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Ross County v Hearts: Captain to lead Hearts in Dingwall despite Swiss interest

MARIUS ZALIUKAS will captain Hearts in Dingwall today, despite interest from Young Boys of Berne who are keen to take him to the Swiss Super League.

In Switzerland, the deadline does not expire until February 15, so John McGlynn, the Hearts manager, faces a fortnight of uncertainty and is still not in a position to turn down a reasonable offer for one of the top-earner.

"The lad [scout Stephane Chapuisat] has come out and said he has an interest in Zaliukas. It would be beneficial if there was one window across the board," he said.

Despite the speculation, Zaliukas will lead his side into today's only SPL encounter, and McGlynn is keen to take advantage to climb up an incredibly tight SPL, in which just nine points separate 11th from second place.

He added: "We are only eight points from second and we certainly think we can close that gap in the second half of the season."

The re-arranged meeting with Ross County comes after the contentious December 29 call-off due to adverse weather. More than 800 Hearts fans travelled north, and the team stayed overnight in Inverness, only to have the game postponed less than an hour before kick-off because of adverse weather.

After it, the Dingwall club flew to Spain for the winter break, and defensive stalwart Grant Munro has seen a benefit. "It was fantastic to train in 20 degrees at this time of year. Here, it's grey and you think 'here we go again'.

"We are getting back into the mix with the teams above us and have games in hand on teams so we can close the gap further.

"We worked hard over there – but the main thing was it helped the new boys bond with the rest."

County have further new faces within their ranks and added Swiss-Serbian defender Branislav Micic late in the window, the club's fifth January signing.

With Ross Tokely and Marc Fitzpatrick leaving, County have off-loaded nine in mid-season.

Micic joins a squad featuring Canadian international defender Andre Hainault, German striker Steffen Wohlfarth and two captures who have already slotted into the team – Evangelos Oikonomou and winger Ivan Sproule.

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