Hearts winger Elliott Frear left without family at Christmas due to Covid restrictions
Hearts winger Elliott Frear was forced to spend Christmas without his wife and daughter due to strict Covid restrictions across Britain.
The 30-year-old’s family planned to fly to Edinburgh from their home in Exeter before Government officials limited travelling to Christmas Day only.
Hearts play Ayr United at Tynecastle Park on Boxing Day and Frear had to spend the festivities without wife Olivia and two-year-old daughter Elodie.
“It's tough. Their flights were cancelled so it's one of those things,” explained the player, who moved north to join Hearts on a one-year contract in August.
“I've been a footballer for long enough now and luckily my daughter isn't old enough to understand Christmas yet. It is what it is. We've got to work and hopefully bring some good results back.
“The new restrictions are going to be tough. My daughter is two so it’s harder this time of year, of course it is. But I’m a professional footballer and my wife understands I’m away at this time of year.
“My daughter doesn’t understand yet but I want to play football as long as I can. Hearts is a club where you can’t turn down any chance to play.
“Injury-wise, the first few months haven’t been great for me but I am really enjoying being here and part of the team. Coming from down south, everyone knows Christmas is just chaos in terms of games.
“My wife chats to her mates and they can’t believe how busy it is in a football sense, but that’s what we signed up to do and hopefully we’ll keep enjoying it.”
Frear appeared as a substitute during extra-time in last weekend’s delayed Scottish Cup final, which Hearts lost 4-3 on penalties. He said he would have stepped up during the shootout but was further down the list.
“I said to Jig [Lee McCulloch] that I wasn't that warm. We'd done penalties the day before and the five who stepped up, I was confident in most of them scoring. I would have been seventh or eighth. I would have taken one but not the first one. I wasn't comfortable.
"Taking Celtic to extra-time and having the majority of the ball in the second half, we have to take confidence from that into the league. The league's a different kettle of fish because teams sit in against us so we need to find other ways to win.”
Ayr sit fifth in the Championship, six points behind leaders Hearts, and have only lost two of their eight league matches this season.
“It’s a big game and they will be right up for it, like most of the teams in the Championship,” acknowledged Frear. “They’ll put a lot of men behind the ball and it is hard.
“We will try and find a way of winning, like we did against Queen of the South. We have a big enough squad to really kick on between now and the end of the season, and we have set the benchmark now as well with Sunday’s performance in the final.
“People will have watched that game, the biggest in Scotland, and seen what we can do. They’ll be thinking Hearts are a really good team – which we are. Now we need to keep proving that in the league.”