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By ESPN Staff

Hearts look to avoid Thomson 'sideshow'

Hearts manager Jim Jefferies is determined to prevent full-back Craig Thomson's situation becoming a "sideshow" that affects the rest of his team.

Charity calls for Thomson sacking

Jefferies was speaking out after the club's decision to allow the defender to resume his career following a conviction for "lewd, libidinous and indecent behaviour".

Earlier this month, 20-year-old Thomson pleaded guilty, was fined and placed on the sex offenders register in relation to his inappropriate conduct towards two under-age girls over the internet.

Jefferies said: "There will be some games now where this gives us a situation. We have to make sure that if Craig ever gets back in the team - and let's not forget there's competition for places - how will he handle what's coming to him?

"We have to be sure as well because at the end of the day that's going to affect the performance of the rest of the players if it becomes a bit of a sideshow which gets out of hand."

Thomson stayed in Edinburgh while the rest of the squad headed to Italy for their pre-season training camp at the weekend.

Jefferies added: "This is the worst thing I've ever had to deal with. Of course, part of a manager's life is dealing with situations. You don't want your club to be associated with anything like this.

"You accept as a manager that you'll have to deal with problems along the road. But I have to be honest and say I've never felt like this.

"There's a big part of me that is sorry the player got involved because I knew what the reaction would be and he can't have any complaints because it was a bad, bad thing he did. He has made a grave error."