HEARTS have questioned David Templeton’s attitude as they defended their decision to sell the winger to Rangers.
The 23-year-old signed for the Ibrox club late on Friday night – 24 hours after scoring for Hearts in their 1-1 Europa League draw against Liverpool at Anfield.
In a lengthy statement on their official website, a Hearts spokesperson said: “We need to admit we are not completely satisfied with the offer but it was the best available offer and other clubs were just waiting to get Templeton for free in January.
“We had lengthy negotiations and Rangers improved their offer several times until finally we agreed terms. Templeton was desperate to leave Hearts for any club offering big money and his contract was running out in May 2013.
“We did not want to sell him but there was no reason to keep him as his mind and heart was [sic] not with Hearts and in January he could sign a pre-contract and walk for free in [the] summer.
“Rangers were the only club where this option was not available due to a transfer ban, so they offered money for Templeton. All other clubs were
sitting in the bushes to take him free in January.”
The club said they had made a “huge effort” to extend Templeton’s contract over the last 12 months.
“He has rejected every one of our offers completely, regardless of terms,” the statement added. “After last January he switched off completely after the club rejected a laughable offer from a minor Championship club.
“Paulo Sergio had many issues with the player’s attitude and did not include him for the Scottish Cup final squad for the lack of focus and determination.
“We believe the decision of the club was right in the circumstance and has brought money to the club where Templeton was a big risk to keep in both football and financial terms.”
The club failed to mention that Templeton was suffering from a serious groin injury for much of last season, a problem which required a double hernia operation in May.
It is also understood that the winger feared being frozen out of the Hearts first team if he rejected the move to Rangers. Goalkeeper Marian Kello never played for Hearts again after he turned down the chance to join Austria Vienna in the January transfer window.
Hearts, meanwhile, praised Ryan McGowan for rejecting a move to Ibrox and expressed hope he will sign a new contract like Callum Paterson, who signed a three-year deal last night, and was also the subject of interest from Rangers, according to the Gorgie club.
“Ryan McGowan’s story is different. The player has declared he wants to stay at Hearts,” the statement read. “We praise his decision. We hope he will show his commitment by putting pen to paper to sign a new deal with the club in the next couple of days in evidence of his declarations.
“Callum Paterson is the example of commitment and a true Jambo. Despite active interest from Rangers, the boy immediately committed to a new deal the club offered him in an effort to keep best young talent at the club.”