Kilmarnock and Falkirk are interested in unsettled Hearts midfielder Scott Robinson, who is available to move for free.
The 22-year-old is surplus to requirements at Tynecastle and is preparing to leave during the January transfer window due to lack of game time.
Robinson was told by Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson in August that he would not play regularly this season. However, he opted to stay and fight for a first-team place despite Falkirk trying to lure him to Westfield on transfer deadline day.
He has managed only four appearances since then and is now considering his options before the transfer window opens on January 1. Kilmarnock are interested in taking him back to the Premiership, with Robinson’s former Hearts manager Gary Locke now assistant coach at Rugby Park. Falkirk have monitored the midfielder all season and may move for him again.
Neilson today praised Robinson’s attitude despite a lack of matches and stressed he would have no qualms should the player decide to stay with Hearts.
“Scott and I have conversations quite regularly about the situation. He’s been fantastic,” Neilson told the Evening News. “His opportunities have been limited this season. I know he’s a player who wants to play every week and that’s why I wanted to be honest with him at the start of the season. I said his opportunities would be less than last year because of the players coming in.
“Nothing has really changed from then but whenever I’ve had to call on him he’s been great. He started the game on Saturday [against Alloa] and did really well. I took him off because he hasn’t played a lot of games and you worry about his fitness. I couldn’t have asked any more from him.
“It will be the same in the January window [as before]. The option is there for him if he wants to move on. If he wants to stay, it’s entirely up to him. I don’t have any issues with him because in football terms he’s been great.
“If he wants to stay, then great. As long as he understands – and he does – that he won’t be a consistent starter. We have guys who have come in and done really well but that might change over the course of the season. We might have players out for a long period.”
Midfielder Morgaro Gomis is expected to return to the Hearts starting line-up against Cowdenbeath tonight after a two-match suspension. That will mean Robinson dropping out, although Neilson is also preparing to change the 4-2-3-1 formation he used at the weekend.
“I thought the three midfielders did well on Saturday but I’ll need to decide if Morgaro comes back in because I’m going to change the shape. We might not need the three,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hearts’ league match at Alloa on Saturday, January 21, will now kick off at 5.30pm and will be screened live by BBC Alba.