Denis Prychynenko believes playing for Hearts has toughened him up enough to play for a club in the Crimean war zone.

The German midfielder was released by the Tynecastle club last year after their financial troubles and signed for Ukrainian side FC Sevastopol, who play in the troubled Crimea area of the country which has been annexed by Russia.

Football has continued almost as normal though and 22-year-old Prychynenko even played in a recent Crimean derby match against Tavriya Simferopol.

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"I learned a lot at Hearts, but especially how to fight," he said.

"The way I have dealt with the situation here in Crimea has been to just think everything is normal. It's a complex situation and I have no knowledge of the political situation. We have to just try and play football.

"The only notable change has been we have to take the train now to games, instead of planes because of the dangerous situation, which has meant 10-hour journeys to matches.

"I played against my cousin Stanislav in the derby. It was a perfectly amicable match - not like Hearts v Hibs or Celtic against Rangers or anything!"