Danny Grainger keen to win friends and trophies at Tynecastle

AS SCOTTISH Cup final day 2006 started, Danny Grainger was feeling sorry for himself as he missed out on the chance to face Hearts and a shot at a winners' medal with Gretna.

But having seen the Tynecastle club triumph that day he is looking forward to returning to the national stadium and helping them secure more silverware.

"I missed that game. I'd missed the semi-final because I was out on loan and, because I wasn't eligible for that game, I wasn't allowed to be involved in the final, but I didn't find out until two days before which was a kick in the teeth. I watched it, though, and I was gutted for the boys."

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The possibilities for trophies and the chance to push the Old Firm as best of the rest were major influences in accepting the offer to sign for Hearts but there were other factors. Having advanced under the guidance of manager Derek McInnes and his assistant Tony Docherty at St Johnstone, the likelihood that the coaching staff are destined for bigger things encouraged Grainger to seek his own fresh challenge.

"I'm at the stage where I need to start pushing myself on. I enjoyed working at St Johnstone with Derek and Tony but I can't see them being there for much longer. That did influence my decision. I think now is the time to push on and see where that takes me. You know how good (Hearts] are and the league table doesn't lie, so it was an easy decision for me to sign."

The full-back believes he can continue his improvement in his new life in Gorgie.

"I have spoken to a lot of lads who have worked with Jim Jefferies and they all have nothing but good words to say about him and I'm just looking forward to working with him and seeing him on the sidelines, passionate. That's what made it an easy decision.

"I spoke to Gav Skelton who worked with Jim at Kilmarnock and he said he was my kind of manager."

Former Saints colleague Alan Maybury, whose spell at Hearts ultimately led to a move to the English leagues and left a lasting legacy of good memories, also said it would be a good move.

"I spoke to Alan a bit about it and he said he just loved it and it was a big club and it was all positive. That sold it to me."

A fan of the Tynecastle atmosphere, he has felt the heat from the stands, now he is looking forward to the warmth.

"I've had plenty of stick here. I don't think they took to me too well at times! But hopefully I can win them over and they can be on my side for once."