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Remembering Hearts Hero Marius Zaliukas

Date: 2nd November 2020

It was a day of mixed emotion for Heart of Midlothian on Saturday. On the pitch The Championship side reached the Scottish Cup final by knocking out Edinburgh rivals Hibs at Hampden. 

But unfortunately news also surfaced during Saturday evening that former club captain Marius Zaliukas had died in his homeland of Lithuania at the tender age of thirty-six. 

If you want to know how much Zaliukas meant to the Jambos support, then you should look online at how muted their celebrations were after winning such an important tie. Don’t get me wrong they still celebrated but everyone I saw mentioned and remembered their former captain. 

Marius arrived at Tynecastle during the Vladimir Romanov era in 2006. Romanov was a fellow Lithuanian who was the then owner of club. During that time Hearts signed a lot of foreign players and many of them came from their owner’s other club FBK Kaunas. That was the route that took Zaliukas to the Scottish capital. 

With such a transfer policy, there were a few hits and plenty of misses. Some of the new recruits couldn’t get to grips with the Scottish game nor did they understand the stature Hearts had within Scottish football. 

Zaliukas didn’t just walk into the hearts of the Hearts support. At times he seemed clumsy, unpredictable and not strong enough. He also seemed to have a few mistakes within his game and had disciplinary issues. 

What the young man did have was plenty of determination. He didn’t crumble under the scrutiny that was upon him, he digged down and worked on his game. He’d become more reliable at the back and a force in the opposition’s penalty box too. 

He also became a passionate leader within the dressing room, a quality that would see him take over the club’s captaincy. He knew that receiving the armband was a great honour. 

The thing that really started to shine through the longer Marius stayed at Tynecastle was his committed to the cause and his passion to succeed in Maroon. He clearly loved the club and the city. Along with Rudi Skacel, Zaliukas was the best example of a foreign player that would fall in love with Hearts and their fanbase. 

There was no better example of the Lithuanian defender’s passion for The Jambos than when he would captain the side to probably their most famous victory. It was he that led the side to that glorious 5-1 victory over Hibs to secure the Scottish Cup on the nineteenth of May 2012!

Marius would climb the Hampden steps with tears in his eyes, looking absolutely gobsmacked when the trophy was handed over to him. His eyes beamed with pride as he faced his club’s jubilant support and he roared as he lifted the cup aloft! 

In total, Marius Zaliukas would spend seven seasons at Hearts. He would make 212 appearances for the club and he hit the back of the net fourteen times. 

He departed in the summer of 2013 and would end up at Leeds United. He would then spend another season in Scotland with Rangers before seeing out his career back in his homeland. But despite his moves, he won’t be as fondly remembered by any team’s support as he will be in Gorgie. 

Zaliukas would also represent his nation on twenty-five occasions. 

Those that played and managed the enthusiastic centre-back would talk of his commitment and his happy go lucky personality. That speaks volumes of the bubbly character he must have had.

All at Supporters Direct Scotland would like to send our condolences to the family of Marius Zaliukas.

I thought I would end this post by giving it over to those that knew Marius Zaliukas the best, the Heart of Midlothian fans:


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