Hearts destined to be Independent women . .

Hearts Women have announced a new shirt sponsorship with Loanhead company Independent Plant Services that will allow the team to continue to progress in its first year.

A year after beginning to play under the umbrella of the Jambos, the team promoted last season as Musselburgh Windsor Ladies, currently competes in the Scottish Women's First Division.

They boast one of the league's best playing surfaces, King's Park, the home of Dalkeith Thistle juniors, and club chair Margaret Milne says their affiliation with the Midlothian business will help them meet the costs of using the ground.

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She said: "Ian Paterson, the owner of the company, takes a keen interest in the club and would do anything to support us. His generosity allows us to cover the cost of hiring the pitch. It's a great facility - a lot more professional than many of the teams we play against, which is important."

As well as Mr Paterson's company name taking pride of place on the Hearts shirt, the club will also display an Independent Plant Services advertising hoarding at all games, home and away, starting tomorrow at the team's all-important Unite Scottish Cup tie away to Second Division (North) side Dee Vale in Aberdeen. It's a game the club hopes will spark life into its stuttering season.

"Progression to the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup would be a remarkable achievement in our first year," added Mrs Milne. "The Women's team hasn't been doing as well as hoped. We're in the First Division now, but it's a big step up. It's a young team and the majority of these girls have been with us since under-15 level. From under-17, you go straight into the Women's game and come up against teams that are more established. It's a learning curve."

Kim Borthwick, captain of the senior side, is a leading example of homegrown talent, having turned out for the Scotland under-19 side earlier in the year.

Members of the Hearts burgeoning female youth set-up, which includes under-13, under-15 and under-17 teams, will aim to follow her lead and help the club move onward and upward.

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