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Wednesday, 12 June 2013 16:18

Tynecastle greats past and present celebrate birthday 85

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Author: Scott Thomson

Youth Football Scotland was present as Tynecastle Football Club celebrated 85 years recently at a packed Gorgie Suite at the home of SPL side Hearts.

A host of former players were present, including no less than four capped Scotland players as they came back to remember where their careers first started.

Ex-players including Graeme Souness, Craig Gordon, Gary Naymsith, Ian Black and Jamie MacDonald were there as BBC's Brian McLaughlin kicked off a night to remember in the club's illustrious history.

One of Scotland's most successful youth clubs plays a huge role in developing talent of the future and Edinburgh's Lord Provost Donald Wilson made a toast to the club for it's role which included over 400 players and around
60 volunteer coaches.

Graeme Souness, the 54-capped Scotland internationalist recalled days gone by as he payed tribute to the club who kicked off his glittering playing and management career which saw him span across the world in countries such as Canada, Italy and Turkey, not forgetting his six year spell as a player at Liverpool, in the early eighties, where he lifted three European Cups before later going on to manage the club.

“Other than school football, Tynecastle was the first organised football I got involved with. I can remember how exciting the training was. We used to train at the old Tynecastle High School Annexe along Gorgie Road”, recalled Souness.

“It was such a long time ago, but I just remember it being something I really looked forward to. Football was the only thing you looked forward to in those days outside of school hours.

“When I was a kid we used to be able to play out on the streets, but due to the volume of traffic kid’s can’t do that today. I can remember playing football, at Saughton Mains, where I used to live, and you could play from 6 to 9 o’clock without seeing a car.

“Being part of a team and understanding what being part of a team meant was important at that age. At that time it was all about running and dribbling and trying to win a game on your own. I can remember getting a few rolocking’s for trying to win games on my own.”

He speaks of great fondness for the club which gave him the grounding at an early age to prosper from. Nowadays though, according to Souness, club’s are playing a bigger role in the development of young footballers from an earlier age than they ever have before.

“Clubs like Tynecastle are so well organised now. When I played the youngest age group was under 15’s, now it goes down to under 10’s and below.”

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For ex-Hearts and Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who has been without a club since 2012, due to a persistent knee injury, he feels clubs like Tynecastle are vital in tutoring youngster's into footballer's for the benefit of Scottish Football and in particular he feel's Edinburgh's grassroots clubs have provided an excellent 'talent base'.

“Teams like Tynecastle are vital in developing players at a young age. Just looking at some of the calibre of players which have been mentioned tonight, some really high profile players that have spent time here. Edinburgh has been a really good talent base for Scotland.”

Tynecastle and city rivals Hutchison Vale have produced a host players who have went to to play professionally for clubs including Manchester United and Liverpool. Gordon recalls the great rivalry between the two clubs as being important in developing a winning mentality and hunger as being key to take him to the next level.

“The rivalry between Tynecastle and Hutchie Vale is important in preparing players for top level sport. We have a really good grassroots set-up in Edinburgh. I am very thankful to Tynecastle”, he said.

Ian Black, the current Rangers midfielder, who's father is a coach at Tynecastle, felt his time at the club was huge in shaping his football career. He too, looks back fondly at his time as a youth player at the Saughton-based club.

"Learning my trade at Tynecastle was massive in shaping my football career. It was where i learnt the game. Some of my former manager's are here tonight- they showed me the roots and got me interested in the game and I've kicked on ever since", he said.

Having helped to secure the Third Division title with Rangers last season, Black is looking to secure more success with the Glasgow club. A hunger for success he developed as a youngster at Tynecastle, where he was part of a side which reached the Scottish Cup final four years in a row and twice bringing silverware back to Edinburgh.

“I was brought up a winner from my dad and I think I’ve got that in my blood now. I came here (Tynecastle Stadium) and won a cup with Hearts and won a lot as a kid.”

Graeme Souness, Craig Gordon, and Ian Black have all gone on to make successful careers on the back of the tutelage they received at Tynecastle, for certain, budding footballers can look up to these heroes as they attempt to make it in the game.

Despite going on to bigger and better things the trio will always remember their time at the club where it all began.
Last modified on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 14:22
Scott Thomson

Scott Thomson | YFS South East Region Journalist

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