Gary Oliver: I couldn’t stay and sit on Hearts bench

Gary Oliver feels it will be difficult for young players to break into the Hearts team
Gary Oliver feels it will be difficult for young players to break into the Hearts team
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GARY OLIVER revealed today that leaving Hearts was a career choice designed to get him playing regular football.

After joining Queen of the South last week, the 20-year-old forward admitted he simply didn’t want to sit on the bench at Tynecastle any longer. Oliver, pictured, praised the the Edinburgh club for letting him go but explained that other academy graduates may find it equally tough breaking into the senior team. Experienced summer signings like Juanma Delgado and Juwon Oshaniwa helped Hearts start the season in scintillating form, although Oliver was one of several youngsters left frustrated as a result.

He took the decision to join Queens on transfer deadline day and signed a contract until the end of the season. He is desperate to play regularly in the Championship and fulfil his potential as a goalscorer.

“I felt it was better for my development to have a fresh start,” he said, speaking exclusively to the Evening News. “It’s very hard to play in that Hearts team. I don’t think a lot of young boys will play in that team, it’s so hard to get in. I thought it was just better to get out there and start again.

“Robbie Neilson has done a great job there so it’s very hard for anybody to get into the squad. As a young player, you need to go out on loan and go here or there but it’s so hard to break through into the first team.

“Sam Nicholson and Callum Paterson did it a few years ago under Gary Locke. They got their chance and they shone. I don’t think I was developed enough to play back then but they were and they’ve done well. I loved every minute I was at Hearts. I just thought it was time to move on and look after myself. I need to play games and that’s what I want to do every week – play football. It was brilliant that they let me go and didn’t stand in my way. They said they were happy to keep me if I wanted to be on the bench and come on for the last five minutes. As I said, I want to play week in week out.”

• POLICE SCOTLAND are warning fans of likely traffic delays tomorrow ahead of Hearts’ Ladbrokes Premiership match against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

A Police Scotland statement said: “Police would advise motorists to expect delays on the approaches to the A9 Kessock Bridge roundabout and in the vicinity of Longman Road nearby to the stadium between 6.30pm and 7.45pm.

“Those travelling to the game are advised to set off early and allow plenty of time for the journey.”