London Hearts Supporters Club

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Hearts delay decision on manager


JOHN Robertson’s future remained uncertain last night after the Hearts board delayed a decision on the Tynecastle manager.

After a meeting at the Gorgie ground, the club released a statement saying any announcement will be left until after this afternoon’s game with Rangers at Ibrox. Hearts said the delay was at the request of Robertson, and that the directors were due to continue discussing the coach’s position last night.

The club statement said: "The board of Heart of Midlothian Football Club will this evening consider the position of head coach John Robertson.

"This was at the request of John and in light of considerable speculation in relation to his future with the club.

"The board are to continue to deliberate the situation but have agreed that as he and the team are currently preparing for an important fixture with Rangers, which is of considerable significant to Hearts, any further communication on the issue will be delayed until after that game.

"The club will make no further comment on the issue until that time."

Meanwhile, as Rangers prepare for the visit of Hearts today, Ibrox winger Peter Lovenkrands has insisted that he had no desire to leave the club.

The Dane was an automatic pick a couple of years ago on the back of some match-winning performances, particularly in Old Firm derbies. But he has since become a peripheral figure at the club, with the current campaign dominated by injury and absence rather than memorable moments on the pitch.

The Dick Advocaat signing has another year on his contract to run and has instructed his agent to hold clear-the-air talks with the club soon. But he insisted his priority was to re-establish himself at Ibrox.

He said: "Hopefully I can stay here. I need to wait until the end of the season to see what is going to happen but I hope I will still be a Rangers player next year.

"The fans have not seen the best of me at all this year. I have had a lot of unfortunate injuries but I am over them now, touch wood. The Rangers fans have been great with me even though I have missed games so I haven’t had any problems with them.

"It has been tough because I want to be a part of the team more and nobody likes to be out. It has been a frustrating year but hopefully it will pick up now."

Three years ago the 25-year-old was valued at £6million and being linked with the likes of Inter Milan but exactly how much the club could collect by cashing in now is unclear.

Manager Alex McLeish has a track record of picking the speedy forward when available, however, so his exit is by no means inevitable.

But Lovenkrands admitted: "I have not had any talks at all. We need to focus on the title and look at my contract at the end of the season."

The Dane made his first start since 2 December at Aberdeen last week but made only a marginal contribution to a vital 3-1 success.

Now he was hoping to keep his place at home to Hearts today, although that is in doubt because Gregory Vignal has recovered from a groin injury.

He said: "Of course nobody wants to sit on the sidelines so hopefully I will be involved."

Lovenkrands remains the only out-and-out attacker with a left foot at the club so his return could yet boost the club’s hopes of pipping Celtic for the title.

The Parkhead club possess a two-point lead at the top of the Bank of Scotland Premierleague table but Rangers can go top, for 23 hours at least, with a win as Celtic take on Aberdeen on Sunday.

Lovenkrands said: "As long as we go out and get good results from now on the pressure will be on Celtic and hopefully they will slip up.

"But we need to win our games and hope for a bit of luck."

Rangers had been granted the result they had been hoping for last week when Celtic lost 3-1 at home to Hibernian.

Lovenkrands admitted: "I think that surprised everyone. I don’t think anybody expected Hibs to win at Parkhead. It was a big surprise - and a good surprise for us.

"But it is still down to ourselves to a great extent. If we don’t win our games it will be our own fault. We need to win them to put the pressure on.

"Hearts have had some great results as well and also won at Celtic. They are a strong side but we are at home and have the advantage."

Rangers’ left-back Gregory Vignal has claimed Newcastle United have expressed an interest in signing him this summer after Jean-Alain Boumsong acted as a go-between.

The French defender is in big demand this summer with Graeme Souness’s side set to battle it out with Stuttgart and Marseille for his services. But he could reject moves to Germany and France in favour of joining up with former Ibrox favourite Boumsong at St James’s Park next season.

Vignal has snubbed a contract offer from Rangers to make his move to Ibrox permanent. Liverpool have told the on-loan player he is free to leave and now he is ready for a return to the Premiership with former Ibrox manager reportedly keen to sign him.

Vignal revealed: "I have just had a phone call with Jean-Alain Boumsong. He told me The Magpies are looking for a left full-back. He talked to me about Graeme Souness. The club has made contact with one of my agents."

Shota Arveladze is also on his way out of Ibrox after being told he has no future at Rangers. The striker is leaving in the summer after four years as his contract is not being renewed.

Arveladze, however, is not short of admirers and the Georgian says he has a wide variety of choices for a new club.

He said: "I have had a few offers from European clubs - I am talking about teams in England, Germany, Holland and Turkey. "There was also an Italian club who expressed some interest, but at the moment, we don’t know if that is just talk or something more serious.

"I’m realistic. I’m not dreaming as much as I used to. When I was at Ajax, there was talk of Juventus, AC Milan or Manchester United. "But I’m 32 now, so I think those days are gone.

Taken from the Scotsman

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