Anthony Brown - My Hearts XI
I watched Hearts from 1990 onwards and have gone with a 3-4-3 formation:
Gilles Rousset: Craig Gordon is the best Hearts goalkeeper of my lifetime but Rousset - who wrote the foreword to my book - goes down as my personal favourite. Brought class and personality to the club, played a big part in kick-starting Jim Jefferies’ first spell in charge and had a brilliant rapport with the support.
Steven Pressley: His reputation may have been tarnished in the eyes of some by his antics when he returned to Tynecastle with Celtic but he remains one of the most wholehearted players - and the most impressive captain - I’ve ever seen at Hearts. A bedrock of the team during a brilliant period for Hearts, initially under Craig Levein and then George Burley.
David Weir: I just missed seeing Levein in his prime, so Weir goes down as the best ball-playing centre-back I’ve watched at Hearts. Pure class and also carried a goal threat.
Andy Webster: Hearts have had so many quality centre-backs in my lifetime which is why I decided to shoehorn three of them into my team. Webster rarely looked flustered and edges out Paul Ritchie for the third slot in defence by virtue of the fact he excelled in two separate spells at the club. Magnificent player.
Callum Paterson: Given the team’s underwhelming form over the past decade, players from more modern times don’t tend to be so popular among supporters. Callum certainly bucks that trend. Hearts have had some good right-sided defenders over the years - Locke, Frail, McGowan and Smith spring to mind - but Paterson’s remarkable goal tally and his swashbuckling, all-action approach to the position give him the edge for me. In my 3-4-3 formation, he can occupy the right-wing-back position, with freedom to attack.
Colin Cameron: A little buzzbomb of box-to-box brilliance with the energy to overrun opponents and chip in with plenty goals.
Paul Hartley: Hearts were massively fortunate that Hartley emerged as such an impressive midfield all-rounder so soon after Cameron’s departure. These two little cup-winning legends were similar in stature and in playing style so there is no guarantee they would actually function well as a partnership but I think every Hearts supporter would love the opportunity to see if they could have worked in perfect harmony.
Rudi Skacel: Fyssas, Naysmith and McCann would all have claims for the left-wing-back / left-mid berth but Skacel gets the nod due to his remarkable penchant for scoring when it mattered most. A deadly left-foot and second only to Robbo in terms of club legends of my lifetime.
John Colquhoun: My favourite player as a kid. Loved watching him attack left-backs with his shirt hanging out at the back. “Skin him, JC!”
John Robertson: Lethal and unrivalled. Impossible to leave out.
Mark De Vries: Not the most refined centre-forward Hearts have ever had but certainly among the most effective. A talismanic figure in Levein’s team of the early Noughties, his goals against Bordeaux and Braga stand out for me. A perfect partner for Robbo and would thrive on the service delivered from wide areas by Skacel and Colquhoun.
Craig Gordon: A sensational goalkeeper.
Paul Ritchie: Another quality centre-back.
John Millar: Perhaps not one of the best but - for no particular standout reason - was one of my favourites as a boy.
Steve Fulton: Brilliant playmaker. Pleased to say I rated him in his first season at the club even when many Hearts fans were sceptical. What a season he had in 97/98.
Neil McCann: No need to have a striker on the bench as we have the option of putting Skacel or Paterson up there if required. Would be impossible to justify leaving McCann - only ousted from the starting XI by the presence of Skacel - out of the squad entirely.
Please ensure you grab a copy of Reminiscing With Legends https://legends98.bigcartel.com/product/reminiscing-with-legends