Hearts hit by goalkeeping crisis ahead of crucial week

Hearts are on the hunt for a new goalkeeper amid fears they could be without Jamie MacDonald as well as Mark Ridgers in a crucial week for the club.

Ridgers, 22, is out for at least three months after suffering a knee ligament tear on international duty for Scotland’s under-21 side against Belgium, and could be set for a more lengthy spell on the sidelines if surgery is required.

Meanwhile, current No 1 MacDonald is on standby waiting for his partner to give birth, and could miss tomorrow’s clash with Inverness if he is forced to make a dash to the hospital.

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The Scottish Cup-winning goalkeeper could even become a doubt for Thursday’s glamour Europa Cup tie with Liverpool.

The goalkeeping crisis has put the spotlight on Jack Hamilton, 18, who could be set for a baptism of fire in the coming days – and has left John McGlynn searching for a short-term solution.

The Hearts manager confirmed: “In the short term we will have to find someone to bridge the gap.

“Jamie MacDonald’s partner is due to give birth – she is one week late – so we could end up with problems come the weekend.

“We have an ongoing situation where we are keen to sort a contract with someone, perhaps until Christmas.

“When you only have two goalkeepers you might get lucky and get away with it – we’ve not been lucky. But that is just what happens when you have a tight squad.

“We have Jack Hamilton, who is representing Scotland at under-19 level at the minute.

“First-team football may still be a substantial step up, but if Jack has to be used then we will go down that road, because we are promoting youth at the club.”

McGlynn, who has been desperately looking to sign a striker in recent weeks, admits to uncertainty regarding whether the need for a keeper could have an impact on his search for a goal-getter. He continued: “Financially we don’t have a lot of money and it is not an area where we were keen to spend money.

“I don’t know whether it will mean no striker. But if I can get a goalkeeper and striker then that would probably be all the business we manage.

“You can see we are cutting back financially. We have overspent for a number of years and it is my job to firefight.”

Meanwhile, McGlynn has revealed that Everton have offered to help Hearts prepare for their clash with their Merseyside 
rivals in next week’s Tynecastle clash.

Football agent Kenny Moyes, brother of Everton manager David, has already contacted Hearts, while Gary Locke has been liaising with close friend David Weir, now coaching at Goodison Park.

McGlynn smiled: “Somehow I get the feeling Everton would like to see them get beat!

“We will have as much information as we can, Everton are being very helpful in that regard, giving us DVDs from last season and other bits and pieces.

“Kenny Moyes was on the phone very quickly after the draw was made to [Hearts director of football] John Murray to offer us training facilities at Everton and any other help they can. Gary Locke is also very friendly with Davie Weir, so there is 
another tie there.”