Tall says Hearts will cope after Pressley departure

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The Independent Online

The Hearts defender Ibrahim Tall believes the club has the experience in defence to cope with the loss of the club captain, Steven Pressley.

Hearts announced on Saturday night that they had reached an "amicable agreement" for the Scotland defender to leave Tynecastle, and at least five clubs are thought to be interested in signing Pressley.

Tall played alongside Marius Zaliukas in central defence in Saturday's 4-1 Scottish Premier League win over Motherwell, with Greece full-back Takis Fyssas among the scorers.

"Many players can play in defence," Tall said. "Takis is experienced and Marius also, it is not a problem."

Pressley had revealed "significant unrest" in the dressing room under the regime of the majority shareholder, Vladimir Romanov, in October. But he was left out of the squad for the game at Falkirk on 13 November amid reports he had uncovered a plot to strip him of the captaincy. He returned as an unused substitute for the home defeat by Rangers the following weekend when about 200 supporters demonstrated against Romanov. He was back in the starting line-up for the goalless draw at Inverness Caledonian Thistle a fortnight ago but was omitted from the squad again last week for the 2-2 draw at St Mirren.

Now, after over eight years at Tynecastle, Pressley has left, saying in a statement: "I have enjoyed my time at Tynecastle enormously and will be sad to leave. Particularly, I would like to thank the fans for their support."

The Scottish Professional Footballers' Association has been advising Pressley throughout his dispute with the club. But the SPFA secretary, Fraser Wishart, believes the statement will be the end of the issue as far as the defender is concerned.

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