Craig Levein explains why Jake Mulraney deserved a new Hearts contract
Craig Levein is excited by the progress Jake Mulraney is making at Hearts after rewarding the on-form winger with a new three-year contract.
The 23-year-old Irishman this week signed a deal until 2022 after emerging as one of the team’s main attacking threats in the second half of last season. Mulraney had a difficult start to his Hearts career following his arrival from Inverness Caledonian last summer, but he now appears to be full of belief after adapting his game slightly to become more effective.
“Jake was good in the second half of last season and his pre-season work has been excellent so I feel he deserves the new contract,” Levein told the Evening News. “He’s getting more confident and he’s a good kid who wants to do well. He’s got so many really good attributes. It’s just been about him changing his focus and realising what’s really important in the position he plays - that’s assists and goals. I’m really pleased with his efforts and the way he’s progressing.”
Mulraney underlined his quality with a brilliant delivery from the left to set up Craig Halkett’s winner against Stenhousemuir on Wednesday. Levein believes he has now grown into life as a Hearts player. “Confidence is not something you can measure - it can only be seen on the field and in training,” said the manager. “Jake copes better at Tynecastle than he did last year - he feels better in his skin. Sometimes when people come to a new club, it takes time to settle and it doesn’t feel comfortable. But I think gradually as Jake’s played better, he’s started to feel that he belongs here and has the ability to do this, and hopefully more.”