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By ESPN Staff

Romanov hits out at media over Old Firm statement

Hearts majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov has hit out at the media and some former Jambos players in another colourful diatribe.

Romanov earlier denied accusing the Old Firm of buying off referees in an interview in Russian magazine Futbol, which was transcribed by the Daily Record.

In a statement released on the Hearts website, Romanov said: 'It's a pity that papers are not able to get an interview from me direct.

'Thank God I haven't come across any corruption in Scotland.

'I don't expect anything except lies and distortion of my quotes.'

In a reference to the media, Romanov claimed Edinburgh was being 'ruled and destroyed by monkeys from the safari park'.

And the Russian-born businessman again attacked former players who had left the club.

Andy Webster was frozen out at the end of last season before joining Wigan and then Rangers on loan, while Steven Pressley and Paul Hartley joined Celtic in January after criticising Romanov's regime.

The Lithuanian-based businessman added: 'I want to say that I'm surprised with many things, like, for example, the situation when betrayal is portrayed as an act of heroism.

'To my mind, there are no values in this life that are worth betrayal, even if we're talking about hooped shirts.

'If kids are being pushed towards betrayal, I call it seduction - but seduction of their souls.

'Let's see where it led in Webster's case: he hung around in different clubs and didn't play for the Scottish national team for a whole year.

'Other players who fell under this pressure showed miserable results while playing for the national team despite all the chances it had to win.'

But there were signs of a softening of Romanov's position on club skipper Craig Gordon, who had a disciplinary hearing like Hartley and Pressley after backing Pressley's criticism of the running of the club.

Gordon has been dropped for the last three games after Hearts failed to sell him during the transfer window.

But head coach Valdas Ivanauskas revealed Gordon would return to the squad for the Bank of Scotland Premier League clash with St Mirren on Saturday after talks with Romanov today.

The Lithuanian said: 'Craig will be in the squad for the game on Saturday. It is too early to say whether he will play or not but he will be in the squad.

'Craig and Mr Romanov had a very good meeting today at the academy and both sides were very happy.'