Hearts are in talks to bring Angolan international midfielder Joaquim Adao to Tynecastle on loan from the Swiss club FC Sion. The 25-year-old will move to Scotland until the end of the season if the clubs reach agreement before Wednesday night’s transfer deadline.
Some financial details of the deal have still to be agreed but Hearts are hopeful that the paperwork will be completed in time. Adao has 11 caps for Angola despite being born in Fribourg, Switzerland. He is a strong defensive midfielder known for his combative streak and passing ability.
Hearts manager Craig Levein wants to recruit a striker in addition to Adao before the window closes. Tynecastle officials will be working throughout the day hoping to source the necessary candidates.
Levein watched his team lose 3-1 to Celtic in Glasgow last night but was encouraged by their second-half display after being 3-0 down at the interval. Odsonne Edouard, Dedryck Boyata and Moussa Dembele scored for Celtic before Kyle Lafferty reduced the deficit midway through the second period.
“We’re disappointed to lose the match,” said Levein. “We had a game plan to go after them and press them like we did at Tynecastle, and then we lose the goal within five minutes or so.
“What pleased me was that we stuck at it. Celtic had opportunities in the first half but they were because of the way we played. We played our players high and went man-for-man at times. You’re hoping that they don’t score and they seemed to score with every chance in that first half.
“Half-time was interesting. The question was whether we went with damage limitation or tried to do the same thing. We had a go in the second half again as well.
“I’ve been here as a player myself, been 2-0 down and gone on to lose by six. What was good for me was that we did well in the second half. We got a goal and didn’t lose anymore. It gives me some heart that we can come back here and do a similar thing next time we’re here.
“I made the decision that we’d go chase Celtic and get after them and try to press them high. The players tried to follow what I’d asked them to do. I said after we won the last game at Tynecastle that things have to go our way. We need goals at the right time.
“As much as goals at the right time in the last match helped our confidence, this time they dented our confidence. But I was really pleased with the second half.
“I asked the players the question: ‘Do you want to go again? Or do you want to shut up shop?’ And they were determined to have a go again. It doesn’t mean a lot but we won the second half. A small consolation for a manager who feels rubbish.”
Hearts teenage midfielder Harry Cochrane was substituted with a neck injury before the interval. “The neck is a worrying thing,” said Levein. “We were late out for the second half because the doctors were all in the dressing room. We have to try and find out what’s happened.
“I don’t want to be over the top because I don’t know, but it was his neck that was bothering him. He was in one of those back board things.”
Brendan Rodgers, the Celtic manager, said: “It was a very good team performance. The intensity in our game was there. You have to match the aggression of Hearts, Craig has them well organised, they have pace on the counter attack and a physical side. We dealt with that well. My only disappointment is we didn’t score more goals.”