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Robbie Horn - My Hearts XI


GOALKEEPER


In goals I've gone for Antti Niemi. Hard for me as growing up I use to sing "Henry, Henry" on terraces but Niemi was top class.


So laid back in training and chewing his tobacco on match days but just an unbelievable shot stopper.


Special mention to big Gilles Rousset who was a massive character at Hearts and someone that everyone loved. He was an excellent keeper too and a big part of the cup winning team.


RIGHT BACK


Right back I've gone for Steve Frail. When I had just gone in full time on the ground staff Shaggy was at the top of his game and on the verge of a big move.


Unfortunately he suffered a cruciate knee injury and never got back to the same levels again. When he did come back though more often than not he was in the reserves with me and was a massive influence to not just myself but to other young ones coming through. He was an absolute gent and would have no doubt go on to play for Scotland and at a bigger club.


Growing up Walter Kidd was my favourite player (think it was the Zico thing!) it was then strange to go in and have him as your youth coach. Wattie was all about the discipline and doing the right things but he was also a good guy and when you look back at all the players that went on to have good careers as players and managers I think back to Wattie teaching boys good habits.


CENTRE BACK








Centre half and my position and when I look back I never had any chance of getting through! Levein, McLaren, Hogg, Ritchie, McManus, Bruno, Petric, Pressley to name a few and all real top quality players.


The two I've gone for though are McPherson and Weir. Both absolute gentlemen off the park and absolute winners on it. Big Slim again played when I was on the terraces and when I made my debut against Dundee Utd he played beside me. Good defender, comfortable on the ball, mazy runs forward and scorer of important goals. You forget in the 1998 Cup final he played right back which was toward the tail end of his career and he absolutely strolled it.


Big Horse as he was known, no idea why, was similar to McPherson with his attributes and just oozed class. A great guy who tried to help the young boys too and went on to have a fantastic career.



LEFT BACK



Left back and I've gone for Gary Naismith. It may have been Tosh McKinlay but I never got chance to play with him. Wee Gaz was on the ground staff with me and we played a lot games together in the reserves and even a couple of games with Scotland 21s in the Toulon tournament.


Gaz always gave the impression that he was a daft laddie with slow deliberate voice of his but he was actually very switched on and an intelligent footballer. Was superb at getting forward with a fantastic left foot and worked hard on his defensive side of the game to make himself a top left back.


I use to pick him up in my mini metro at Liberton along with Grant McNicoll and Bobby Clyde and Gaz used too make sure they paid their petrol money! Drunkest man I've ever seen on Pernod and blackcurrant though!


CENTRAL MIDFIELD



Anyway midfielders, I've gone for Colin Cameron, Stevie Fulton and Stefano Salavatori. Stefano was a real character, his English wasn't great and the only thing he ever use to say was in his Italian accent was "...fucking unbelievable uh...!".


Spent a lot of his time like Bruno in front of the mirror, in the Caley Hotel and in Bar Roma. Think the club was still paying that debt for years to come!! Stefano who played with Milan, Fiorentina and Atlanta in Serie A, was brilliant at reading the game and breaking up the play, he would be my holding midfielder.


CENTRAL MIDFIELD




In front of him on the left would be Fulton. Stevie was deceptively quick and people thought he couldn't get about the park but he could. An absolute wand of a left foot and was a creator and scorer of goals.


He was brilliant in the dressing room and on a night out. Think Lockey has told the story before about him being wrapped in toilet paper in Magaluf but I remember a story from a Christmas night out.


We were due to go down to Newcastle on the Sunday but the first team had got beat on the Saturday away at Kilmarnock and Jim and Billy cancelled the trip and first team were in Sunday morning. This was unbeknown to some of us who turned up first thing Sunday morning at Edinburgh Waverley in our fancy dress outfits and carry out for the train! Word got to us that our trip was cancelled but after training the first team would meet us up the town and we would have a day out in Edinburgh. First team were due back in Monday morning and the rest of us were off. After a skin full of drink as we walked along Rose Street heading to a nightclub Fulters trying to jump over a metal bollard as he was messing about and cracked his knee right off it. We laughed it off but when he turned up for training next morning he could hardly walk and had to make his excuses as he couldn't train!!!


CENTRAL MIDFIELD





To the right of the three I would play Mickey. Boundless energy, box to box player at Hearts who had quality on the ball and scored goals arriving late in the box. A really intelligent football player who did both sides of the game.


He would protect his centre halves, compete and win balls back and burst forward to support the strikers. Later in his career he would end up being more of a sitter and cause he read the game so well he did it brilliantly. A total winner no matter what he was doing and demanded high standards off everyone else. I was actually assistant to him for a while when he was manager at Berwick and he was exactly the same as a manager.


Loved a night out too and was great value on it and would always be there at the end of the night despite being pished by 7pm!


RIGHT WING



Front 3 I've gone for John Colquhoun, John Robertson and Neil McCann. On the right I would go Colquhoun I loved watching JC play when I was on the terraces at Tynecastle.


Every time he got the ball you felt like something was going to happen. He was great at running with the ball and hitting crosses on the run and use to go past players with a dip of the shoulder and a wee change of pace.


Always had time for the young boys and giving us advice. Once told me after a Reserve game against Motherwell at Tynecastle that I played him the best pass he had ever received! Another reason why he is in!


FORWARD



Through the middle it has to be wee Robbo. A natural goal scorer but also a really clever player, used his body well, could hold the ball in and link up play and could score all types of goals.


Another one that was great with young players and always looking to help. Remember getting caught with him on a night out and talking football and him having the bottles of Budweiser lined up and going through formations and different movements.


As a manager he's been someone I've spoken to a few times looking for advice and he's always been willing to help. He's doing an incredible job at Inverness and for me definitely deserves another crack at the Hearts job.


LEFT WING



Wide left it has to be Neil McCann. Terry was lightening quick and terrified defenders when he was running at them. He scored some cracking goals, created plenty and was also great in the air for size.


I remember after he got his move to Rangers he pitched up at Mark Bradley's engagement party and the rest of those boys pitched up with vouchers or money in a card. Terry walked in with a wide screen TV!!! He wasn't being a billy big baws he was just being as he was, generous and a good guy.


Bumped into him recently in the Health Spa at The Marine Hotel in North Berwick and he was still absolutely ripped, fit as a fiddle and could probably still play. Think my good lady was wondering how I wasn't still in the same shape!!


HONOURABLE MENTIONS



Midfield is difficult and I want to pick Gary Mackay but there's just too many quality players that I can't. Gary was one of the players I use to look after when I went on the ground staff. He use to ask for three towels every day and dry his hair after every training session.


He use to think I was soft as I went to Boroughmuir High School and was brought up in the Grange in Edinburgh. I think he use to like him but was always trying to give me a grounding in the game. He would be physical with me in training and try and wind me up.


One frosty day where we had to train on Portobello beach I finally cracked. We were playing a small sided game and Gary received the ball ball with his back to me and as he turned I went right through him. I remember all the players laughing at the time as Gary was down rolling about. As I went to pick him up wondering what response I would get he just smiled and said "well done Robbie!". From that moment he was brand new with me and looking back he was testing me and trying to toughen me up and make me more streetwise.


To this day whenever we see each other we always have a good chat. He was a superb player for Hearts, you don't play that many games for the club and not be. He had a telepathic relationship with wee Robbo on the football pitch, I only wish he had been part of the squad that finally won the Scottish Cup as for me he deserved it




Tough team to pick and a few players I wish I played with, Levein, McLaren, Skacel, Mckinlay and Mo Johnston to name a few.


In my first couple of months on the ground staff Mo and Wayne Foster were banished to train with the reserves under wee Tommy McLean. I remember going in for a tackle on Fozzie and caught him by accident and he flipped. I thought I was going to get a pasting but we Mo jumped into save the day.


He was some man too. Straight into training from a night out with all his Versace gear on and sending me up the road to get the rolls in for anyone who wanted one. The £50 note would come out and if you were lucky it was a cheap round for him as you would always get to keep the change!!




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