Jonathan Toto wipeout

JONATHAN TOTO, the Cameroonian striker trialled by Hearts last summer, is in danger of being released by First Division club Morton after failing to impress since signing a short-term amateur contract in September.


The player and his representatives opted for a temporary move to Cappielow whilst officials at Tynecastle attempted to verify Toto's background. They agreed to hold further talks with Hearts manager Jim Jefferies next month but Allan Moore, the Morton manager, admitted today that Toto has struggled to find form in Inverclyde.

"To be honest, I would have to say he's been disappointing," said Moore. "Jim Jefferies and Billy Brown had given me good reports about Jonathan on top of what we'd read. Before his first game he got a dead leg in training on the Thursday and didn't tell us he was struggling. He went out and played on the Saturday and had a pretty poor debut.

That put the pressure on him right away.

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"He was out for two weeks after that with the dead leg but doesn't seem to have recovered. He's been in and out of the team, I would say he's a typical foreign player. He's full of tricks and flicks but when they don't come off in our division the fans are on his back.

"We were expecting him to step in and do a job for us and, quite frankly, I don't think he has impressed as much as we thought he would.

He's a big, physical boy, with great pace and good ability. For his height he should be better in the air. Maybe playing with better players who can make better runs might improve him."

Toto's amateur contract finishes early next month, after which he hopes to discuss his future with Jefferies. Moore said he may consider keeping the player until the end of the season but that decision rests with Douglas Rae, the Morton chairman.

"To be fair, we haven't had a lot of games to play Jonathan in," continued Moore. "The injury kept him out, then he was on the bench, and I haven't played him in cup games because I didn't want to cup-tie him in case Hearts wanted him in January. If I could get him for the second half of the season I could work with him a bit more and maybe get more out of him. But in the games he's played he hasn't impressed as much as we hoped. I'm just giving an honest opinion.

"I don't know what's happening with regard to him staying on in January. That decision is down to my chairman, who puts the money in.

Hearts have not spoken to us at all since Jonathan came here. I don't know if they have had people watching him. Jim and Billy were very complimentary about him but I haven't heard from them. I know he scored goals for them in pre-season but it wasn't against the best of teams."

Hearts have delved into Toto's background having averted a potential 300,000 compensation bill from the Italian Football Federation. The amount would have been due had he signed a professional contract with the Edinburgh club as the Italians held his registration from the now-defunct fourth division club AC Legnano. It remains to be seen if Hearts will follow up their interest in Toto when the SPL transfer window opens.