Hearts announce loan deal until end of season

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19-year-old striker signs loan deal until end of the season

The Northern Irish striker Makenzie Kirk has signed a loan deal with Hamilton Accies until the end of the season. Son of the former international footballer Andy Kirk, Makenzie is a product of the Hearts academy and first signed a professional contract with the Jambos in September 2020.

His debut in the Scottish Premiership came in April 2022 when he appeared as a second half substitute for the Jambos in a 1-1 away draw against Ross County. Kirk has also won four international caps for Northern Ireland's U-19 squad but is yet to score his first goal for his county.

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The 19-year-old striker signed a new contract with the club in May 2023 and has racked up a phenomenal scoring record in the Lowland Football League for the Hearts Reserve team. Kirk has scored 34 goals in 39 games overall, including 17 goals in his first 13 games of the 2023-24 season.

Makenzie Kirk in action for Hearts in Ross CountyMakenzie Kirk in action for Hearts in Ross County
Makenzie Kirk in action for Hearts in Ross County

Described by former Hearts manager Robbie Neilson as a 'natural finisher', Kirk will now head to the League One side Hamilton Accies to build up his experience before rejoining Tynecastle in the summer. Accies currently sit second in their league having been relegated from the Championship at the end of last season.

Their manager, ex-Hibs midfielder and former Hearts youth coach John Rankin, joined the side in June 2022 and has overseen the side secure 12 wins and just two losses from their first 19 games.

Speaking on the new signing, Kirk told Accies that teaming up with his former youth coach was a key reason for making the jump to the Hamilton side. On their social media page, Kirk said: "I’ve worked with Ranks before and when I was at Hearts, Ranks took me for the first couple of years through 18s. I know what he’s like as a coach and I think that just made the decision for me easier.

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"I think I will develop here as a player. I think from where I was playing at previously in the Lowland League, it’s a higher level obviously and the players are going to be quicker, faster, stronger so it’s only going to make me a better player.

"It’s about continuing what I’m doing and developing myself as a player, doing what I’m good at and that’s scoring goals and being in and around the box, putting the ball in the back of the net so that’s what I want to do."

The young striker was also quick to praise his former boss, citing Liam Fox's efforts as detrimental to Kirk's current successes.

"I really enjoyed working under Foxy at the B team", Kirk said. "He’s done a lot for me, he was very supportive of me as a player and the group, all the staff and all the players. I can’t say a bad word about him and I really enjoyed my time there but am looking forward to the challenge ahead."

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