Connor Smith agrees new Hearts contract with first-team carrot

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Hearts have agreed terms to extend midfielder Connor Smith’s contract into next season and beyond.

Talks between the 20-year-old’s representatives and the club progressed and should conclude with him putting pen to paper soon. He will then get the chance to challenge for a place in the Riccarton first-team squad this summer.

Smith enjoyed a productive spell on loan at Queen’s Park during the season just ended. He helped the League One side achieve promotion to the Scottish Championship, scoring in the play-off final win against Airdrie.

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He also earned international recognition with a maiden call-up to the Scotland Under-21 squad followed by a debut against Turkey at Tynecastle Park back in March.

Hearts coaching staff monitored his progress closely and will now assess him first-hand during the pre-season campaign.

“The deal is agreed. It's just a case of getting a few wee bits and bobs tidied up now,” manager Robbie Neilson told the Evening News. “Connor did pretty well at Queen's Park last season. I still think he might need another loan at a higher level again but he will come back in with the first-team squad for pre-season.

“He can do some training and we will see where he is before we make a decision. He's got ability, that's for sure. It's just putting it all together.

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“There will definitely be spaces to fill in the squad, especially at the beginning of the campaign. We will have pre-season games and then we kick into European games so there is more than likely going to be a spot for him.”