Hearts: Jefferies full of praise for teenage duo

HEARTS teenagers Jason Holt and David Smith made their senior debuts at Tannadice yesterday with manager Jim Jefferies advising them to push for more involvement at first-team level next season.

The 18-year-olds appeared as substitutes during the closing stages of the season-ending 2-1 defeat to Dundee United. They looked composed on their first SPL assignment as a Gary Glen goal was rendered academic by strikes from United's David Goodwillie and Jon Daly.

Jonathan Stewart, Colin Hamilton and Robert Ogleby - also products of the Riccarton youth academy - were on the substitutes' bench on a day when Hearts showcased a plethora of home-grown talent.

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"We said we would give some boys a chance who have been patient or hanging about on the bench," explained Jefferies. "Ian Black would have had a three-match suspension if he'd been booked. Rudi Skacel and Marius Zaliukas were injured. There were a lot of players out but these boys did us proud, I've got to say.

"They went out there with a freedom and tried to play. It was great we had several of our under-19s, who have had a fantastic season, on the bench. I would like to have given another one a run but Andrew Driver got injured too early in the game.

"That only let us bring on a couple of them but the two of them will remember that day. They can use that as a positive to want more. We spend a lot of time and effort on our youth academy. It's down to a lot of hard work by people behind the scenes who raise funds for these boys to have the facilities they have."

Driver suffered what looked like a groin injury and had to be replaced by Jason Thomson after 21 minutes.