Hearts captain Christophe Berra insisted today that striker Kyle Lafferty will be replaced if he joins Rangers.
The Ibrox club’s pursuit of Lafferty is ongoing but Berra is confident his team can cope without last season’s top goalscorer.
The Scotland centre-back is in no rush to see his team-mate leave after Hearts rejected a £200,000 offer from Rangers last week. Another bid is expected soon in an attempt to take Lafferty back to the club he served from 2008 to 2012.
Hearts want upwards of £750,000 for the 30-year-old, who is out of contract next summer. Should a transfer materialise, Berra stressed Lafferty will not be irreplaceable.
“He scored 19 goals in all competitions last year,” explained the defender. “That’s between Kyle and the owner, whether he goes or stays. It will be resolved I am sure – maybe soon or maybe in two or three weeks’ time.
“That’s football. I’ve been in the game long enough. If he does go, he will be replaced. People leave clubs and that gives an opportunity for someone to step in and be the next name.
“Kyle has scored his goals here and if he does get his move, good luck to him. That’s part and parcel of football. People come and go and we move on. We will always attract good players to Hearts.”
Recent signing Uche Ikpeazu has scored three goals in his past two games and is already a favourite amongst the Tynecastle support.
“It’s just down to us and now someone else can step up to the plate and take that opportunity. You saw on Sunday that big Uche did,” added Berra.
The skipper admitted sympathy with Lafferty’s predicament as he senses the chance to return to Ibrox, where his previous spell at Rangers ended abruptly six years ago.
“Yes I do. I was at Hearts first time and I got linked with moves, it is a factor,” said Berra. “It is difficult but you need to be a strong character. It will be difficult for Kyle, there is no lying there – everyone knows it. It is up to Kyle to be professional and turn up each day for training and give his all. If he does that, no-one can fault him.
“He just comes and plays football. I don’t think he takes life too seriously so I’m sure he’ll just get on with it. He will deal with it in his own way.”
Meanwhile, Hearts’ Betfred Cup last-16 tie against Dunfermline has been confirmed as a 3pm kick-off at East End Park on Saturday, August 18.