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By ESPN Staff
Jan 28, 2007

Romanov accuses Pressley of 'betrayal'

Hearts majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov has claimed he was betrayed by former skipper Steven Pressley over the now Celtic defender's criticism of his regime.

With Pressley's allies Craig Gordon and Paul Hartley also appearing to be on their way out of Tynecastle, Romanov spoke of the need to remove players who disrupt the squad.

Jambos head coach Valdas Ivanauskas left Gordon and Hartley out of the team that drew 0-0 with Rangers yesterday because of 'football politics'.

Romanov told Belorussian magazine Pressball: 'In Scotland we are having to fight not in the sporting sense, but against constant intrigues.

'Hearts are ahead of schedule in their development plan but non-football issues need put right.

'They are created by our rivals, who together with the press systematically accuse us of all kinds of non-existent sins.'

Over the Pressley situation, he added: 'There was no conflict whatsoever, there was a banal betrayal.

'Players sold themselves for the striped shirts they were promised. But there were issues that were impossible to resolve, it was harming Valdas Ivanauskas' health.

'It was impossible to resolve the situation unless we removed players who did not want to face Celtic, Rangers or other teams. That's the thing with players, once they have achieved their goals, you need to sell them.

'If you let someone like that stay with the team, he will destroy it and take players with him.'

Ivanauskas admitted he had wanted to play Hartley and Gordon at Ibrox, adding: 'All I can say is that it was football business, especially with Paul Hartley.'

The pair flanked Pressley when he revealed 'significant unrest' in the dressing room on October 27.

The Scotland defender left the club six weeks later and his international team-mates look set to follow suit.

Rangers have been hotly tipped to sign Hartley while club skipper Gordon is interesting Fulham and has been linked with Arsenal and Bayern Munich.

Ivanauskas has admitted the duo have attracted interest along with Julien Brellier, Michal Pospisil and Robbie Neilson.