Romanov demands better from Hearts

HEARTS owner Vladimir Romanov introduced a new sporting director to his players and demanded improvement from his side after jetting into Edinburgh for an hour-long meeting at Tynecastle.

The Lithuanian banker met with the Hearts squad yesterday afternoon and spoke with them at length, asking for reasons why results so far this season have not been on a par with the last campaign. The identity of the new sporting director is not yet known.

It is the first time that Romanov has paid a visit to Gorgie since the end of the last campaign but it is not known if he will be at Parkhead tonight to watch his team in action in the quarter-finals of the Co-operative Insurance Cup against Celtic.

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Meanwhile, manager Csaba Laszlo admitted his anger and frustration at the club's results and wants to see his players make progress after a disappointing start to their league season.

Laszlo said: "Two seasons ago we finished in third place. But I want development, I am not satisfied.

"If we would like to be better, we also have to have quality. Progress is not a step back, progress is to move forward.

"If last season you are in ninth position and the next season you are in seventh then everyone is happy. But because we were in third last year and now we are in eighth, everyone is asking why.

"I am not happy to not see progress but I am happy to stay in this year so long as we have a clear solution and structure.

"We must wake up. We can't ignore the situation. We are in charge of Heart of Midlothian.

"If you are going backwards then something is wrong.

"Last season we showed everybody that we can be in third and I would like to keep this, this is in my blood.

"Nobody can take that away from me, it is not possible.

"This is why I am angry about me, about everything. We can be better with a magic touch."

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Laszlo, who will have to make a late decision on the fitness of captain Michael Stewart who is suffering with a swollen ankle after twisting it in training at the beginning of last week, admits that expectation levels were raised at the club last season.

However he insists that they can repeat that feat this time around with just one or two small changes.

"Last season we finished in third position and because of that we sold 1,300 more season tickets than before, that is a huge number," he continued.

"I think we were at the top of the league when it came to selling more tickets. Everybody hopes that they see better football, successful football and Europa League. Maybe before I came to the club there were a lot of headlines about the club which were not to do with football.

"Then I arrived and I think the headlines have changed and there are more about football and success on the pitch and that has brought the supporters back.

"But at the weekend I think we played one of the worst games of the season."