Date: 12th May 2008 at 1:26pm
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What an enjoyable afternoon that was at Tynecastle yesterday for Robbie Neilson’s testimonial.

Seeing some of the players who helped Hearts to win the Scottish Cup in both 1998 and 2006 really brought back memories of what it used to feel like to be able to truly relate to our club. These guys knew what it meant to wear the famous maroon jersey and how important their performances were to those who paid to come along and support them, and even now I’d
probably take some of the old codgers back in place of some of the faceless dross we have in our side right now…..and I mean in their current state, not necessarily as they were ten years ago!

OK, I’m perhaps taking that too far when we’re talking about the likes of Robbo and Big Slim, who look to have been seriously ‘living life to the full’ since hanging up their boots (!), but there were definitely some players out there who’d still be able to do a job. None more so than Thomas Flogel, who appeared to be essentially the same player as he was in that cup-winning team in ’98. Flogel was never a player that I rated particularly highly in terms of being able to have much influence on a match, but it’s all relative and watching him in action yesterday really brought home just how ineffective and lacklustre that some of our current players are. He was still in great physical shape and was as skilful and inventive as anyone else on the park in a match that included the majority of the current Hearts first team appearing at one stage or another.

I was also still quite impressed with the contribution of Stevie Fulton, even if he and Robbo would look more suited to Sumo-Wrestling than football these days! Stevie still had a wee burst of pace in him and the passing still appeared to be in good working order, and in the time I’ve been a Jambo there have been few better at pinging a ball around a park than big Baggio.

The game itself was pretty standard fare for a testimonial – low key stuff played at a fairly gentle pace (one cracking goal from Fernando Screpis though)….and of course the obligatory dodgy penalty to allow the guest of honour onto the scoresheet! Robbie duly converted that spot-kick, just as he had done when 40,000 Jambo voices all groaned in unison as he trudged up to take one against Gretna at Hampden two years ago! Oh – and the sun shone nicely for the most part to help the decent turnout (looked to be around 9,000) to enjoy the day.

As for the appearance of the 2006 team, well, I think it’s fair to say that we’d welcome some of them back to the club right now too. Certainly the ever-popular Rudi Skacel, who scored his first even goal at the Gorgie End when he came on as a second half substitute, still looked the part, and even if Roman Bednar didn’t play due to injury I think most of us would have him back in a second, ditto Julien Brellier. It was also nice to hear Steven Pressley getting a largely warm reception when he took to the field late in the match too – there had been concerns that he’d have been given a bit of a slating from the fans, so it was good (especially for Robbie) that everyone seemed in good spirits and Elvis was given a pretty good cheer when he came on.

Aye, it all brought back nice memories…..


5 Replies to “Nice Memories Of REAL Hearts Players”

  • Yes – I was delighted that Jankauskas didn’t show up. His attititude was apparently one of the “triggers” for the Riccarton 3 situation. Great to see 95% of the fans give Elvis a standing ovation. It looked like most of the ‘oldies’ thoroughly enjoyed being out there again. And I agree with your sentiments, Mr H, about some of them in their current state being a heck of a lot better than certain individuals in today’s team. Cue another article about who should get punted, methinks !

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