Thomson to leave Hearts

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Defender Craig Thomson is to leave Hearts, the Clydesdale Bank Premier League club have confirmed.

The 20-year-old was suspended last month following a conviction for "lewd, libidinous and indecent behaviour".

"Craig Thomson will leave Heart of Midlothian Football Club imminently," read a club statement. "The club has considered all implications surrounding the issue and has decided to find a solution for the player to leave the club over the forthcoming days."

The announcement completes a U-turn by the club, who had originally announced they would stand by Thomson after he pleaded guilty, was fined and placed on the sex offenders register last month in relation to his inappropriate conduct towards two underage girls over the internet.

That decision prompted a huge outcry, with many people calling on Hearts to sack the player while one of the club's backers - MacB Water - withdrew their support as official water sponsor of the Jambos, a deal worth more than £5,000.

Hearts manager Jim Jefferies also expressed his concern at the furore engulfing the club, while former defender Alan McLaren said he hoped Thomson "will not pull on a Hearts shirt again". The Tynecastle club responded to the criticism by suspending Thomson two weeks ago, before confirming their intention to release the full-back.

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