Romanov pledges to prove his commitment to supporters by attending more Hearts games next season

HEARTS owner Vladimir Romanov has pledged to attend Tynecastle more regularly next season and has even invited one lucky season ticket holder to get to know him better in Lithuania.

Hearts yesterday officially launched their season tickets for 2010-11 – starting at as little as 25 for Under-12s – with Romanov vowing to be more accountable. The Baltic-based businessman has been questioned over a perceived lack of commitment to the club from fans, given the fact he was last in Scotland to take in a Co-operative Insurance Cup win at Celtic at the end of October.

But Romanov has reaffirmed his backing in a message to supporters and agreed to the unique fans prize offer. All supporters who met last night's Phase One season ticket deadline will be entered into a draw to win the chance to travel with a friend to meet the Hearts majority shareholder in Lithuania, including flights and accommodation.

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A club statement said: "Mr Romanov intends to attend several games in Edinburgh, but is very keen to welcome supporters to his own country for the first time, as his special guests."

Ian Black was on hand at Tynecastle yesterday to help publicise the season ticket launch, and if St Johnstone's eye-catching 4-1 rout of Rangers on Tuesday night sent shockwaves around Britain, it didn't appear to ruffle the midfielder too much.

Black sat and watched the results coming in on his television aware that Saints' emphatic triumph – their first in the league over the Ibrox side since 2000 – had moved them to within two points of his team in the race for a coveted top-six berth in the SPL.

Derek McInnes' outfit are taking plaudits aplenty after their dismantling of the champions-elect and have suddenly applied extra pressure on Jim Jefferies' men. But Black, while impressed with Saints' result, knows a top-half place remains firmly in their own hands.

Hearts' remaining two games before the split are at St Mirren on Saturday, and at home to Kilmarnock, while St Johnstone entertain Dundee United and then go to Aberdeen. Black said: "It was a shock result, but St Johnstone are a good side. Obviously, they came out of the traps and got about them to get the result they needed. Rangers can be beaten, we've done it, teams have done it. There is obviously pressure on us, but if we go out with the right attitude then it's down to us. Only we can lose it.

"We need to go and pick up the six points – I know we're capable. We're going to look at ourselves, we're not bothered about anyone else until we secure the top six. If we win the two games then we know that we've secured it. It's down to us and hopefully we can go and do it."

If Hearts' fixtures appear easier than their rivals on paper, Black knows both St Mirren and Kilmarnock are battling to preserve their SPL status and will take nothing for granted. The 25-year-old, eager to bounce back from Saturday's 4-1 loss to Rangers, added: "It's nothing about easier games. Every game is hard in the SPL. St Mirren and Killie are fighting relegation. They are fighting for their lives, but we want to secure the top-six so we need to play hard and go about our business the right way."

Boyhood Hearts fan Black feels his dream move to Tynecastle is finally turning rosy. The attack-minded player arrived from Inverness under ex-manager Csaba Laszlo last summer but wasn't a regular under the Hungarian. Jefferies, though, has given him a new spark and he said: "The start of the season was disappointing for myself. I never played much, I never played the right position. The previous manager had his players, what he fancied, what his team was. I definitely feel as though I needed a lift. I was a bit down, it was tough.

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"With the new manager coming in, I'm beginning to get like free leeway in the middle of the park. I'm enjoying it more, he is letting me express myself."