Gary Mackay: Mihai Popescu and Andy Halliday are excellent signings by Hearts

Club’s recruitment now looks more diligent
Former St Mirren defender Mihai Popescu is now at Hearts.Former St Mirren defender Mihai Popescu is now at Hearts.
Former St Mirren defender Mihai Popescu is now at Hearts.

Like a lot of Hearts supporters, I’m really enthused by the signings of Mihai Popescu and Andy Halliday. I think they give us real quality in two key areas and they are the types of players Hearts fans will like.

They both know the Scottish game and that is a massive plus. Popescu impressed a lot of people at St Mirren and stood out in their team. With our injuries at centre-half, his signing is a no-brainer.

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Halliday is a good age at 28, he is naturally left-sided and comes across as a good professional. We will need that for the season ahead.

I’m really looking forward to seeing them both play because their CVs look ideal for Hearts in the Championship, that’s for sure. I’m also happy that they’ve been given two-year deals – a sensible contract length which should also keep them hungry.

It looks like we are being a bit more patient and diligent with our recruitment now rather than giving big salaries out willy-nilly. That is a move to be welcomed, as is the moves to get some players off our wage bill.

Robbie will have ideas on who he wants to play in his system but there were also some players on salaries Hearts simply couldn’t afford to keep paying in the Championship.

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No disrespect to players, but it was always going to be a club’s market this year. So many footballers were going to be on the periphery at different clubs because of the financial restraints brought by coronavirus.

The knowledge of Robbie Neilson and Jim Jefferies is a big help getting players in at decent value, which is something Hearts should always look to do because fans’ money should always be used wisely.

My only criticism of late, and it is a minor one, is about putting out a picture of the five academy players who signed professional contracts.

I know the club want to promote the fact that youngsters are coming through the system into the senior set-up, but I just wonder if it raises expectations too early.

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I hope that picture is the first of many in a Hearts kit, which will require the boys to continue to demand the highest standards from themselves going forward.

Some of the new signings should be able to set the perfect example in that regard. You can’t get too carried away but there is no doubt we now have a solid squad in place.

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Why Andy Halliday is a shrewd Hearts signing

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