Hearts keen to sign a new defender

Robbie Neilson directs operations at Ibrox
Robbie Neilson directs operations at Ibrox
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Hearts are in the market for a ninth summer signing to provide cover following Callum Paterson’s knee injury. The Gorgie club hope to bring in a new defender before Scotland’s summer transfer window closes on Monday, September 1.

Paterson is out for two months after damaging his knee against Annan Athletic two weeks ago and Robbie Neilson, the Hearts head coach, wants to sign a deputy for his first-choice right-back. Neilson has already brought Neil Alexander, Scott Gallacher, Alim Ozturk, Morgaro Gomis, Prince Buaben, James Keatings, Osman Sow and Soufian El Hassnaoui to Tynecastle since he replaced Gary Locke in the hot seat three months ago.

Jordan McGhee and Brad McKay both filled the right-back position during Hearts’ season-opening win over Rangers on Sunday, but Neilson is scouring the country for a ninth new recruit.

Loan deals will remain an option even after the transfer window closes. Hearts are not a top-flight club this season and can therefore utilise the emergency loan system for teams outwith the Scottish Premiership at any time. However, Neilson told the Evening News today that he would prefer to sign any new player on a permanent contract.

“I’d like to try and get somebody in defensively just to give us more numbers in that department,” he said. “Obviously, Callum is out and we’re a wee bit short so we’re going to need somebody just to tide us over for a bit.

“If something comes up and I think it would add to our squad, then I’ll go and have a look. The loan market is there at the moment for us, so there is still that possibility. If we need to bring someone in, then we will. I’m always on the lookout for players being made available.

“I’ve got Brad McKay and Jordan McGhee who can play right full-back but we do need cover at the back. I’m happy with the squad to be honest.

“If we don’t get anybody in then I’m not too bothered, but it’s always important that we keep trying to improve.

“I’d prefer a permanent deal if I could get it. That gets the player into the club and we can work with him from there, but if it’s going to be a loan, fair enough.”