HEARTS continue to make news, off the football field at least. Last

night they confirmed the appointment of Sandy Clark as their permanent

manager, and also furiously denied a weekend report that they owed one

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of their players money.

Clark briefly has been in interim control in the aftermath of Joe

Jordan's sacking eight days ago, and has clearly impressed Wallace

Mercer's board.

The former Rangers striker entered the fray with a head start,

however, having steered the group of young players in his charge for the

last three years to the BP Youth Cup and the Premier Reserve League

title.

Clark has already introduced four players to the first team since his

temporary appointment and chairman Mercer confirmed he had the unanimous

and wholehearted support of the Tynecastle board.

''Sandy Clark has been a tremendous success at youth and reserve-team

level,'' said Mercer. ''and this blend of youth and our eight existing

senior professionals who have internationalist caps will provide the

nucleus for the best Hearts squad for many years.''

However, Mercer is most unhappy about rumours suggesting dissident

supporters are attempting a possible take-over of Tynecastle, angrily

dismissing such talk, and even more upset at talk of possible player

unrest.

Yesterday, Mercer revealed: ''Hearts are making a substantial damages

claim against a Sunday newspaper over an allegation that a Hearts'

player was owed monies by the club.''

That allegation was countered by a statement from senior players Craig

Levein and Gary Mackay yesterday, insisting that there had been no

problems with any payments to the playing staff.

0 Mercer insists he is taking a break, recommended by his doctor,

after 20 years of stress in the property business.

Meanwhile, Clark flew back to Scotland last night after an overnight

meeting with his chairman in the South of France, and he will speak to

the media at Tynecastle today.

The Hearts story is not over yet . . .