Delights Of Tynecastle Or European Opportunity? Tough Call
Jamie MacDonald will be returning to Hampden on 24 May but really wants to be returning to Tynecastle to fight for a place in the SPL side. Currently on loan from Hearts, 'keeper MacDonald is willing to give up the chance of playing in the UEFA Cup with Queen of the South if Hearts give him a chance of first-team football. While another loan deal to Palmerston would not be a problem, MacDonald wants to play for Hearts first team before his deal ends in June 2009. MacDonald lost three goals on Saturday against Aberdeen but will still be looking forward to return to Hampden. If Rangers beat St Johnstone on Sunday in the second Scottish Cup semi-final the Dumfries side will earn a place in the UEFA Cup.
It is tempting to Scotland's under-21 'keeper to play for Queen of the South in the UEFA Cup but MacDonald wants to return to Hearts this summer and challenge for the number one jersey. MacDonald said: "It's an awkward position for me to be in. I've got a year left at Hearts so, to be honest, the ball is in their court. It's up to them where I play next season because I'm contracted to them. At the end of the day, I'm a Hearts player and I want to be involved there. I'd like to go back and try to push for a first-team place. Hearts is what I've known for the last six years. They're a Premier League club. Queen of the South might be in Europe next year but I'd like to be playing in the SPL."
Hearts' interim manager, Stephen Frail has not made up his mind about MacDonald's future yet. He was pleased to see him reach the cup final with a First Division club. Frail said: "I'm delighted for Jamie and for Queen of the South's manager, Gordon Chisholm, who is one of my best friends in football. I speak to Gordon regularly about Jamie and he has been really pleased with him. He has played his part in some impressive league form and obviously a run to the cup final. It's great to see a good lad doing well. There's no decision on Jamie for next season. I know Queen of the South rate him highly, but we'll let him enjoy the end of the season with them and then the cup final. After that we can sit down and discuss it."
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
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