Brad McKay will today sign a pre-contract agreement with St Johnstone to secure a summer move to McDiarmid Park.
The Hearts defender is out of contract at the end of the season and has been told he will not be offered a new deal at Tynecastle. He has agreed personal terms and passed a medical for the switch to Perth, which will end his five-year association with the club he has supported since childhood.
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright sees the 21-year-old as a potential mainstay in his side next year.
Wright is keen to recruit younger players and believes McKay can establish himself in the Scottish Premiership. The player is moving in search of regular first-team football after managing just nine appearances for Hearts this season.
“I have to try and bring in younger players longer term,” said Wright. “We have a really good experienced squad with some good younger lads. But I think slowly we have to look at the age of the squad. Brad is only 21 and that is one of the reasons we are looking at him.
“He has been told he can leave Hearts. The position is that he can’t be guaranteed more playing time and they have said they won’t stand in his way if he can find another club. He has played over 40 games for Hearts, a lot of them last season. He can play centre-back or right-back. He is certainly of interest to us and we are hoping to get something tied up.”
McKay joined Hearts aged 17 in 2010 from Edinburgh City and played regularly last season as the club were relegated from Scotland’s top flight.
He became a bit-part player this year following the arrival of the Turkish centre-back Alim Ozturk. Consequently, McKay has spent most of the season on the substitutes’ bench and will hope that St Johnstone can offer him more game time.
Meanwhile, Hearts Under-20s suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat against Rangers yesterday afternoon. The match was switched from a 6pm kick-off at Dumbarton to a 2pm start at Murray Park.
Rangers ran into a 4-1 lead before half-time despite falling behind to a McKay penalty. Goals by David Templeton, Marius Zaliukas, a Tom Walsh penalty and a Ryan Hardie effort put the Glasgow club comfortably ahead, although Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton did save a penalty.
Walsh added Rangers’ fifth goal after the interval.