Hearts management send message to players over new contracts

Hearts players must prove they deserve to stay at Tynecastle Park before the club will begin talks over new contracts.

Saturday, 25th September 2021, 7:00 am
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson with coaches Gordon Forrest, Steven Naismith and Lee McCulloch.

Manager Robbie Neilson and sporting director Joe Savage will spend the next few weeks assessing who merits an extension as the team continues settling back into Scottish Premiership.

They want on-field performances to justify any terms offered, with 12 members of the first-team squad on contracts which are due to expire at the end of the season. Those include captain Craig Gordon, centre-back John Souttar, full-back Michael Smith and midfielder Peter Haring.

Talks with Souttar commenced last month but the others will need to wait. Neilson told the Evening News that anyone wanting a new deal at Hearts must show the required appetite between now and the end of the year.

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“Any talks will probably be nearer the [January] transfer window. It’s still very early in the season,” he said. “We need to see where we are and then project where we are going to be before we start looking too far ahead.

“Joe and I are already speaking about where we are but it’s early just now. I also think it’s good to have boys concentrating on football and earning a contract. That’s really important.

“This club has aspirations about where we want to be and we’d like to think there are players here who can take us there. If they can do that, then they will stay with us.

“There’s got to be that fire to earn a contract. We don’t want to have a couple of good games in the top flight and then we’re handing out three-year deals. Players need to consistently show they can do it at this level and get the club to where they want to get to.”

Hearts’ ambitions for this season are to secure a top-six place in the Premiership before the split and then try to push for European qualification if possible. They are currently unbeaten after six league games ahead of today’s meeting with Livingston at Tynecastle.

Club officials also want to progress in the Scottish Cup having reached the final in two of the last three years.

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