Former Celtic and Hearts star holds 'positive talks' over Premiership contract as ex-Jambo eyes new SPFL deal

Former Hearts and Celtic winger Gary Mackay-StevenFormer Hearts and Celtic winger Gary Mackay-Steven
Former Hearts and Celtic winger Gary Mackay-Steven | SNS Group
A roundup of the latest headlines following the closure of the 2023/24 Scottish Premiership season.

The 2023/24 season has now come to a close and players have some time ahead to recuperate while the clubs start to tackle business on the transfer market.

There’s a lot to unpack following the end of the Scottish Premiership season, so let’s dive into some of the latest transfer headlines to kick off a new week.

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Killie star has ‘positive’ new contract talks

Kilmarnock’s Gary Mackay-Steven has admitted he has held ‘positive talks’ with the club over penning a new deal and committing his future to Rugby Park. As things stand, the former Celtic, Dundee United and Hearts star’s contract is due to expire at the end of the month.

The 33-year-old has enjoyed a new lease of life at Killie after struggling with injuries that left him fearing he may have to call time on his career. Mackay-Steven suffered a broken foot and was unable to play for more than a year, resulting in him being released from Hearts last summer.

The winger was handed a lifeline by Killie boss Derek McInnes and worked his way back to fitness, earning his first start of the season in the final game and scoring in their 1-1 draw against Dundee for good measure.

“I have a great relationship with the manager. We've had positive talks and I'm sure we'll get something sorted in the next wee while,” Mackay-Steven said when asked about a potential new deal. “For now, I'm just happy to have played my part on the last day and be back feeling fit and having no issues.

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“The manager gave me a lifeline when I came in. I didn't know whether I could train again, play again, after a year out. I've slowly built myself up and I'm happy to be part of a squad that's doing well and a great changing-room. I can't thank the manager enough. Finishing fourth is a big achievement but it's no surprise. In training, day in, day out, everyone fights for each other.”

Motherwell star makes future admission

Another former Hearts star is pondering his future ahead of the summer. Sam Nicholson, who came through the ranks at Tynecastle, is back in Scotland after time in the MLS with Colorado Rapids. He has admitted that extending his stay beyond this season at Motherwell would be the ideal outcome for him and his family.

Edinburgh-born Nicholson says it would ‘settle’ him to return to his home soil permanently and while he enjoys his downtime following the 2023/24 season, he will be assessing his options.

“It’s something that we’ll talk about with the club,” he told Lanarkshire Live Sport. “I’ve stressed many times that if I’m here next season then brilliant. It’s something that’s getting explored, so we just need to wait and see.

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“I’m going to get away for some relaxing time and think over my options. But I’ve loved it. It’s my first time I’ve been on loan, the fans have been incredible, travelled in numbers to away games, and it’s a great dressing room.

“It would settle me in Scotland and that’s important to me as well. I’ve spoken with my wife about this, being abroad and taking the little one away from family should probably be done by about now, because the little man’s getting older and he’s going to start school, soon.”