First Team

Halkett honours Zaliukas with squad number switch

2nd July 2021

Craig Halkett has retired the number 26 jersey for the 21/22 season in honour of former Captain Marius Zaliukas.

The Hearts legend, who tragically lost his life to motor neurone disease last year, wore the 26 jersey as he led the Jambos to Scottish Cup glory in 2012. 

The new Hearts home kit was launched earlier today with the MND Scotland logo front and centre; a charity that plays a crucial role in supportsing people living with motor neurone disease in Scotland. 

With a charity so closely linked to our legendary former captain taking pride of place on the home kit for the upcoming season, Craig Halkett, who wore the 26 jersey last season, has decided to pay tribute to Marius by retiring the number for the 21/22 season. 

Speaking to Hearts TV, Craig - who will now take to the pitch with number 19 on his back - explained the thoughts behind the tribute. 

"It goes back to last season when we heard the sad news about big Zal's passing. As the season went on, myself and the gaffer spoke about switching numbers but regulations make it hard to do that in the middle of a season. 

"Once we came back for the new season we sat down and spoke about it again and I was more than happy to give the number up for the season. I think it's a great tribute to Zal who obviously did alot for this club, he's a massive legend here and it was an easy decision for me to make.

"Retiring the 26 jersey for the season obviously ties in with our new front of shirt sponsor, MND Scotland, and I think it's great for the club to have that on the front of the shirt. It helps raise awareness and promote all the good work the charity does."