Football: Severin trusts in Jefferies

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The Independent Online
SCOTT SEVERIN believes Hearts players will welcome the prospect of manager Jim Jefferies adding more quality to his squad because they realise the club must put up a stiffer challenge to the Old Firm.

The Scotland Under-21 international was among the scorers as Dundee were crushed 4-0 on Saturday - the same scoreline by which both Celtic and Rangers have beaten Hearts already this term.

The past week has seen the Scottish Media Group buy a 19.9 per cent stake in the Edinburgh club which is understood to have freed several million pounds for Hearts to spend on players.

Severin knows that the windfall will only intensify competition for places, but he believes there will be no resentment from within the ranks if newcomers do arrive - because to a man the current squad desire success.

"The manager having a few million to spend is great for the club even though it puts pressure on those of us already here," he said. "We know if we're not performing he'll go out and buy.

"But he has a great reputation for going out and buying the right players even without having had much money to spend in the past. Hopefully he can do the same with the funds now at his disposal.

"He's said to us all that if we keep playing well then we'll stay in the team, which is encouraging, and with the right new additions I feel we can yet take on the Old Firm."

Stephane Adam opened the scoring for Hearts after six minutes on Saturday ahead of a late surge of second-half goals from Darren Jackson, Colin Cameron and Severin to redress Dundee's clean sweep of league wins in the fixture last term.

"There were never four goals between the two teams," Dens Park manager Jocky Scott complained. "At 1-0 down we looked the more likely side to score but let ourselves down with basic errors."

Elsewhere, Dundee United lifted themselves to third in the table by maintaining their unbeaten home record at Hibernian's expense at Tannadice inspired by a stunning David Hannah goal.

With the match poised at 1-1 after Russell Latapy had cancelled out Jan Telesnikov's fourth-minute effort, former Celtic midfielder Hannah struck from 35 yards.

Billy Dodds' last-minute penalty made the victory appear more emphatic to leave visiting manager Alex McLeish ruing what he described in generous terms as "a goal in a million".

McLeish explained: "They had the luck and it took a wonder goal from David Hannah to win it for them. It's difficult to believe we didn't take anything from the game."

His United counterpart, Paul Sturrock, concurred.

"Hibernian will think themselves hard done by and I can sympathise with that," Sturrock said. "They dominated for long periods but we were able to keep our home record going."