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Kris O'Neil - My Hearts XI

Updated: Feb 14


GOALKEEPER


I've went for Gilles Rousset. The big man was unbelievable. Such a presence in & around the club.


Loveable big guy who had time for everyone. I used to make fun of his stutter & the angrier her got, the worse the stutter got & the boys would be rolling about laughing. Wouldn't get away with that nowadays.


I made my debut at Ibrox & he knew what that meant for me & he put his huge glove on my head and said well done wee man, I'm proud of you. Will never forget that. Best Shot stopper I've ever seen. Sensational.


RIGHT BACK


Have to go for Gary Locke. Took me under his wing when I signed full time in 1996. He knew I was a massive Jambo, used to go to all the youth games & always gave me a mention in his pink newspaper column.


He said I scored one of the best goals he ever seen versus the Killie reserves. A volley from the touchline into the top far corner from 30 years. Wasn't bad I suppose.


As a player he was unbelievable. Great engine, wonderful delivery & his passing was top notch. If it wasn't for injury he would have been captain for Scotland, he was that good.


CENTRE BACK



Had to go for Dave Mcpherson. One of my heroes growing up. Found it surreal that I was at the same club as him.


His mazy runs were legendary down Gorgie way.


I played a few reserve games with him. Loved a moan and if you didn't hold the ball up he would let you know. Lovely guy though and a terrific player, great feet and composure but a really hard side as well.


CENTRE BACK



Mbozza was some player. He used to hate pre-season training though.


Would always tell the young eager boys not to be heroes at the long distance stuff around Arthurs Seat & the Braids.


In games he was super sharp, quick across the ground & a real winner in the air.


A top man and one of the nicest guys I have ever met.


LEFT BACK



Gary Naysmith, another lad who I got on extremely well with. Was very humble when he broke through at 17 and never forgot the youth team.


I loved playing with him as he could find my feet from 40-50 yards. We has a great understanding in the youth team & in the few occasions we played for the 1st team also.


Just an incredible talent. Had it all. Was so good to see him go on and have the career he did.


RIGHT WING



Wide right, has to be John Colquhoun. From a very young age growing up in Muirhouse, I would have the Hearts strip half tucked in, running with the ball at my feet, talking at myself pretending to be JC.


A hero of mine for sure. Was an incredible privilege to to get to train with him on many occasions.


My favourite memory was Easter Road when he scored from what seemed like the half-way line. I was 14 and I remember getting trampled on in the ensuing carnage. Anyone who was there will tell you, it was as good as it got at Easter Road.


JC was also one of the nicest guys I've ever met in my life. Time for everyone & a real gem of a man.


CENTRAL MIDFIELD



What can I say? A total lunatic with a left foot that wouldn't look out of place in Italy or Spain.


Deceptively quick, strong and was a huge reason why we won the cup in 1998.


Too many stories to tell & would be here all day but one of life's good guys. His goal in the League Cup Final was sublime with his 1st touch taking 3 players out of the game & a great sweeping left foot finish.


Top man, top player & a top drinker.


CENTRAL MIDFIELD





Gary Mackay was a huge hero of mine growing up. Again a huge honour to be at the club at the same time as him.


Was hard on the young boys and hard on me at times but all was done with love and wanting to see us do well.


The biggest moaner that ever lived but that's why he had 500+ appearances and I had 15. He was a winner, pure & simple. Hated Hibs almost as much as me.


Hadn't seen him in 15 years and we played for the Hearts legends team. I thought it would be a nice sunny day and a laugh, ball got played up to me and I lost it. His face is beetroot face and yells "Hold the ball up you little c*** ". I was like good to see you too mate. Same game he had a fight with 3 guys.


LEFT WING



Leigh Jenkinson, just kidding Neil McCann. Terry was as good a winger as I have seen in Scotland. Pretty small but his physique was impressive added with that explosive speed and dynamism.


Marry that with his close control & crossing ability and you had yourself a top player.


I remember doing the hamper and travelling with the 1st team down to Easter Road in August 1997. The Jet & Billy Brown put the Hearts song on full blast as the locals were giving us dogs abuse. Neil was singing it then turned to me and said "Krissy boy I'm scoring today". Sure enough he did and we won 1-0.


FORWARD



Stephane Adam. What a player. Wasn't the quickest but he was sharp and a powerful runner. Intelligent as well, great at timing his runs in behind.


His work rate was exceptional, very unselfish & would create space for players like Cameron coming from deep or McCann off the wing.


Entered Gorgie folklore with his winner at Celtic Park. I still keep in touch with him to this day and a great guy.


FORWARD



The one and only, The Hammer of Hibs. The Gorgie goal machine. What can I say about this man? My number 1 idol growing up.


He was magical finisher, left foot, right foot, stomach, backside you name it. He was so dedicated on the training park. He would take the young lads running a lot & his sessions were punishing.


He never neglected the hard work. People would think he is lazy but that was never the case. He was just extremely intelligent with his work rate. He knew where the danger was and it wasn't out wide, it was in the box and it's the reason why he would score goals.


I remember he came to watch me specifically one night for the youth team. I ran about daft, running channels, coming deep and at the end of the game I thought I had a blinder and I must have impressed him. He looked at me, shook his head and said "not impressed Kris". It hurt me and he told me I moved too much. I scored a lot more goals after that for the youth team.







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