Thanks to Dave from Sidearm Delivery who graciously forwarded the latest in a long line of Vladimir Romanov’s embarrassments. From the Edinburgh Evening News’ Mark Bonthrone and Barry Anderson.

Hearts have confirmed that defender Steven Pressley (above) walked out on the club voluntarily yesterday having declared himself not mentally able to play in last night’s match with Falkirk.

Alex Koslovski, a sport director at Tynecastle, revealed that the 33-year-old was acting in response to “rumours” surrounding his captaincy, which arose after club owner Vladimir Romanov was understood to have initiated a plot to relieve Pressley of the armband.

Whereas in the recent past many fans have turned against rebellious players such as Andy Webster and Rudi Skacel, the backing for Pressley remains weighty. Several members of the Tynecastle playing staff were understood to have been approached by someone close to majority shareholder Romanov and urged to side against the captain, who just last month issued a statement admitting to serious concerns about the direction the club was heading.

Pressley learned of the behind-the-scenes machinations to oust him as skipper and left the Hearts team hotel in the build-up to the Falkirk match. His future at the club is now in serious jeopardy although he did turn up at the club’s Riccarton complex for training at 9.15 this morning.

While Pressley was absent from the 1-1 draw at the Falkirk Stadium, fellow Scotland internationalists Paul Hartley and Robbie Neilson were relegated to the bench.

The club refused to comment on either the absence of the trio from the starting line-up or the allegations that Pressley’s position had been undermined.