Robbie Neilson today revealed for the first time why he wants to bring Gavin Reilly to Hearts.
A deal to take the Queen of the South forward to Tynecastle is imminent and Neilson has acclaimed Reilly’s energy and pace as the main attraction.
The 22-year-old has agreed terms to join Hearts and step up to the Premiership after 15 goals in 39 games for Queens in last season’s Championship. Neilson, who released striker James Keatings last month, believes Reilly’s dynamism will see him make an impression in the top flight.
Hearts hope to develop Reilly and improve his all-round game once compensation is paid to Queen of the South. The player came through the youth system at Palmerston Park, therefore Queens are entitled to a development fee. They may also sign Hearts forward Gary Oliver on loan as part of the deal.
“The attraction with Reilly is that he brings energy, pace, he works extremely hard,” Neilson told the Evening News. “He chases lost causes and he’s got a good goalscoring record. He’s young and we think we can develop him. It’s important we look at players’ backgrounds and their training history. We think there is definitely potential there for us to develop Reilly.”
Asked about Reilly taking Keatings’ place in the Hearts squad after the latter joined Hibs, Neilson replied: “I think he’s a different type of player to Keatings. He gives you pace and energy, plus the option to make movements in behind defenders and use his pace. I just felt it was an option we wanted to take.
“James worked fantastically well for us and I’m sure he’ll be a great signing for Hibs. He will score goals there. I just felt that getting Gavin in brings that pace and energy to go and cause problems in the top flight. Hopefully the deal will be sorted out soon.”