Hearts will keep faith with goalkeeper Jack Hamilton against Motherwell despite completing the signing of Jon McLaughlin yesterday.
The former Burton Albion No.1 joined on a one-year deal but was warned he must fight in order to oust in-form Hamilton from the team.
Interim head coach Jon Daly has held discussions with Hamilton about 29-year-old McLaughlin’s arrival. He is keen to reassure the Scotland squad keeper that he still has a future at Tynecastle.
Hamilton, 23, has kept clean sheets in his past two matches as Hearts beat Kilmarnock 1-0 and secured a goalless draw against Rangers. He is certain to remain in place for this afternoon’s Ladbrokes Premiership match at Fir Park, with McLaughlin expected to be on the substitutes’ bench.
McLaughlin has been told he must compete with Hamilton and third-choice Viktor Noring for the goalkeeping position. “Jack has been the man between the sticks. He’s been the No.1 and from my point of view he’s done really, really well,” stressed Daly.
“Jack has kept two clean sheets in the last two games so Jon understands he has come here to compete with Jack and Viktor Noring. I think he’s aware he’s not just going to walk straight into the team.
“He’s going to have to fight his way in, as any other new player would have to do. Jack’s performances have improved over the last couple of weeks, which is great for Jack and great for us.”
Daly added that he has discussed with Hamilton the need to minimise errors after the goalkeeper suffered criticism from fans: “We’ve already spoke to him about it. He’s aware of the situation. Jack is a goalkeeper we rate very highly.
“He’s a young, Scottish goalkeeper who has been in the No.1 position for a while now. It’s a position unlike any other on the park because, if you’re the keeper and you make an error, it generally leads to a goal. When you’re a young boy playing in a first team, whether you’re a keeper or an outfield player, you will make the odd mistake. He knows he needs to limit those mistakes. He needs to be more consistent and I think we’ve seen that from him over the last couple of games.”