Date: 8th May 2008 at 2:27pm
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Former Hearts captain Steven Pressley is set to make an appearance at Tynecastle on Sunday at Robbie Neilson’s testimonial match.

Pressley was once arguably one of the most popular Hearts players of all time during his distinguished spell as captain of the club, which peaked when he lifted the Scottish Cup in 2006. He was never the greatest footballer in the world, but his leadership qualities were second to none, and at times he effectively WAS Hearts, especially during the trying times that followed the departure of George Burley.

However his relationship with the fans has soured somewhat since his departure to Celtic, and a particular match at Tynecastle where Elvis was seen celebrating victory with the Celtic fans in a rather over-the-top manner at the end of the match, left a bad taste in the mouth for many. As a result a large percentage of the Hearts support no longer count themselves as fans of Pressley.

I’m not going into all the rights and wrongs of what Pressley did (the ‘Riccarton Three’, departure to Celtic, etc) again – we’ve been there and done that and all said our piece on it. But for the sake of this match on Sunday, which is shaping up to be a great occasion, I’d like to think that those in attendance would respect Pressley his efforts at Tynecastle. For me no other player has put more into representing our club in recent years than him, and it’s a shame that he is now thought of the way he is by so many Hearts supporters.

As for the others likely to be taking part on Sunday, it looks as thought the vast majority of both cup winning sides (from ’98 and ’06) will be there. Only Davie Weir and Gary Naysmith can’t make it from the ’98 team, whereas Paul Hartley and Craig Gordon from ’06 are otherwise engaged.

As Neilson himself pointed out in the Scotsman today, it will be a good chance for some of the recently departed Hearts players like Julien Brellier and Roman Bednar to say their proper goodbyes to Tynecastle. They have been victims of the ridiculous managership of Hearts as well as the fans have, and I can see quite a lot of mutual respect coming out of this match on Sunday. Whether that will apply to Steven Pressley though, is somewhat up for question……….!


23 Replies to “Pressley To Return To Tynecastle”

  • Even if its just being introduced to the crowd at half-time, it will be great to see Elvis back at the place where he spent half his career. I never once doubted his commitment to and respect for our club or fans, even if he did celebrate a couple of goals against us last season. I just hope we don’t get any dafties booing him. Who knows if this could lead to some kind of “reconciliation” further down the line.

  • I’d like to think so. It’s been suggested that Elvis’ antics in that Celtic game were to get it right up the Romanovs. Fair enough if that was the case, but even if it was to do likewise to the fans that shamefully barracked him all game that day I wouldn’t have a problem with that. They deserved it.

  • DT – I have to agree wholehertedly with Mr H on that one. It was surprising (to me anyway) after the Riccarton 3 press conference how quickly so many fans jumped to the conclusion that Elvis had ‘bottled it’ – it was as if they were more willing to believe the lies from Romanov about him being “an agent for the OF” above what Elvis had said. Quite unbelievable, The man is truly a Hearts legend in my eyes (Elvis I mean, not Vlad), and I won’t let a couple of goal celebrations in a Celtic shirt in the twilight of his career alter that,

  • As for the chest-beating thing, I saw it as his way of saying saying “See – I was right” to the Hearts fans (and the regime watching on TV) …. and events have proved he was indeed right.

  • Why was the Riccarton 3 statement so vague and not actually tell the fans anything? Why did he sign a confidentiality agreement? Those are two important questions I’d like an answer to before I accept Elvis as being whiter than white in this situation… or even welcome him back to Tynecastle after the way he left. I don’t believe the Romanov’s stance on it either – but clearly there is blame on both sides and the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

  • Exactly SJ. I will not give Pressley his “legend” status back EVER. If he really had our best interests at heart, he wouldn’t have signed a confidentiality agreement. He would have told us the truth. As for the chest beating, if the man was any kind of man at all, he would have ignored the boo’s as pro’s are supposed to do, and kept it cool. Instead he stuck two fingers up at the Hearts support (the majority of who – including myself – cheered him when he came back with Celtic). So as far as I’m concerned he can F off and die, dirty Celtic bassa that he now is.

  • The statement was vague because he was attempting to get some positive action taken at the same time as remaining at the club. A forlorn hope but at least he tried. As for the confidentiality agreement, I don’t think he ever signed one.

  • Each to his own opinion, I guess. However I don’t think the confidentiality clause story was ever directly attributed to Elvis – remember how it was recently revealed that Anderton never signed one, even though it was assumed he had ? So can anyone be certain that Elvis signed one ? Try putting yourself in his position. You’re coming to the end of your career as captain, and are eyeing the chance of starting your coaching career at the club. You’ve recently touched unreachable heights, and have seen a new-found spirit in the club to go even higher. Then you’ve seen it being eaten away by stupid football decision-making by unqualified people. You try your best internally to make the regime see the errors of their ways, and to try to keep the morale up in the squad. Then you reach the end of your tether, frustrated by the unprofessionalism, crazy decisions, and lack of discipline that pervades the club – do you just think “well, I’ve tried my best, but no-one seems to care, so I’ll just keep collecting my money and keep quiet”, or do you have the guts to speak out, knowing that it could (and probably will) mean that you get fined or fired, because you know that the professional footbal club that you’ve come to love needs standards based on discipline and merit ?

    So you get fired… and only 2 clubs offer you a job. As an ex-Rangers man, how likely do you think it is that you’ll become accepted by Celtic fans ? But since its less disruption for your family than moving to London, you choose them.

    As for not being a man, Elvis is head and shoulders above most of the “men” who now just go through the motions at Tynecastle in order to pick up their £ 10k a week.

  • Can’t deny you make a good argument there Specs Haver – and I would be tempted to believe that IF he hadn’t done the chest-thumping thing (‘See – I was right?’ Right about what exactly? That he can come to Tynecastle and win in a Celtic shirt? That’s not exactly an unprecedented event…) and come out with some real information about what the problems are at the club. Whether he really signed a confidentiality clause or not, he may as well have done. The statement was vague (and I accept MrH’s explanation for why that was at the time, but it hardly applies now). He invested eight years of his life into Hearts, he still (presumably) has friends at the club – even though Vlad probably isn’t one of them. He even watched the club almost sell the ground and begin a quick descent into administration.The fans (including me) idolised him and put him on this enormous pedestal (some clearly still do). Everyone has been hurting. If he was all the man you say he is SH, he owes us all one hell of an explanation. I don’t see it… and that’s the problem.

  • Thanks SJ. I saw the “See – I was right” as meaning “I’ve got principles about being professional, and I’ll stay true to them”. As for not going public to explain things in detail to the fans, I think thats got more to do with what you alluded to – namely that he still has friends at the club and he maybe doesn’t want to put them in an awkward (well.. more awkward !!) position if he were to dish the dirt on their paymasters. (I know he is very friendly socially with Neil McCann) One day, he possibly will tell all, once he and his chums have ended their careers. As I said, we all see things differently.

  • But that’s the point SH. He’s now in the perfect position to HELP those friends he still has at the club, and more importantly, help the club who he professed to love (and for which we all loved him for). No one person is bigger than that – not Elvis, not even Vlad. And Vlad can’t touch him now. Unless of course, he did sign that confidentiality agreement…

  • How exactly would it have helped the likes of Neil McCann if Elvis had come out and said this and that about the Hearts owners given their tendencies to believe in conspiracy theories? Is it beyond the realms of possibility that they’d want rid of every single employee who has links to their former captain? I don’t think the guy has to explain anything to anyone…oh actually no, I wouldn’t mind knowing how he managed to get an international cap whlilst having such poor positional sense for a defender…THAT I’d like to know!

  • I don’t understand what this confidentiality agreement is about. But I’ve read the post by Specs Haver, and i have to agree, its a very well constructed post with a good argument. I’m not a Hearts fan so i don’t know all the in’s and out’s of this Riccarton fiasco. But from what i have heard (although you cant always be naive to believe everything you hear in the press etc.) Elvis was …well… pretty much what Specs Haver said. Frustrated that the progress, with which he helped to contribute to, was being demolished by a mad man who dosen’t have a clue what the club means to fans or to Scottish football as a whole. If i were in his position and it was Celtic that were my club, i would be furious. I think he did the right thing to speak out. I don’t think he would have wanted to move away from Hearts, if he wanted a mercenary big money move away he could have taken that opportunity at Charlton, He didn’t. I think he is a principled, professional person and i have the utmost respect for him and for what he believed in. I think that makes him even more a footballing legend in my eyes. I assumed this was how many Hearts fans seen him and i just assumed the boos he received when playing for us was merely banter. It was very interesting reading SJ’s comments. As i’ve said i don’t know the in’s and out’s and therfore can’t really comment fully on the situation For instance, i don’t know what this confidentiality pact is about. But is there hidden evidence to suggest he do this for his own benefit? Lets be honest, the sooner those Romanov’s are out, the better. I would love to see Hearts challenge again for the SPL. Had it not been for that Romanov clown who pressed the self destruct button by sacking George Burley, i firmly bbelieve you would have pushed us the whole way in the SPL title race. But then again, we had our own clown, Gordon Strachan, so i suppose that wouldn’t have been very hard.

  • doesn’t matter how he ;eft us i don’t think we miss him which is quite clear don’t you agreee??

  • it would seem our senses are being calmed by the scent of the title remaining in Paradise for the third consecutive year Mr H ,, that,s my excuse and I,m sticking to it !!!

  • See – I was right …. about you being a thoughtful and intelligent bloke, RK !! Well done – good post !!

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