Gary Mackay-Steven signing shows Hearts 'mean business' says new sporting director Joe Savage
The winger signed a two-and-a-half year deal having been a free agent since he left New York City following a spell in the MLS.
Mackay-Steven fits the bill for manager Robbie Neilson who identified the need for pace and width in the team early on in discussions with Savage, who took up his post at Tynecastle earlier this week.
He said: “With Gary, I spoke with Robbie when I first came in and he had identified two positions he felt were key for the January window.
“A winger was one of them and we both brought up the idea of contacting Gary’s representative to see what the situation was there.
“In terms of Gary as a player we feel that first and foremost, he has an excellent pedigree, you look at his CV and it’s excellent.
“He fits the profile of what Robbie wanted from a winger, he is quick, he is direct, he can create goals and score goals.
“So we are delighted to get it done.”
‘Top four player’
Mackay-Steven arrives having won three Scottish Premiership titles, played in Europe and earned two Scotland caps, plus an abundance of top-flight experience.
For Savage, to be able to convince a player of his level to drop down to the Championship says a lot about the club and its ambition.
“With recruitment you want good players, any manager will tell you they want good players in their team,” he said.
“We feel Gary Mackay-Steven is an excellent player. We can show we mean business with that calibre of player.
“Look at the level he has played at, he has won the Scottish Premier League. In our opinion he is a top four Premiership player.
“So for us to get him to the Championship I think shows you the size of this club, the stature, Robbie as a manager, how we operate. I think it’s a good statement from us.
“The proof will be in the pudding. Hopefully he produces and does what we expect him to do.”