Family matters for Hearts starlet Denis

Hearts boss Jim Jefferies was disappointed he could not take under-19 starlet Denis Prychynenko on the first team's pre-season trips to Italy and Germany.

The young midfielder from Berlin has been tipped to break into the top team and will at least remain fresh in the manager's mind after his mother and father made their Jambos 'debuts' at last night's game.

Sergei and Elena Prychynenko took in the match at Ludwigsfelde, even though Denis was in Scotland recovering from injury.

The parents revealed that their 19-year-old son, who a couple of weeks ago signed a new three-year contract at Tynecastle, is enjoying life in Edinburgh. That the couple made such an effort to watch the maroons - minus Denis - take on relatively low-key opposition indicates how the whole Prychynenko family has taken the club to their hearts.

Sergei Prychynenko said: "Even though Denis is not playing, we came to support the team, to see Hearts play for the first time and to meet the players.

"Ever since Denis signed for Hearts we have been supporters. We follow the team online and Denis keeps in touch and tells us how he is getting on.

Father Sergei went on explain that Hearts was the perfect move for Denis, Hearts' top scorer in the under-19 league with 14 goals last term, and is the type of club to help his son fulfil his ambitions. "It wasn't a difficult decision for Denis to go to Hearts," he said. "We're used to the fact he's away from home because he was at the Energie Cottbus academy before, which was a residential academy. When he got the offer from Hearts - it's a big club. We miss him when he's not here, but we're hopeful we'll get to see him play at Tynecastle. He definitely has big ambitions and wants to play in the Champions League - hopefully with Hearts."