the year that the club was established because this was the year that association regulations were adopted, despite the fact that Tom Purdie stated that the club was established in 1873. The first time that Heart of Midlothian was mentioned in a sporting context was in a report that was published in The Scotsman newspaper on July 20, 1864. The story was about a cricket match between The Scotsman and Heart of Midlothian. It is unknown whether or if this was the same club that went on to become the football club; nonetheless, it was standard practice for football clubs back in those days to compete in other sports in addition to football.
The club got its name from the historic county of Midlothian, which dates back to the Middle Ages. It was also inspired by the Heart of Midlothian mosaic, which is located on the Royal Mile. This mosaic marks the historic entrance to the Old Tolbooth jail, which was demolished in 1817 but was kept fresh in the mind by Walter Scott’s novel The Heart of Midlothian.
The club’s matches were held at the East Meadows, and in 1875, Hearts became members of the Scottish Football Association (SFA). They were also among the founding members of the Edinburgh Football Association. After joining the Scottish Football Association (SFA), Hearts were granted entry into the Scottish Cup for the first time. In October of 1875, a match between Hearts and the 3rd Edinburgh Rifle Volunteers took place at Craigmount Park in Edinburgh. [Note: The game was played to a scoreless draw in the end. At the Meadows, there was a second round of play that resulted in the same 0–0 tie. Both clubs were able to advance due to the rules that were in place at the time; nevertheless, Hearts was eliminated by Drumpellier in the subsequent round.
During the 1884–85 season, it was difficult for clubs in Scotland to attract players since players were more interested in playing in England due to the professional status of the game in England.
A protest was lodged against the club after they defeated Dunfermline 11–1 in the Scottish Cup after it was discovered that the team had fielded two professional players.
Because of this violation of the rules that were in place at the time, the Scottish Football Association placed Hearts on a two-year suspension. This was the first time that an SFA club had been suspended. The club was allowed back in when some members of the club’s committee were replaced.
During the early years of the Scottish Football League, Hearts enjoyed a great deal of success, and they were ultimately crowned league champions in both 1895 and 1896. In addition, throughout the period of time from 1891 to 1906, they won a total of four Scottish Cups. During the 1894–1895 season of the World Championship, the team competed against Sunderland and was defeated with a score of 5–3. In 1902, Hearts were successful in claiming the title of World Champions. They did so by defeating Tottenham Hotspur 3–1 in Tynecastle Park, following a scoreless draw in London a few months previously.
After beginning the 1914–15 season undefeated, Heart of Midlothian led the First Division by a comfortable margin in November 1914. They had opened the season with eight consecutive victories, including a 2–0 victory over the incumbent champions Celtic.
The beginning of the First World War and the beginning of a public debate on the morality of maintaining professional football when young soldiers were dying on the front line both occurred at the same time as this streak, which corresponded with the beginning of the streak. One of the proponents of the proposal to postpone the season was the chairman of Airdrieonians, Thomas Forsyth, who stated that “playing football while our men are fighting is abhorrent.” The Scottish Football Association was presented with the motion to postpone the season. While this motion was defeated at the ballot box, with the SFA opting to wait for advice from the War Office, the East London philanthropist Frederick Charrington was orchestrating a public campaign to have professional football in Britain suspended, and he was achieving great popular support for his cause. During this time, the motion to suspend professional football in Britain was defeated at the ballot box. The most important strategy that Charrington’s campaign utilized was to publicly and privately condemn football players and officials in an effort to induce them to take action. As a direct response, sixteen players from Hearts enlisted in the new volunteer battalion that was being formed by Sir George McCrae and joined together on November 25, 1914. The battalion was the first to receive the nickname “footballer’s battalion,” which was later given to the 16th Royal Scots when it was established. A number of professional footballers from Raith Rovers, Falkirk, and Dunfermline were also a part of the group of volunteers. There were approximately 500 Hearts supporters and ticket-holders in the group, as well as 150 Hibernian fans.
As a result of the addition of military training to the standard football training regimen, the Hearts players went on an unbeaten run of 20 games between the months of October and February.
However, tiredness from their army activities, twice involving 10-hour nocturnal-marches the night before a league game, eventually led to a loss in form, as numerous enlisted players missed critical games. This caused the team’s overall performance to deteriorate. As a result of the Maroons’ losses to St. Mirren and Morton, Celtic was able to displace them and subsequently win the league title by a four-point margin.
Seven members of the first team—Duncan Currie, John Allan, James Boyd, Tom Gracie, Ernest Ellis, James Speedie, and Harry Wattie—and one former player, David Philip, all lost their lives as a result of the conflict.
There are two war memorials that commemorate this time period: the Heart of Midlothian War Memorial in Haymarket, Edinburgh, which was donated to the city by the club in 1922, and the McCrae’s Battalion Great War Memorial, which is located in Contalmaison.
The latter was moved to storage as a result of the work being done on the Edinburgh Trams, but it has since been replaced a little farther to the east of where it was previously located. The club has discussed the possibility of erecting an additional memorial in honor of the 1914 Hearts team. While football fans make a trip to Contalmaison every year, Hearts fans have their memorial ceremonies at Haymarket or, when the stadium was being stored, at Tynecastle Park.
During the years between the wars, Hearts was not successful in collecting any senior silverware. In February of 1932, at the age of sixteen, Tommy Walker became a member of the Hearts ground staff. Walker was able to play junior football for Linlithgow Rose until his 17th birthday in May since Scottish clubs were not permitted to officially sign youngsters until they reached the age of 17. A talented and elegant inside-forward, Walker quickly earned a place in the Hearts first team. He contributed to the team’s victory in the 1933 Jubilee edition of the Rosebery Charity Cup during a season in which they finished third in the league. Walker was a part of the team that won the Rosebery Charity Cup. In the 1933–1934 season, he was a regular member of the first team, although despite some decisive victories, Hearts’ performance was erratic, which led to a sixth-place finish.
Despite the fact that Walker scored 192 league goals for Hearts and played in sides that boasted numerous internationals, such as Scots Dave McCulloch, Barney Battles, Andy Anderson, and Alex Massie, Welshman Freddie Warren, and Irishman Willie Reid, Walker was destined not to win a major honor as a player at Tynecastle. This was the case despite the fact that Walker played in sides that boasted numerous internationals. During his tenure with the team, Hearts’ best finish in the league was second place, which they achieved in the 1937–1938 season.
Davie McLean was the one who planted the initial seeds for Tommy Walker to become successful as the manager of Hearts. On October 9, 1948, after a slow start to the 1948–49 season, Hearts manager McLean gave a competitive first team debut to 20-year-old centre forward Willie Bauld, 19-year-old inside left Jimmy Wardhaugh, and 22-year-old inside right Alfie Conn Sr. had already broken through to the first team, but this game marked the first time all three were deployed as a combined attacking force. Willie Bauld, Jimmy Wardhaugh They were given the moniker of the Terrible Trio and collectively scored more than 900 goals for Hearts. (Wardhaugh 376, Bauld 355, Conn 221). They competed against one another in a total of 242 games as a team. The mix of Wardhaugh’s dribbling abilities and non-stop running, Bauld’s cerebral play and tremendous aerial ability, and Conn’s energetic, tenacious approach and strong shooting complimented each other very well. Wardhaugh, Bauld, and Conn all played well off of one other. Their debut game together as a forward combination resulted in a 6–1 victory over the East Fife club captained by Scot Symon during that era. This was significant because Symon’s squad had previously beaten the Maroons by a score of four to zero three weeks earlier.
A few weeks later, in December of 1948, Tommy Walker decided to leave Chelsea in the middle of his third season there and rejoin Hearts. He became the player assistant to the manager, McLean, and took on that duty. It was McLean’s hope that Walker would serve as a calming presence for a team that was still in the process of maturing. However, after making just one appearance at right back in a 1-0 loss at home to Dundee, Walker decided to hang up his cleats and devote his whole attention to gaining experience as a manager. When Hearts finished third in the League Championship in 1949–50, the club made discernible strides in that competition. McLean was given a seat on the Board of Directors on March 16, 1950, when it was determined that Tommy Walker’s influence had grown significantly.
After McLean passed away on February 14, 1951, Walker was given the role of manager and advanced to the position. The club’s history will remember Walker’s tenure as the most successful in terms of overall achievement. Walker was always eager to praise the contribution made by McLean and his fatherly care in looking out for the welfare and development of the players. This was something that Walker did without fail. The Terrible Trio forwards, the combination of Bobby Parker and Tam McKenzie at fullback, and the pairing of Bobby Dougan and Davie Laing at halfback were some of the essential foundations that Walker inherited from McLean. John Cumming had just recently made through to the first team, where he was to play the left half position, which he would go on to dominate for many years. This established core. Dave Mackay, who was still in school at the time, and Freddie Glidden both already played for Tynecastle but had not yet made their debuts with the first team. Parker was given the role of squad captain by Walker.
Walker was responsible for Mackay’s most important professional signing, which took place in 1952. (initially part-time whilst also working as a joiner). Mackay and Cumming, who were both playing wing half for the team, were going to constitute the core of the group in the middle of the field. Mackay was a very brilliant all-around player who was known for his relentless sprinting, savage tackling, and superb ball handling. Iron Man is a fitting nickname for Cumming since he is unflappable in his pursuit of his goals. In spite of his commitment, he was able to keep his temper under control and was never booked during the course of his career. Cumming was the only player on Hearts’ roster during Walker’s tenure to earn a medal for each of the seven trophies the team won. “He never played an unsatisfactory game. It was either a game that was fairly decent or one that was spectacular “Mackay would later say this of his old teammate. While still playing for Hearts, both went on to earn full Scotland international caps after their careers with the club.
The importance of Bauld to the squad was brought home during the 1952–1953 season, when he was sidelined for eight crucial league matches due to ankle ailments. The turnaround in Hearts’ luck coincided with Bauld’s return to full fitness after he had been out with an injury. They started the season in the lower half of the league but stormed their way up the standings to finish in fourth place (as they had the two previous seasons). As a result of this renaissance, they were able to play Rangers in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup in 1952–1953, which took place at Hampden Park in Glasgow in front of 116,262 spectators. In the final score of 2–1, Wardhaugh scored for the team. The trajectory of hearts, however, was finally heading in the right direction.
During the 1953–1954 season, Hearts appeared to be in good position to win the League championship, and Wardhaugh led the A Division in scoring with 27 goals. Despite this, on March 13, 1954, while playing away against Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup quarter final, the team lost 3-0, and three players suffered injuries: Parker cracked his jaw, Conn hurt his back, and Wardhaugh suffered a terrible lesion to his shin bone. Dougan had been dealing with a knee problem for some time when it finally forced him to retire from the Hearts first squad on November 9, 1953. (Dougan only subsequently played for Hearts in friendlies). Immediately after that, Walker asked Glidden to cover, and Glidden ended up replacing Dougan in the center half slot. Their season came to a halt in a stumbling finish, which allowed Celtic to pass them. The youthful Mackay made his first appearance with the squad for the first time on November 7 of the 1953–54 season, one week before he became nineteen years old. Mackay, who is more comfortable playing on the left side of the field than the right, wore the number six jersey that is typically worn by Cumming when he is not on the field. However, Mackay did not make his next two appearances until the middle of March, soon following the team’s loss in the Aberdeen cup. Both times, he played in Cumming’s position. The first time that Walker used Mackay, Glidden, and Cumming in the fourth, fifth, and sixth positions was on April 17, 1954, in a victory at Clyde that resulted in a score of 1-0.
The addition of Ian Crawford as a player in August of 1954 was a big boost for the team. Immediately following Laing’s departure for Clyde on September 5, 1954, Mackay was promoted to a more prominent position in the team for the 1954–1955 season. As a result of this, Walker came to the conclusion that the best combination for the number four, number five, and number six jerseys would be Mackay, Glidden, and Cumming. They quickly established themselves as a power capable of winning trophies, taking home their first of seven trophies over the course of nine seasons between 1954 and 1963. They did not win their first trophy again until October of the 1954–55 season, 48 years after their last victory in 1906. In the final of the 1954 Scottish League Cup, they prevailed over Motherwell by a score of 4–2. In the championship game, Bauld scored three goals, and Wardhaugh scored one, to give the team the trophy they needed to break through. By defeating Celtic both at home and away in the group stage of the Scottish League Cup competition in 1954–1955, Hearts was able to make up for their loss to Celtic the previous year.
Following the acquisition of Alex Young and Bobby Kirk, Walker’s team went on to triumph in the 1955–1956 Scottish Cup competition.
In the quarter finals, they defeated the Rangers with a score of 4–0 thanks to goals by Crawford, Conn, and a pair of goals by Bauld.
Cumming’s dedication to the team was on full display in the 1956 Scottish Cup Final, which was played in front of 132,840 spectators. After sustaining a head injury in the first half due to a collision with Celtic’s Willie Fernie, he commented, “Blood doesn’t show on a maroon shirt” although blood was gushing from the wound. He made his way back onto the pitch during the 3–1 victory and was outstanding throughout the game. This quotation may currently be found hanging in the rafters over the entrance to the players tunnel at Tynecastle. Kirk was versatile enough to play either of the full back positions, and he ended up taking Parker’s spot on the right side for the championship game. The moment that Glidden remembered as being the “sweetest” in his footballing career was when he was able to win the trophy while captaining Hearts.
Again during that season, Wardhaugh finished as the best scorer in the elite division. Crawford had two goals and Conn had one to contribute to the team’s victory in the cup final against Celtic. At the age of 29, Conn finished the 1955–1956 season at the height of his abilities, having scored a career-high 29 goals from a total of 41 games. Conn was the third member of the dreadful trio to earn a full Scotland cap on May 2, 1956, two weeks after the team’s victory in the cup competition. After 12 minutes, he gave his team a 1–1 tie with Austria at Hampden Park by scoring the game’s first goal. However, in September of the next year he broke his jaw when playing against Hibernian, which sidelined him until January of the following year. It became clear that the days of the Terrible Trio operating as a unified force were drawing to a close.
Gordon Marshall, when 17 years old, made his debut in 1956, and George Thomson, being 19 years old, did the same in February 1957. Marshall, who would go on to represent England at the under-23 level internationally, became a regular goalkeeper with Hearts until 1963. The majority of the 1956–1957 season had Hearts atop the Scottish League standings. The outcome of Rangers’ match at Tynecastle on April 13 was crucial to the title race. A heated game was played in front of a packed crowd, and George Niven, the goalkeeper for the Rangers, was named man of the match. The single goal of the game came from Billy Simpson of Rangers, who scored on the break in the 35th minute. Hearts were unable to defeat him. Rangers were able to overcome Hearts and win the trophy by winning the games that they had an advantage in.
Walker was the first player in Scottish football history to win all three major trophies, and he accomplished this feat by claiming the League Championship in 1957–58. Due to the catastrophic ankle injury that Conn sustained, he was only able to participate in five league games throughout the entire season. Due to an injury, Conn moved on from Hearts to Raith Rovers in September 1958, barely two years after reaching his peak performance in 1956. This came after 408 games with the first team and 221 goals scored. Because of injuries, Bauld was only able to play nine times during Hearts’ run to the league title, but their new attacking trio was unstoppable. With 28 goals, Wardhaugh won the title of leading marksman in the League for the third time. This put him one point ahead of Jimmy Murray, who had 27, and four points ahead of Young, who had 24. Mackay, who is now the captain of Hearts, had a total of 12 points and was fourth in the league scoring statistics. In the 1957–1958 season, Hearts broke records for the most points, goals scored, and goal difference on their way to winning the League championship. They finished with 62 points out of a possible 68 after playing in all 34 league games, which was 13 points more than their closest competitor. They scored 132 goals, which is still the record for the Scottish first flight, while they only allowed 29 goals against, which resulted in a record net difference of +103. This Hearts team was the club’s all-time best in the league. Both Murray and Mackay were members of the Scotland national team that competed in the 1958 FIFA World Cup. During that tournament, Murray scored the goal that tied Scotland with Yugoslavia 1–1. In his final year with the Hearts, Parker was a player who mostly played on the bench during their championship season. After that, he became a member of the club’s coaching staff and then joined the Board of Directors, where he served as chairman for a while.
Rangers were eliminated by Hearts in the group stage of the Scottish League Cup in 1958–1959. That particular match for the Scottish League Cup Final in October 1958 was won by a resounding 5–1 victory over Partick Thistle. Bauld and Murray scored two goals apiece, and Johnny Hamilton had one goal scored against him. By maintaining their position as league leaders into the middle of December, Hearts successfully defended their title. A team that traveled to Ibrox but did not have Mackay due to injury was defeated 5–0, and all of the goals were scored in the opening 35 minutes of play. As a result, Rangers moved up to first place in the rankings based on their goal average. This set the stage for a stretch in which the team won only two of the next seven games in which Mackay was not injured. On March 7, 1959, Hearts won their home league match against Queen of the South by a score of 2–1. Rangers were the clear favorites to win the title after the QoS game. They had six games left to play and were six points ahead of Hearts, who were in second position. Even if Hearts were to win their remaining seven games, including a game in hand and beating Rangers in their visit Tynecastle in Rangers’ visit Tynecastle in Rangers’ penultimate game of the season, Rangers would still need to drop two points elsewhere and give away a superior goal average in order to catch up to Hearts. Mackay played his final game for Hearts in the league match against QoS. After accepting a bid of £32,000 from Tottenham Hotspur for their captain, who was fit at this time despite having had lengthy spells out injured in the previous 12 months, Hearts accepted the bid. Mackay’s departure from Hearts marked the end of his time with the club. In order to add depth to the team, Bobby Rankin was acquired, and he promptly scored twice in each of his first two contests (both victories). On the Saturday before the final one of the league season, goals scored by Cumming and Rankin at home against Rangers put Hearts in a position where they were four points behind with a game in hand. They continued their winning streak with a 4–2 victory away to Aberdeen throughout the week, with Rankin scoring a hat trick. Rangers started the last day of the regular season two points ahead of Hearts and with an identical goal average to Hearts. Rangers were therefore in need of a point to claim the championship, but they were defeated by Aberdeen 2–1 at their own stadium. At the break, Hearts led Celtic Park by a score of 1-0 thanks to Rankin’s ninth goal in his fifth game for Hearts. Bobby Kirk, who plays right defense for Hearts, was sidelined with a knee injury. Any victory would have been enough to give Hearts the championship. Then, Celtic’s Bertie Auld scored an equalizing goal while playing on the left wing for his team, and then Eric Smith scored the game-winning goal to clinch the title for Celtic’s cross-city rivals, Tynecastle, leaving those at Tynecastle to wonder what might have transpired if Mackay hadn’t been sold when he was.
Billy Higgins eventually succeeded Mackay as the club’s mainstay at half back, taking over the role that Mackay had previously held. As a result of Glidden’s reoccurring back problem during that season, the playing days he had left at Tynecastle were numbered and he was forced to retire after winning the League Cup. 1959 was the year that MacKenzie, then 36 years old, and Wardhaugh both left. He had a total of 376 goals scored for Hearts in 518 appearances, including 206 goals in the league and 304 goals overall.
Gordon Smith suffered from a recurrent ankle ailment during his time at Hibernian, which led to his free transfer in the year 1959. During his time at Hibernian, Smith won three Scottish championships and 19 full caps for Scotland. Smith had a surgical procedure done on his injured ankle because he was under the impression that it would be able to treat the condition and pay for it himself. After that, he became a member of Hearts, his favorite band from his youth. At Tynecastle, he was almost immediately successful, as he led the club to victory in the 1959 Scottish League Cup Final and won the league championship in his first season with the club. In Hearts’ second consecutive appearance in the League Cup Final, Hamilton scored, and Young hit the game-winning goal. Third Lanark suffered a loss by the score of 2–1. The year 1960 came to a close with Walker receiving the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to football.
Walker sought to adapt to football’s tactical developments by establishing a 4–2–4 configuration throughout the 1960s, which resulted in Hearts’ fortunes fluctuating during that decade. It was in November of 1960 when Young and Thomson made their move to Everton. At Everton, Young was referred to as “The Golden Vision,” and he became another player produced by the Walker family’s assembly line of full Scotland internationalists. Smith’s season was marred by injuries, which led to his signing with Dundee (who became the third club with whom he won the Scottish title). Willie Wallace and David Holt, both of whom will become full internationalists in the near future, were added to the Hearts roster. After a rematch, Hearts was unable to win the Scottish League Cup Final in 1961. Cumming’s penalty kick gave Hearts a well-earned 1–1 draw in the opening game against the Scot Symon-managed Rangers, which Hearts had dominated for the most of the match. During their eventual loss in the 3–1 rematch, Norrie Davidson scored a goal for Hearts that then equalized the score.
After 510 games with the main squad, Bauld finished his career at Hearts in 1962 with 355 goals.
Willie Hamilton, a potential future internationalist, joined the team during their run that culminated in a victory in the 1962 Scottish League Cup Final. After beating Willie Waddell’s excellent Kilmarnock team of the era 1–0 in the championship game, Hearts were awarded the trophy for the fourth time. This time around, the outcome was determined by Davidson’s goal. In a victory similar to the one they had in 1954–55, Hearts defeated Celtic in the group stage of the Scottish League Cup in 1962–1963.
During the 1964–1965 season, Hearts and Waddell’s Kilmarnock battled it out for the championship title. During the time when one point was awarded for a victory, Hearts were in the lead by three points with two matches to go. As a result of Hearts and Dundee United playing to a draw, the league will be decided in the last match of the season, which will take place at Tynecastle and feature the two teams competing for the title. Kilmarnock required a victory by a score difference of at least two goals in order to claim the championship. Hearts came into the game as the odds-on favorite thanks to their statistical profile and the fact that they were playing at home. They also had an impressive track record of trophy wins under Walker’s direction. In contrast, Waddell’s Kilmarnock had practically all of the characteristics of men. They had finished in second place in the league four out of the previous five seasons, with the exception of the 1960 season when Hearts won. Killie had also been unsuccessful in the finals of three domestic cup competitions over the same time span, notably the League Cup Final against Hearts in 1962. Under Walker’s direction, Hearts competed in a total of six senior cup finals and won five of them. Even the championship game they had lost was decided in a replay after the initial game had been tied. After six minutes, Hearts’ Roald Jensen had a shot that was saved by the post. The next two goals for Kilmarnock came from Davie Sneddon and Brian McIlroy, who scored after 27 and 29 minutes, respectively. In the second half injury time, Alan Gordon had a great opportunity to seal the deal and win the championship for Hearts, but Bobby Ferguson made a diving save and sent the ball wide of the post. Hearts lost the championship. The final score was 2-0, which meant that Hearts fell short of winning the championship by an average of 0.042 goals. After that, Hearts were key in pressing through a move that separated clubs that were tied on points to utilize goal difference as the separating factor. Ironically, a regulation change in the future prevented Hearts from winning the championship in 1985–1986.
Walker handed in his resignation in September of 1966, following a downward trend in outcomes. While he was the manager of Hearts, the team won seven senior trophies and finished in second place in five others. One year later, Cumming joined the coaching staff after stepping down from the playing staff.
The late 1960s were highlighted by the team’s run to the Scottish Cup Final in 1968, where they were defeated by George Farm’s Dunfermline Athletic by a score of 3–1. In the late sixties and early seventies, the most notable players were Jim Cruickshank, Alan Anderson, and Donald Ford. In the later decades of the century, Drew Busby joined the other three. The decade of the 1970s was highlighted by yet another appearance in the Scottish Cup Final. They were defeated by Rangers in the final by a score of 3-1 in the 1975–1976 season. As a direct consequence of the introduction of the ten-team Premier Division in 1975, Hearts were demoted for the first time the following year, in 1977. This was the beginning of a pattern in which the team would yo-yo between the Premier League and the First Division six times over the course of seven seasons.
After purchasing a majority stake in Hearts for the price of 265,000 pounds sterling on May 25, 1981, Wallace Mercer, then 34 years old, was appointed chairman of the company.
The Edinburgh club Hearts had just been demoted from the premier division for the third time in the past five years. Alex MacDonald was given the position of Player-Manager at Mercer in December of 1981, following a promotion. After the conclusion of the 1982–1983 campaign, Hearts earned automatic promotion to the premier division. They were able to turn their fortunes around and rejoin the more competitive clubs in Scotland’s top league as a result of this. Their finest season since 1965 was 1985–1986, which they won. The beginning of the league season was marked by a defeat of five of the first eight games played. After that, the club proceeded on an unbroken streak of 27 games in the league, eventually ascending to first place on the 21st of December after a 1–0 victory away at St. Mirren.
To win the Scottish league championship, Hearts needed only a draw from their final game of the season, which took place away against Dundee on May 3, 1986. Before that last game, they had a better goal difference than Celtic by four goals and were two points ahead of them in the standings. However, this robust statistical position was weakened in the lead up to the game when several players on the Hearts squad were struck down by a viral virus. This was a significant blow to the team’s chances of winning. Due to his illness, Craig Levein was unable to go to Dundee for the match. At the halftime break of their final match, Celtic were leading St. Mirren, 4–0, on the road. As a result, the players understood going into the halftime break that they would need to produce a result at Dens Park. With seven minutes left to play, substitute Albert Kidd was successful in forcing Hearts to give up a corner kick. Kidd was the one to put Dundee in front after the in-swinging corner was touched on and it fell to him. This was the first goal that Hearts had let up all season that came from a corner kick. To win the championship, Hearts needed to score an equalizer at this point. Kidd, on the other hand, made a run with the ball from the half-way line all the way down the right flank, beating out two Hearts defenders in the process. After that, he capped off the play by scoring a second goal with four minutes left on the clock by playing a one-two with a teammate on the outside of the Hearts box. Dundee won 2–0. Because of this and the fact that Celtic defeated St. Mirren by a score of 5–0, the two clubs that finished the season in first and second place tied for the same number of points. Celtic triumphed over Hearts by a margin of three goals in the goal differential. Hearts would have won the league championship in 1965 if goal difference had been the determining factor. In 1986, if goal average had been the criterion, Hearts would have been the champions. The lobbying that Hearts did following their league loss in 1965 ultimately cost them the championship in 1986.
The goal that Hearts had set for themselves was to win both the League and the Scottish Cup. After advancing past Dundee United under Jim McLean and Rangers under Alex Ferguson, they met Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen in the championship match. Aberdeen won the match 3-0, and as a result, Hearts ended in second place, just as they did in the league.
Once more, in 1988 and 1992, Hearts finished in second place in the league. The club was eliminated from the UEFA Cup by Bayern Munich 2–1 on aggregate after advancing to the quarterfinals in the 1988–1989 competition. After MacDonald left the club in the summer of 1990, the club had a difficult time choosing a new manager. Joe Jordan, Sandy Clark, and Tommy McLean were each terminated from their positions inside of a span of two years. In the Edinburgh Derby, Hearts faced their fiercest competition, Hibernian, on 22 separate occasions between April 1989 and April 1994. During that span, Hearts did not suffer a single defeat.
In 1994, Mercer parted ways with Chris Robinson and Leslie Deans by selling their their stake in Hearts. Although Hearts finished in second place three times in the Scottish top flight and once in the Scottish Cup during Mercer’s tenure as manager, the club did not win any senior trophies during his time in charge. Perhaps his personal influence at the club will be best recognized for his involvement in the 1990 effort to merge with Hibs. Fans of Hibs responded angrily and bitterly to Mercer’s attempts, which they interpreted as an attempt to take over and liquidate their team. Mercer eventually gave up and walked away from the situation.
Under the supervision of Jim Jefferies, a former player for Hearts, the team won the Scottish Cup in 1998 by defeating Rangers by a score of 2–1. The first goal was scored by Colin Cameron in the first minute, while the second was scored by Stephane Adam after the break. This was the first senior trophy that Hearts had won since the Scottish League Cup in 1962–1963 that was won under the Tommy Walker era.
Robbie Neilson’s goal helped Hearts to a 2–1 victory over FC Basel in the first group stages of the UEFA Cup in 2004–05, although the team nevertheless finished in last place in their group. This occurred despite the fact that Hearts had finished third in both 2003 and 2004. During the 2004–2005 year, they had a league finish of fifth place overall.
In 2004, the then-CEO of the club, Chris Robinson, revealed plans to sell Tynecastle, which he claimed was “not fit for purpose,” and instead have Hearts rent Murrayfield from the Scottish Rugby Union. Tynecastle was described as “not fit for purpose” by Robinson.
Because of the club’s ever-increasing financial obligations, this relocation was determined to be essential. Save Our Hearts was the name of the initiative that was started to try to stop the plan from being implemented because it was so unpopular with supporters. Due to the fact that Robinson and the people who supported him held a little majority of the club’s shares, an initial agreement to sell the stadium was reached with the Cala property development business for somewhat more than twenty million pounds.
In the middle of Hearts’ financial woes in August 2004, Russian-Lithuanian multi-millionaire Vladimir Romanov came into talks to take over Hearts. This event was afterwards referred to as the “Romanov Revolution.” Romanov had previously attempted to purchase Dundee United, Dundee, and Dunfermline, but all of his efforts had been fruitless. Romanov presented the possibility of the club remaining in Tynecastle when it had been renovated, which Hearts supporters found to be highly appealing. Chris Robinson came to an agreement with Romanov at the end of September 2004 to sell his 19.6 percent ownership in the company. In January of 2005, Romanov called for an extraordinary general meeting of the club in order for the membership to vote on and approve a proposal to exercise an escape clause in the agreement with Cala Homes. Because of the support of both Leslie Deans and the McGrail brothers, the motion received more than 70 percent of the vote and was ultimately successful. After Romanov gave financial guarantees that the club could continue to trade without selling Tynecastle, on February 2, 2005, the sale of Robinson’s shares was finalized so that the club could avoid having to sell Tynecastle. As a result of this sale, Romanov’s interest in the club climbed to 29.9 percent, thus handing him control of the organization. A spokesman for the fans expressed their approval of Romanov’s takeover. On October 21, 2005, Romanov boosted his investment in Hearts to 55.5 percent, and he offered to buy the rest of the company’s shares. Chairman George Foulkes transferred his shares to Romanov, and he urged other shareholders to do the same. In the long run, Romanov was able to grow his majority holding in Hearts to 82 percent.
Concerns were raised regarding Romanov’s handling of the club’s financial obligations at one point.
When Romanov took over the club, he made a commitment to pay off all of the team’s debt. A few time after the completion of the transaction, the debt was moved from HBOS and SMG to the financial institutions controlled by Romanov, which included kio bankas and UBIG. At the end of July 2007, the club had a total debt of £36 Million. On July 7, 2008, Hearts released a statement in which it was indicated that the club would issue debt for equity in order to lower the debt by twelve million pounds. A subsequent edition was finished in the year 2010. Since the takeover, Hearts have been late paying player wages on multiple occasions, and have been threatened with administration twice due to their inability to pay outstanding tax bills; the bill was finally settled in August of 2011. Hearts have also been fined twice for failing to pay an outstanding tax bill. Although they were still in a significant amount of debt, results for the fiscal year that ended on July 31, 2010, showed that Hearts had achieved a modest profit for the first time since 1999. However, the company was still deeply in debt.
George Burley was the first manager of Hearts during the Romanov era. He was appointed during the offseason by new chief executive Phil Anderton, who succeeded Chris Robinson as chief executive.
The Hearts got off to a fantastic start in the 2005–06 season, thanks in large part to the new management and players they signed. A club record that had stood since 1914 was tied by the team after they won their first eight league matches. Romanov stunned Scottish football when he fired George Burley the following day with Hearts were leading the SPL standings; ultimately, Hearts ended in second place. Fans of Hearts were made to believe that a “high class manager” would succeed Burley in his managerial role. Kevin Keegan, Bobby Robson, Claudio Ranieri, and Ottmar Hitzfeld were all names that were mentioned in connection with the open position. On October 31, 2005, Romanov fired Anderton, who had been the one making contact with these coaches. Romanov’s decision came after Anderton had been making these approaches. In response to Anderton’s firing, Foulkes resigned from his position as manager of the club. Foulkes was one of the individuals who was instrumental in recruiting Romanov. Romanov removed both of them from their positions and replaced them with his son, Roman Romanov. During his tenure at the club, there were a total of nine permanent managers in just seven years. This was a recurring theme during his time there. The next managerial change after those occurred on August 1, 2011, when Jim Jefferies was fired during his second stint at the club. His position was then filled by Paulo Sérgio, who had previously held the position of manager at Sporting CP.
Romanov has declared that the championship of the Champions League is his ultimate goal for the Hearts football team.
During the 2006–07 season, Hearts competed in the Champions League but was eliminated in the second qualifying round and played in the UEFA Cup instead of continuing on in the competition. Since then, Hearts has been unable to gain a spot in the Champions League by achieving the feat of splitting the Old Firm for a second time. The goal for Hearts became to finish third or higher in the Scottish Premier League.
In addition, Romanov was the owner of the Belarusian club FC Partizan Minsk and the Lithuanian club FBK Kaunas.
When Romanov took ownership of Hearts, FBK Kaunas provided the club with a number of players on loan. Hearts used these players in their season.
The club started having significant financial issues in November 2011, which caused them to be unable to pay the players’ wages. As a result, the club was put up for sale and the players were released from their contracts.
The team’s pay for the month of October were paid late, and their wages for the month of November were paid twenty-nine days late, just one day before their salaries were supposed to be paid for the month of December.
The payment for the month of December did not arrive on time; consequently, the players’ union filed a complaint with the Scottish Premier League on this matter.
During this time, the club informed players on the perimeter of the roster that they might depart at any time. The Scottish Premier League issued an injunction to Hearts on January 4, 2012, requiring them to pay all past due wages by January 11, 2012, and it stressed that January’s payments have to be paid on time, on January 16. Following the completion of Hearts’ trade with Wolves for Eggert Jónsson, all unpaid wages were settled on the same day. It was confirmed on January 17 that all of Hearts’ players had been paid, one day after their wages were supposed to have been handed to them. Despite this, the Scottish Professional Football League (SPL) released a statement in which it stated that Hearts had failed to pay all of their players on January 16 and that an emergency board meeting had been called; This was contested by Hearts, who stated that the salary had been paid to all of the players in the game. On November 7, 2012, the Court of Session in Edinburgh issued a winding-up order to Hearts as a result of the company’s late payment of a tax bill. This occurred because Hearts failed to pay the tax bill on time.
A media announcement issued by Hearts in the beginning of June 2013, during the offseason, claimed that the organization would need to collect a total of £500,000 in cash in order to keep the club up and functioning during the time between seasons. The club was forced into a position where they had no choice but to put their entire squad up for sale as a result of a lack of match day revenue and a lack of financial support from the club’s owner Romanov.
Heart of Midlothian began the process of falling into administration on June 17, 2013, with debts totaling £25 million. The company owed Ukio bankas, which had recently declared bankruptcy, £15 million.
Hearts Football Club turned down an offer from a Scandinavian consortium to receive an immediate payment of $500,000 in exchange for a share of any future transfer income from up to 12 players on June 18, 2013. The offer was made on the same day. On June 19, 2013, the club’s parent company, Ukio Bankas Investment Group (UBIG), filed papers at the Court of Session in Edinburgh for accountancy firm BDO to be named as administrators. This was the first step in the process of entering administration, which began when the club was put into administration.
On June 17, 2013, Hearts made public their plan to enter administration by announcing that they had filed court documents stating their intention to do so. On June 19, 2013, the club was placed under the management of administrators BDO. This meant that the club would not be able to register players beyond the age of 21 until at the earliest, February of 2014. They would not be able to sign any players, regardless of their age, as long as the organization was still in administration.
In addition to the prohibition on registering new players, Hearts were to have a third of their points total from the previous season erased. This meant that the club would begin the 2013–2014 season with fewer than 15 points. During this time period, the BDO administrator Trevor Birch urged with Hearts supporters to purchase season tickets. He stated that they needed to sell at least another 3,000 season tickets to raise additional £800,000 to keep the club functioning and avoid liquidation. The supporter community reached this goal and pushed overall season ticket sales past the 10,000 mark, which provided the club with further breathing room in its fight for continued existence. The deadline for interested parties to submit formal bids for the club was set for 12 July 2013, and there were three bids entered for the club; the first bid came from a supporters group called “The Foundation of Hearts,” the second bid came from a new company called “HMFC limited” that was backed by an American firm called Club Sports 9, and the third bid came from a previous owner of Livingston FC named Angelo Massone through Five Star Football Limited.
On August 15, 2013, “The Foundation of Hearts” received preferred bidder status in order to negotiate a CVA with the creditors of Hearts. The foundation was able to purchase the club using the money that was donated on a monthly basis by the supporters; the foundation also got an interest-free loan from a wealthy fan, which was to be repaid using the money that was directly owed to the foundation by the fans on a monthly basis. On December 2nd, the creditors of Hearts gave their approval to the CVA arrangement that was presented by “The Foundation of Hearts.”
On April 5, 2014, it was officially announced that the club would be demoted from the Scottish Premiership.
It was impossible for Hearts to come up to St. Mirren after they defeated Motherwell 3–2 and won their match away from home against Partick Thistle by a score of 4–2.
Vladimir Romanov’s association with the club came to an end on May 12, 2014, when Heart of Midlothian Plc was acquired by The Ann Budge-fronted Bidco 1874. This put an end to Vladimir Romanov’s affiliation with the club. Budge, who was instrumental in the takeover of the club by the Bidco 1874 company and provided financial backing for that group, was appointed the position of unpaid executive chairwoman of the club. Before the fan-supported Foundation of Hearts supporters group would gain control of the club, the Bidco group intended to maintain ownership of the organization for up to five years. The Foundation contributed one million pounds toward the club’s ongoing operations until the conclusion of the legal process to exit management. After that, the Foundation made an additional payment of £2.6 million (£2.5 million to cover the loan given by Bidco1874 Ltd to Hearts in order to finance the Creditors’ Voluntary Agreement, plus £100,000 for the shares), which allowed it to acquire 75% of the club’s shares and, as a result, control over the club’s management and the ability to make decisions. In addition, the Foundation has guaranteed that it will give the club a total of £2.8 million in working capital over the course of two years, at a rate of £1.4 million annually. More than 8,000 individuals contributed money to the transaction through a monthly direct debit, which served as the source of funding.
On June 11, 2014, the club was formally removed from administration, which resulted in the lifting of a signing ban that had been imposed upon the club the previous year.
By winning the Scottish Championship for the 2014–15 season with seven matches yet to play, Hearts ensured themselves an immediate promotion to the top tier of Scottish football, the Scottish Premiership. Hearts went through their first 20 league matches without suffering a loss, but a 3–2 loss at home to Falkirk put a stop to their winning streak. They were victorious in the championship by winning 29 of their 36 games, tallying 96 goals while only allowing 26 goals against, and finishing with a point total of 91. At the end of the season, they finished 21 points ahead of their closest contenders, city rivals Hibernian, and 24 points ahead of Rangers, who finished in third place. During the course of the season, Cowdenbeath was defeated by a score that tied a club record of 10–0. At the PFA Scotland Awards, Hearts had six players named to the Championship Team of the Year, two players nominated for Young Player of the Year, three players nominated for Championship Player of the Year, and manager Robbie Neilson was shortlisted for Manager of the Year.
The years that followed 2015 saw a decline in the previously achieved level of renewed stability. In spite of the fact that the club came in second place in the 2019 Scottish Cup Final, they were only able to finish in the middle of the table in 2017, 2018, and 2019. This downward trend took a turn for the worse in 2019–20, as Hearts were relegated as a result of finishing last in the Scottish Premiership. Throughout the course of the season, Hearts won only four matches, bringing their total number of victories to four (which had been truncated due to the pandemic). After Budge’s failed attempts to restructure the league in June of 2020, their demotion to the lower division was finalized at that time. Following the announcement that they will be playing in the Scottish Championship, the club said unequivocally that they would take legal action against the SPFL. The legal case was unsuccessful because an arbitration panel appointed by the Scottish Football Association determined that the Scottish Professional Football League had acted within the scope of its authority.
Robbie Neilson was given the job of managing Hearts for a second time in June of 2020 and agreed to a contract lasting for three years.
In July, Jim Jefferies, who had previously served in the role of manager, was brought on as an advisor to the board and manager. Andrew McKinlay was given the position of Chief Executive Officer of the club in August of the year 2020. Steven Naismith, the captain of the club, made the announcement that he was retiring from football in June 2021. He then accepted the position of Football Development Manager, in which he was tasked with the development of youth players “working their way towards the first team.”
Hearts officially became the most popular and largest fan-owned club in the United Kingdom on the 30th of August, 2021, when Ann Budge officially handed the club’s shares to the Foundation of Hearts.
Heart of Midlothian FC Stadium
Tynecastle Park is a football stadium located in the Gorgie neighborhood of Edinburgh. It is the home ground of the team Heart of Midlothian, who competes in the Scottish Professional Football League (Hearts). Additionally, it has played host to Scotland’s international matches and served as a neutral venue for the semi-finals of both the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup. The seating capacity at Tynecastle is 19,852, which places it as the sixth-largest football stadium in Scotland. Since 1886, games of Hearts have been played in the location that is now known as Tynecastle.