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Brown is given new Hearts deal

Billy Brown yesterday signed a contract extension which will allow him to continue working as assistant manager at Hearts until the end of March.

The 63-year-old's contract had been due to expire next week but club administrators, BDO, have agreed to retain his services for another month.

His involvement at Tynecastle this season had been on a voluntary basis initially and Brown signed a short-term contract in January to work as assistant to inexperienced manager Gary Locke. It was an arrangement which was revisited at the end of each month and which was due to end last month when BDO announced that a need to reduce costs at the club still further meant that Brown would be released.

However, a new deal followed shortly after that statement was made and both parties have come to a quick agreement over an extension this time. "He's had a big part to play here and he's a massive help for me," said Locke, who also worked with Brown while still a player.

"Like myself, he just wants to concentrate on the game against Celtic [this afternoon], which is the most important thing."

It was fitting then that Locke could turn his attention to the prospect of recalling Jason Holt to Hearts starting XI now that the midfielder has recovered from a metatarsal injury. The 21-year-old is expected to start against Celtic at Tynecastle today - the first time the two clubs have met in Edinburgh since Hearts suffered a humiliating 7-0 defeat in the William Hill Scottish Cup.

Holt missed that match due to his injury and has insisted that he would rather have been on the pitch alongside his team-mates. "It was hard to watch and I think that's a game for the boys to probably forget," he said. "Watching from the sides is frustrating because you just want to be out there helping the boys.

"As a player you want to be involved in every game, whether it's a defeat, draw or a win. It was a poor game for us but at the same time I also think that Celtic played exceptionally well. This time we need to match them in all areas because I think we let them off the hook a wee bit by not getting in their faces."

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