Hearts mull over Raith’s Liam Smith loan extension request

Liam Smith has been on loan at Raith Rovers from Hearts. Pic: SNS
Liam Smith has been on loan at Raith Rovers from Hearts. Pic: SNS
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Hearts are weighing up whether or not to extend Liam Smith’s loan deal with Raith Rovers.

The right-back joined the Kirkcaldy side on a short-term emergency loan four weeks ago after captain Jason Thomson sustained a knee injury.

Smith, who is behind Scotland internationalist Callum Paterson in the pecking order for a first-team place at his parent club, started his first two matches for Rovers – a home win over Dumbarton and a defeat at Morton – before sitting out last weekend’s draw with Hibs due to a minor hamstring problem.

His loan deal is due to expire after next weekend’s clash with Queen of the South, but Raith manager Gary Locke is hopeful of keeping the 20-year-old until December in order to cover for former Hearts player Thomson, who faces a further two months on the sidelines.

“There’s a possibility of extending it,” head coach Robbie Neilson told the 
Evening News. “We’ll play it by ear and see how we are and see how he is when the loan 
expires.”

Smith is unlikely to shake off his injury in time to feature in today’s Championship match away to Falkirk, but should be available to face Queens.

The Scotland Under-21 internationalist is keen to get regular game time under his belt at Stark’s Park after making just three substitute outings for Hearts in domestic competition since starting both legs of the Europa League defeat by 
Maltese side Birkirkara in July.