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The Toe Poke

New boys boosting Sunderland

By ESPN Staff

Beslija poised for Hearts 'stepping stone'

Hearts transfer target Mirsad Beslija is hoping to use the Tynecastle club as a stepping stone to the Barclays Premiership.

The Edinburgh club, currently second behind Celtic in the Bank of Scotland Premier League, appear to have won the race to sign the Bosnia-Herzegovina midfielder.

Hearts have reached agreement with Racing Genk, according to whose website the 26-year-old will sign a three-and-a-half-year agreement after passing a medical.

The midfielder joined Genk in 2001 from Bosnian club Zeljeznicar and has made 118 appearances for them. He has 39 caps for his country and has scored four goals.

Beslija told the Edinburgh Evening News: 'I don't know any of the Hearts players at the moment.

'But I've heard of a lot of good players in the Scottish league like Thomas Buffel and Dado Prso. Maybe the next one can be me.

'I have much admiration for the English league and I see Scotland as a step between Belgium and England.

'Hearts is a club who could be playing in the Champions League or UEFA Cup which is a big bonus for me.'

Meanwhile, Hearts defender Robbie Neilson hopes the Scottish Football Association will rescind the controversial red card awarded to Takis Fyssas during their SPL clash against Celtic on New Year's Day.

The Greek full-back was sent off by referee Iain Brines for a foul on Hoops striker Shaun Maloney.

Hearts had been leading 2-1 but went on to lose 3-2 after Stephen McManus grabbed a late double, allowing Celtic to extend their lead at the top to seven points.

After watching the incident on television, Hearts appealed against the red card - and their claim will be considered by three members of the SFA's review panel.

Neilson told Hearts World: 'I felt the referee was too quick getting his card out - he never thought about it at all.

'There are a lot of things for him to think about - like where it has taken place, where the ball is going, where the man is going, where Takis has come from and has he touched the ball?

'I hope they will overturn the decision on Takis, because he is one of our key players and we need him available to play.'