Hearts were today closing in on a deal for former Scotland star Craig Beattie as they seek to bolster their strikeforce for a two-pronged attack on the Scottish Cup and third place in the SPL.
The Tynecastle club have held tentative talks with the former Celtic and West Brom forward, who is a free agent after being released by Swansea City. And, with Kilmarnock, St Johnstone and St Mirren all reported to be keen to land Beattie, Hearts were set today to try and accelerate the process of adding the player to their squad until the end of the season. It was reported earlier this week that Rangers had also considered a move for Beattie before turning their attentions to Daniel Cousin.
The addition of the Scotland cap would provide a timely lift to a Hearts squad whose attacking options have been significantly diluted by the January departures of John Sutton and Ryan Stevenson.
The unlikely prospect of a dip into the transfer market for the Edinburgh club is understood to have been made possible by the money the club will receive from their Scottish Cup replay win over St Johnstone.
Beattie’s arrival would give the club a further lift after the players were paid on time and in full yesterday, putting an end for now to the furore which has engulfed the club and sparked fears of financial trouble over the past few months.
It’s not all good news for the Jambos, however. The SPL has ruled that Hearts pay Jonathan Brown £70,000 by the end of the month after the club lost a contract wrangle with the former Tynecastle youngster. Brown’s deal expired last summer but he had the option of an extension, which Hearts were late in informing him they wouldn’t be taking up. In essence, this triggered a new deal, only for Hearts to then inform the player he was to be released. The £70,000 represents two years wages for Brown, who is currently with Livingston.