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Due to his knee injury, Barney Battles required a year's break, but he was splendidly covered by the hard-hitting Dave McCulloch who came from Third Lanark in June 1934 for £530. McCulloch was the League's top scorer in 1934-35 with 38 goals, including 12 in 7 consecutive matches. This marksmanship inspired Hearts to 3rd place in the Championship.

Hearts should have finished higher, because in September 1934, the team started an 11-game unbeaten run, including 8 wins, and reached second place. Before the festive period, there was also an outstanding 4-1 home win over the eventual Champions, Rangers while at new year, Hibs were beaten 5-2 and Dundee were crushed 5-1. However, Hearts then lost three successive home games and a promising title challenge fizzled out.

The Scottish Cup also produced thrills, but similar disappointment. The craft of Tommy Walker and skipper, Alex Massie, engineered wins over Solway Star, Kilmarnock and Dundee United. As a result, rumours that Walker might join Arsenal for a record £12,000 caused dismay and split the directors. This interest was not pursued and he was still at Hearts when Airdrieonians was defeated 3-2 in the Quarter Finals at Broomfield, before a record attendance of 24,244.

In the Semi Final against Rangers at Hampden Park, Hearts played before a six figure crowd for the first time, with 102,661 in the ground, including 25,000 Tynecastle fans. Walker scored in a 1-1 draw, but the maroons regretted some missed chances, as Rangers won the Replay 2-0 in front of 90,428 spectators.

Hearts did win the Wilson Cup; the Stirlingshire Charity Cup; and the Rosebery Charity Cup, and fans enjoyed the emerging skills of striker, Andy Black. During the course of the season, stalwarts, Jack Harkness and Andy Anderson, had benefit matches. Anderson's testimonial on 15 August 1934 produced a 5-1 win over SK Rapid of Vienna, who became the first foreign club side to appear at Tynecastle.

In 1934, Sportklub Rapid became the first foreign club side to appear at Tynecastle
In 1934, Sportklub Rapid became the first foreign club side to appear at Tynecastle.

Despite a sound campaign and a record profit, the season ended in disharmony and the resignation of chairman Elias Furst. William McCartney followed in June 1935 as new chairman, Alex Irvine, wanted a track-suited approach to management. McCartney brought through many fine players, but his squads failed to win major honours and he paid the price.

Under New Management

In July 1935, a new manager, David Pratt, came from Notts County and the former Celtic and Liverpool winger, faced early problems, because the trainers' saw their position being undermined as Pratt dictated tactics. The public was confident of success, however, with a team containing many internationalists, including Harkness, Massie, Walker, Anderson, McCulloch and Herd.

Hearts' young side actually dropped back to 5th in the League, 19 points behind the Champions, Celtic. Nevertheless, some performances were special particularly the 8-3 home win over Hibernian on 21 September. This is the greatest number of goals scored in a League derby with Hearts marksmen being Walker (2), Black (2), Wipfler (2), Munro and McCulloch. Another outstanding result came in February 1936 when prospective title winners, Celtic, were beaten 1-0 at Tynecastle. Unfortunately, Hearts were never serious Championship contenders due to a poor away record, with only 6 wins from 19 matches.

The new manager was not helped by the directors' decision to clear outstanding debts relating to the previous upgrading of the stadium. As a result, in December 1935, Dave McCulloch joined Brentford for £5,500 and within a few weeks, Alex Massie was signed by Aston Villa also for £5,500. McCulloch's firepower and Massie's midfield drive were missed while Barney Battles also gave up his struggle to regain fitness after scoring 150 goals in 162 League and Scottish Cup games.

Hearts did sign George Robson from Brentford; Charlie Wipfler from Bristol Rovers; and William Russell from Chelsea; but they could not compensate for the departures. Accordingly, the maroons made an inglorious First Round exit in the Scottish Cup at Cathkin Park, where Third Lanark won 2-0. David Pratt was unhappy about team spirit and felt that he did not have the support of the trainers'. Two weeks later, Hearts won 5-1 at the same ground in the League, sparking rumours of indiscretion by certain players before the Cup match.

Alex Massie and manager William McCartney discuss tactics
Alex Massie and manager, William McCartney, discuss tactics

Hearts won the Wilson Cup; the East of Scotland Shield and the Rosebery Charity Cup where new striker, Willie Walsh, from Oldham Athletic, scored four goals on his debut against Dunfermline Athletic. Even minor games against Hibs were still important and during the season, Willie Waugh and John Munro were loaned to the Leith club to successfully fight relegation.

Scotland beat Ireland 2-1 at Tynecastle before a crowd of 28,771 and in view of the ever increasing attendances, in March 1936, it was decided to replace all the wooden crush barriers with concrete and steel. Tommy Walker was now a fixture in the international team and that same month, the 20-year old inside-man, famously scored Scotland's equalizer in a 1-1 draw against England at Wembley with a penalty kick.

Hearts Regroup

After the previous season's disappointment, Hearts were active in the transfer market, signing Freddie Warren of Middlesbrough, who later became the club's first Welsh internationalist, and also Alex Ferguson of St Johnstone. Ongoing recruitment was required, because during 1936-37, Jack Harkness retired after a distinguished career, while stalwarts, Willie Reid and Sandy Herd, also moved on.

Centre-forward Alex Anderson tries to break down the Third Lanark defence during a Scottish Cup tie at Cathkin Park in January 1936
Centre-forward, Alex Anderson, tries to break down the Third Lanark defence during a Scottish Cup tie at Cathkin Park in January 1936

Willie Walsh, hit 22 League goals, but this was bettered by young Andy Black, who scored 30. As a result, Hearts hit a new club record of 99 League goals, but even though they were the highest scorers, the team finished 5th, being ten points behind the Champions, Rangers. Failure to take points off lesser clubs eventually damaged Hearts' League challenge, but the real reason may have been the situation behind the scenes. Trainer, Jimmy Kerr, resigned in September 1936, as his methods were not popular with young players and his on-field instructions clashed with the manager's. Accordingly, in a show of player-power, most of the squad threatened to strike if action was not taken.

David Pratt, assumed total control and long term servant, George McCrae, was appointed to the downgraded role of trainer. This cleared the air and Hearts moved up to third with some splendid performances. For example, in December, Hearts were 2-0 down to Rangers, but came back to win 5-2 at Tynecastle before 40,211 fans. As in so many games, this magnificent recovery was inspired by Tommy Walker. Hibs were beaten 3-2 at New Year and shortly afterwards, Hearts won 1-0 away to Rangers.

The maroons were acknowledged to be the country's finest footballing side and early in 1937, William Kean was appointed secretary, to ensure that all of the manager's time was spent with his players. Unfortunately, the internal problems had not been resolved, because in February 1937, after St Bernards was beaten in the Scottish Cup, David Pratt resigned. No reason was given, although Kean's appointment may have been taken as a slight to his ability. Four successive games were lost in March and Hearts slipped down the League table.

Captain, Andy Anderson, shouldered more responsibility when Hearts faced Kings Park in the Cup on 13 February 1937. The home team won 15-0, a victory which is still a club record in a national competition. Willie Walsh scored eight goals that day which is also a club record.

In March, Frank Moss, the 28-year old former England and Arsenal goalkeeper, whose career had been ended by a shoulder injury, was appointed manager. The former coach of Arsenal Reserves immediately faced challenges with the departure of Alex Munro to Blackpool. Hearts were also bundled out of the Scottish Cup with a 2-1 defeat at Hamilton, before a record crowd of 28,281.

The new manager had quality footballers, but needed to end the absurd inconsistency. Moss was encouraged by success in all the local competitions and the support, the average attendance at League matches reaching a new record of 20,087.

Freddie Warren scores against Celtic during the 2-2 draw in the Scottish Cup in February 1939
Freddie Warren scores against Celtic during the 2-2 draw in the Scottish Cup in February 1939

Moss Sparks a Recovery

Frank Moss introduced modern training methods and detailed tactical talks, but more importantly, he was given a free hand to select the team. Hearts opened with a 2-1 win over St Johnstone and four days later, at Easter Road, Hibs were defeated in the Wilson Cup Final. That result became irrelevant when Alex Ferguson suffered a compound fracture of his right leg, but despite this upsetting incident, Hearts went on to have the best League campaign for over thirty years and finished runners-up to Celtic by only three points.

Moss certainly tinkered as the campaign progressed and he sold Walsh to Millwall while securing Alex Hyslop (Albion Rovers); Pat Donoghue (Tranent); Alfie Biggs (Arsenal); and Jimmy Briscoe (Preston North End). Another big signing was Joe Mantle from Stockport County but he broke a leg in only his third game. However, the star of the season was Andy Black who scored 40 League goals.

After seven matches, Hearts were top of the League and travelled to play Celtic. The maroons lost 2-1 due to missed chances, but the players quickly recovered and were back on top after beating Rangers 3-0 at Ibrox. Andy Black scored a hat-trick that day when Hearts youth and dash made the headlines. There were reverses but Hearts were one point ahead when Celtic came for a real crunch match on 8 January 1938.

The Glasgow club deserved to win the Championship because they came out on top after a brilliant contest. Hearts led 2-1 with fifteen minutes left, but Celtic hit back in amazing style to win 4-2. Hearts never topped the League again that season and Celtic did not falter even though the Tynecastle men had a remarkable finish with nine wins in a row.

For a brief period, the team was shattered by the Celtic result and went down 3-1 away to Second Division, Dundee United, in the First Round of the Scottish Cup. That day, several Tynecastle men were highlighted for a lack of fight, but that never applied to Tommy Walker who was unsurpassed at skilful football and who scored Scotland's winning goal against England that season. He also enjoyed a testimonial against Derby County, a game that Hearts won 2-1.

The season ended poorly with defeats in the Shield and the Charity Cup. However, as one of the top eight clubs in Britain, Hearts were invited to compete in the Empire Exhibition Tournament in Glasgow. In the First Round the maroons defeated Brentford at Ibrox, but went down 1-0 to Celtic in the Semi Final at the same ground.

Frank Moss fielded a side that was admired for quality football and Hearts regularly provided three, or even four, players for Scotland. With League gates averaging a new record of 20,172 all the club's debts had been cleared and there was talk of a new ground on the west side of the city, as restrictions were placed on the expansion of Tynecastle.

Hearts in 1937-38: Anderson, Waugh, McClure, Robson, Dykes and Miller. Front Row: Briscoe, Walker, Biggs, Black and Warren
Hearts in 1937-38: Anderson, Waugh, McClure, Robson, Dykes and Miller. Front Row: Briscoe, Walker, Biggs, Black and Warren

Erratic Hearts

After finishing second the previous season, Hearts looked good for the Championship in 1938-39. Walker and Black were the most delightful players in the game, backed up by Dykes, Anderson, Miller and Briscoe, although the local press thought the team needed a leader of the attack. Sadly, Hearts challenge failed to materialize and the team finished 4th in the League with Rangers the runaway Champions. Hearts hit 98 goals, but the defence was too weak to support a title challenge, with 70 conceded.

The maroons made a great start, but were put to the test on 3 September 1938 when a record League crowd of 49,904 came to Tynecastle for the match against Celtic. Hearts lost 5-1 and while the club had often been called inconsistent, this season they were erratic with good results always being spoiled by a bad one. For example, a 7-1 away victory over St Johnstone was followed by a home draw against Arbroath. Too many goals were lost and Hibs even recorded their first League double since 1921-22.

However, Hearts were always entertaining particularly when Archie Garrett came in December 1938, after a new club record of £4,000 was paid to Preston North End. At that time, there was real fear of another war but nevertheless, on 9 November 1938, a fine crowd of 34, 831 came to Tynecastle to see Scotland beat Wales 3-2, with Tommy Walker hitting two great goals.

Goals were also a feature of the Scottish Cup run and Penicuik Athletic was demolished 14-2 at home with Archie Garrett hitting 6. The Second Round was even better, with Elgin City being thrashed 14-1 with Garrett and Black each scoring 4. This led to Tynecastle's first all ticket crowd of 50,446 which packed into the ground for the Third Round tie against Celtic (50,709 tickets were actually sold).

Amid tremendous excitement, Hearts snatched a 2-2 draw, Garrett equalizing in the dying seconds. However, the replay ended in bitter disappointment before a massive gate of 80,840. A Freddie Warren goal had taken the tie into extra time and during that period Willie Waugh appeared to have saved a Divers' shot. Sensationally, the referee declared that the ball had crossed the line and although the whole Hearts team, except 'gentleman' Tommy Walker, protested, the goal stood and Hearts were eliminated.

Only the Wilson Cup was won this season while on the international front, apart from the usual Full and League honours, Jimmy Dykes and Archie Garrett toured North America with a Scotland XI, Garret hitting 18 goals.

That season, a new wall replaced the wooden fence in front of the stand and all the crush barriers were finally converted to steel. The club, for the first time since 1905, declared a dividend to shareholders, equal to 10% free of tax. Hearts were also in a position to actively consider the construction of a new and more spacious stadium at Sighthill, Corstorphine or Saughton Mains. There were always problems accommodating large attendances and a debate commenced about moving to the west side of Edinburgh.

The Edinburgh City Police in action at the Gorgie Road End during the thirties
The Edinburgh City Police in action at the Gorgie Road End during the thirties

War Once Again

The public was weary, waiting for Hearts to mould fine players into a winning side, but more important issues overshadowed football as war was declared against Germany on 3 September 1939. Accordingly, after five matches, the Scottish League was abandoned with Hearts third on goal average.

The Government relaxed its ban on football after a month, although the game was not to interfere with work of national importance and long traveling was to be avoided. As a result, two Scottish Leagues of sixteen clubs was organized on a regional basis for 1939-40. Hearts played in the East & North Division and the ground capacity was restricted to 8,000 due to the threat of air raids. However, demand for football was greatly diminished by national service, rationing and also because the winter proved to be one of the most severe on record. Accordingly, the club's average League gate dropped to only 3,451.

With the "Old Firm" in the Western League, Hearts were expected to win the East & North Division, but failed, due to constant team changes. In keeping with the tradition of the club, Hearts men had been quick to join the forces and the departure of players such as Garrett and Black affected performance, while others missed matches due to work commitments. To compensate, guest players were allowed and Hearts recruited internationalist, Bobby Baxter of Middlesborough and others such as Jackie Gillies, Bob McCartney, Frank and Hugh O'Donnell.

At the end of the campaign, Hearts were runners-up to Falkirk, despite some magnificent victories. The maroons defeated Dundee United 9-2; Stenhousemuir 8-2; Hibs 6-5; and Arbroath, Alloa Athletic and Kings Park all by 7-2. This was matched by Falkirk who also did the double over Hearts and took the title by five points. The "Bairns" won 3-2 at Tynecastle and 7-1 at Brockville and the maroons could have little complaint. Hearts scored 104 goals that season, the first time the club had scored over a century in a League competition.

The SFA also ran an Emergency Cup competition and Hearts defeated St Johnstone and Raith Rovers before holding Airdrieonians to a 0-0 draw at Broomfield. The visitors won the Tynecastle replay by 4-3 and a local paper noted that, "Hearts wilted when things went against them, as they have done over the years".

Hearts did win the Wilson Cup and the East of Scotland Shield. There were also many representative games and in April 1940, Scotland beat the Empire Army 4-1 at Tynecastle before 7,687 spectators. Behind the scenes, the club's long serving benefactor, Mr William CP Brown, resigned from the board due to ill health. It was also announced that Hearts would play in the new and more lucrative Scottish Southern Football League in 1940-41.

England v Scotland at Wembley in 1938 and Tommy Walker scores the only goal of the game
England v Scotland at Wembley in 1938 and Tommy Walker scores the only goal of the game

Hearts Change League

The 16-team Southern League included the Glasgow clubs, but the problem of fielding a strong side remained and Hearts offered facilities to all players working or serving in the Edinburgh area. Baxter went to Hibernian, but other guests were a feature of the season and 37 men appeared in the League. The most notable new faces were George Hamilton (Aberdeen); Tommy Pearson (Newcastle United); Tommy Dougan (Manchester United); and Jimmy Philip (St Bernards). The maroons also entered the season without a manager, because in July 1940, Frank Moss went home and chairman Alex Irvine deputized with the support of his fellow directors.

It soon became clear that constant changes affected performance and sure enough, the team finished 10th in the Southern League. When Hearts fielded a settled team they played well, but the opposite applied, and the control of the players by the directors' was not successful. On 19 October 1940, Clyde became the only side to hit double figures against Hearts, running up a 10-3 League victory at Shawfield. The next away game was almost as bad, with the team going down 6-2 at Hamilton. It was obvious that some of the guest players were not Hearts standard.

Better form was shown in the Southern League Cup and Hearts qualified from a four-club Section, including Queens Park, Clyde and Hibs. In the Semi Final at Easter Road, Hearts beat Celtic 2-0 and reached a major cup final for the first time since 1919. The Hampden Final against Rangers attracted a crowd of 68,000 and the team was: Willie Waugh; Duncan McClure and Archie Miller; Jimmy Philip, Jimmy Dykes and Tommy Brown; Tommy Dougan, Alex Massie, George Hamilton, Tommy Walker and Robert Christie.

Walker scored after 37 minutes but Rangers forced an equalizer and a replay. The same team played in the second game and before nearly 60,000 Rangers went 2-0 ahead. Hamilton scored twice to level the game but the maroons crumbled in the late stages and lost 4-2.

Hearts did win the Wilson Cup and the Rosebery Charity Cup, and also did well in the Summer Cup where Queens Park and St Mirren were defeated. Hearts then went down 4-2 to Rangers in the Semi-Final at Hampden before a crowd of 24,800.

Hearts advertised for a full time manager but no-one was suitable from seventeen applicants. Accordingly, in June 1941, the club approached David McLean of East Fife, a recognized talent spotter, and a man who could develop young players. He had played for Celtic, Ayr United, Cowdenbeath and East Fife, and he had also guided the Methil club to a Scottish Cup victory in 1938.

The illustrious Tommy Walker
The illustrious Tommy Walker

McLean Rebuilds

In August 1941, in line with the traditions of the club, Hearts played Arsenal to help pay-off the debt on the Scottish National War Memorial. Arsenal won 1-0 before 20,817 fans and including donations, an auspicious £2,000 was raised.

New manager Davie McLean worked hard to find promising youngsters to mix with current players and guests. Forty players were eventually used in the League with notable new guests being John Harvey (Kilmarnock); Harry Betmead (Grimsby Town); George Smith (Manchester City); Sid Bidewell (Chelsea); Jackie Gillies (Clyde); and Bill Hughes (Birmingham). Performances certainly improved and Hearts finished 5th in the Southern League scoring 85 goals in 30 matches. The defence conceded 72 and this prevented a real title challenge.

The League campaign started well with Celtic defeated 3-0. Then in September, the maroons started a run of eight wins from nine matches. Hearts traveled to Ibrox on 15 November confident of victory and going on to take the League title, but despite taking an early lead, the Tynecastle men lost 5-2. They were reported as, "a delightful team, but Rangers carried heavy metal". Hearts were also winning 4-1 at Celtic Park, but the game ended 4-4 and this inconsistent form took the maroons out of the League race. Selection problems also led to wild swings in fortune with a 6-2 defeat from Motherwell being followed by a 7-0 win over Falkirk. The maroons eventually ended up 16 points behind the Champions, Rangers.

Fine players such as Tom Mackenzie (Haddington Athletic) and Willie MacFarlane (Bathgate Thistle) were recruited, but in the spring, Hearts crashed out of the Southern League Cup, failing to qualify from a Section including Motherwell, Third Lanark and Rangers. The Summer Cup was no better and after disposing of St.Mirren, Hearts went down 3-2 on aggregate to Albion Rovers.

The local competitions brought some cheer with victories in the Wilson Cup and the East of Scotland Shield. The Rosebery Charity Cup was also won when skipper, Tommy Walker, guessed correctly on the toss of a coin after a 1-1 draw with Hibs.

Davie McLean's method of keeping players informed during the Second World War
Davie McLean's method of keeping players informed during the Second World War

The War Hits Home

In 1942-43, new guests included Ted Platt (Arsenal) and George Wilkins (Brentford), but Tommy Walker and Jimmy Dykes missed much of the season, with Dykes discharged from the RAF to return to his trade as a plumber. Hearts reserves now operated in the North Eastern League and the manager's recruitment drive moved into top gear, with the signing of Jimmy Brown (Bayview YC); Tom McSpadyen (Glencairn); Malcolm McLure (Larkhall Thistle); and Archie Kelly (Arthurlie).

However, constant changes were the order of the day, due to players' work and service commitments. Accordingly, it was a surprise to see Hearts challenging for the Southern League during the early months. This promising start ended on 31 October when Rangers won 3-0 at Tynecastle before 21,537 fans, the maroons' first home defeat of the season. At that point, manager, Davie McLean, fell ill and without his influence the team hit a run of seven games without a win at the turn of the year. Motherwell even won 6-1 at Tynecastle.

Hearts tumbled down the League but McLean returned in March 1943 and after a late rally that produced five wins from the final six games, the maroons finished 7th with 31 points from 30 games. Walker was majestic but he was often missing, due to military commitments and representative games. He would have been the club's most capped player but for the War.

In the Southern League Cup, Hearts failed to qualify from a Section involving Hamilton, Clyde and Queens Park. The Summer Cup also brought little joy with Hearts losing 4-1 on aggregate to Rangers. In local competitions, Hearts went down 3-2 to Hibs in the Shield Final at Easter Road, but there was a measure of revenge in the Charity Cup Final with Hearts again taking the trophy on the toss of a coin after a 1-1 draw.

That season, Christmas gifts were sent to twenty one players that were serving at home and overseas, but tragically, two young players were victims of the War, John Ramsey, reported missing on an air operation in Italy while Walter Smith died at home with smallpox.

Promising Hearts

Although thirty players were used in the competitive matches of 1943-44, the team was more settled and finished a promising 4th in the Southern League, 15 points behind the Champions, Rangers. The benefits of the manager's rebuilding plans were coming through and some fine men emerged such as Jimmy Brown; Charlie Cox; Archie Kelly; Alex McCrae; Alfie Conn; and Willie MacFarlane.

In October 1943, in the Southern League, the maroons had the satisfaction of defeating Rangers 3-1 at Ibrox and this was followed by a 9-0 home win over Queen's Park. But these were special events and although Hearts were usually good entertainment, they were not consistent enough to push Rangers, who won the return match 3-1 at Tynecastle.

Hearts were unlucky to be drawn in the same League Cup Section as Rangers who won both matches and topped the Section which also included Airdrieonians and Motherwell. Half the stand was roofless at this time due to essential repairs, but the job was completed in June 1944.

Hearts also took part in the Summer Cup which operated on a two-leg system. The maroons disposed of Albion Rovers, but then crashed out against Falkirk who won 4-1 at Tynecastle and 2-0 at Brockville. In the local competitions, Hearts won the Wilson Cup and the East of Scotland Shield, while the reserves brought the Second XI Cup back to Edinburgh after a two-legged victory over St Mirren.

The average League gate was 8,380 which was encouraging because the admission price had gone up to 1/6 (7.5p). However public morale was much higher following the Allied invasion of Europe and the more positive course of the War. Hearts had forty men in the forces at that time and guest players were still a feature. One of these was Otto Jonsson an Icelandic amateur who became the first foreign player to wear maroon.

In August 1943, a Hearts Select beat the Royal Air Force 3-2 to commence what would become an annual Charity Match.

HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN HONOURS BOARD (1934-1944)
The Rosebery Charity Cup: 1934-35; 1935-36; 1936-37; 1940-41; 1941-42; 1942-43
The East of Scotland Shield: 1935-36; 1936-37; 1939-40; 1941-42; 1943-44
The Wilson Cup: 1934-35; 1935-36; 1936-37; 1937-38; 1938-39; 1939-40; 1940-41; 1941-42; 1943-44
The Stirlingshire Charity Cup: 1934-35; 1936-37

DECADE HALL OF FAME
Alex Massie; Andy Anderson; Tommy Walker; Andy Black; Jimmy Dykes; and Archie Miller

INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS (Excluding unofficial wartime internationals)
Alex Massie; Andy Anderson; Andy Herd; Tommy Walker; Dave McCulloch; Alex Munro; William Waugh; Andy Black; Jimmy Dykes; Archie Miller and Freddie Warren (Wales)

SCOTTISH LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS
Alex Massie; Andy Herd; Dave McCulloch; Andy Anderson; Tommy Walker; Andy Black; Jimmy Dykes; Archie Miller and Tommy Brown


Written by historian David Speed with archivist Alex Knight

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