HEARTS last night began the countdown to their new era by sending “three of the best young players in Scotland” to Raith Rovers.
Jamie Walker, Jason Holt and David Smith hope to gain first-team experience on a month’s loan before returning to Tynecastle.
Director Sergejus Fedotovas warned fans Hearts will be “very different” next season as he confirmed plans to sell older players and fast-track the cash-strapped club’s young talent.
The move could see an exodus of players in the January transfer window and a step up for some of the kids who have put the Jambos top of the SPL Under-19 table with 11 wins from 13 games.
On Friday Walker, Holt and Smith signed new contracts to keep them at Tynecastle until 2014.
The trio played for Raith in a bounce game at the weekend and Hearts coach Darren Murray reckons a spell under former Jambos No.2 John McGlynn at Stark’s Park will prepare them for action in the top flight.
Murray said: “They have outgrown the Under-19s. It’s a great vehicle where the players learn the game but there comes a point when you have to get them out playing against men.”
Raith are joint bottom of the First Division and Murray said: “John McGlynn, who I have great admiration for, will look after them.
“These lads now have to fight for their place in a team that isn’t picking up a great deal of results but I’m sure with John’s coaching ability that will change.
“He now has three of the best young players in Scotland and we’re hopeful for them. When they come back they can maybe push for a place in the first-team squad.”
The trio join young Hearts team-mates Danny Thomson and Denis Prychynenko, who are also on loan with the Kirkcaldy side.