KEVIN KYLE is adamant he will play football again despite severing ties with Hearts after 14 months of injury torture. The 30-year-old striker insisted he would happily sign a pay-as-you-play contract to return to Tynecastle this summer.
Hearts have agreed to terminate Kyle’s contract three months early to enable him to continue rehabilitating from his hip injury with physiotherapist Alex MacQueen, who treated him at former club Kilmarnock.
However, Kyle has been offered the chance to do pre-season training with the Edinburgh club and is hopeful he could secure a contract the reafter, even on a pay-as-you-play basis. He last played for Hearts in January 2011.
“I’m totally confident I’ll play again,” he said. “My recent surgery went better than expected. The surgeon was really happy and I came off the crutches last week. I feel as if I could go for a run now.
“I’ve got to take my time but I’m very optimistic. I explained the situation to Paulo Sergio and he was happy with the plan. He said when I was fit and back running and training he would be more than happy for me to return to Hearts and do pre-season.
“It’s been a long process but I do see light at the end of the tunnel. The most frustrating thing has not been knowing when I’d be back. I went to a surgeon called Damien Griffiths. When we spoke he was due to fly out to a conference in Australia.
“So he took my file with him and he consulted with the best hip docs in the world.
“They all agreed that the way he wanted to treat me, which involved shaving some of my bone, was the best way to go. So a month ago I underwent the op and things have gone really well since then. I spent three weeks on crutches but now I am walking normally without even a limp. If it doesn’t happen it’s not the end of the world. I’m already looking into the coaching side of things because I’d like to give something back.
“I feel I have plenty to give. But ideally I’ll get back playing first and then see.
“The way I play is suited to Scottish football. I think I can still be a good addition to any team but only if I am 100 per cent fit. So if someone wanted to offer me a pay-as-you-play deal I’d have no problem with that. But first I have to get myself where I need to be.
“The idea is I’ll be running about like a madman the way I used to when pre-season comes around. And then if Hearts want me to go back there I would be delighted to do so.”
Kyle admitted he would consider any option open to him if he ends up seeking a new club this summer. Hibs, though, is out of bounds. “I’ve told Billy Brown at Hibs not to phone me. I couldn’t do that to the Hearts supporters.”
Meanwhile, Hearts’ Scottish Cup semi-final replay against St Mirren is to be broadcast live by Sky Sports on Wednesday, March 21 (kick-off 7.45pm).
• SUNDAY’S Edinburgh derby is to be refereed by Craig Thomson.