Hearts sack sex shame star Craig Thomson

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Heart of Midlothian Football Club announced on Sunday that they are to part company with shamed defender Craig Thomson.

The club caused an outcry last month by saying it would stand by the 20-year-old full-back after he pleaded guilty to charges relating to inappropriate conduct towards two underage girls over the internet.

Thomson was suspended on 28 June when fans, sponsors and members of the public reacted angrily to the revelations.

In a brief statement published on the club's official website on Sunday, the club said: "Craig Thomson will leave Heart of Midlothian Football Club imminently.

"The club has considered all implications surrounding the issue and has decided to find a solution for the player to leave the club over the forthcoming days."

Craig Thomson pleaded guilty to lewd, libidinous and indecent behaviour towards two girls aged 12 and 14.

He was fined 4,000 and placed on the sex offenders register when he appeared before Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 17 June. He had a not guilty plea to a third charge accepted.

Hearts initially said they would stand by the player - news which was met with anger. One sponsor, MacB Water, said they were withdrawing support as official water sponsor of the Jambos, a deal worth more than 5,000.

A MacB spokeswoman said: "As a company with strong family values, we are left with no choice but to terminate our relationship with the Hearts Football Club.

"Along with countless others, fans and co-sponsors alike, we are extremely disappointed with the club's handling of this situation and as a result can no longer continue our support."

Hearts then said they were suspending Thomson on 28 June before announcing his sacking on Sunday.