Hearts owner Romanov told manager to leave out Zaliukas

Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov
Romanov will attend Wednesday's match against Celtic

Hearts captain Marius Zaliukas missed the defeat by Rangers on the order of club owner Vladimir Romanov.

Manager Jim Jefferies told the defender of the decision after a phone call from Lithuania before Saturday's game.

When asked about the Lithuanian's absence, Jefferies said: "He wasn't available for selection - that's as much as I'm going to say on it."

Zaliukas was also frozen out of the team until October as he stalled on accepting a permanent contract offer.

However, the player was eventually brought back into the side and agreed a new deal in November to keep him at Tynecastle until 2013.

The 27-year-old joined Hearts from Kaunas, who are sponsored by Romanov's bank Ukio Bankas, on-loan in August 2006 and quickly became a regular in the first team.

Manager Jim Jefferies appointed him as club captain last summer following the departure of Michael Stewart - despite the player failing to agree a new deal.

Romanov will attend Tynecastle on Wednesday for Hearts' last home match of this Scottish Premier League season against Celtic.

Since taking over the Tynecastle club in February 2005, Romanov has seen off six different managers, with suggestions that the businessman wanted to have a say in team selection.

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