Interest from both Rangers and Hearts in Kris Boyd is no surprise given his 20 goals in 34 games for Kilmarnock this season.
He is a proven goalscorer with international experience and out of contract in a few weeks. Suitors will be aplenty.
Hearts know from bitter experience the torment he can cause. In three appearances against the Edinburgh club this term, Boyd has lashed six of Kilmarnock’s ten goals past Jamie MacDonald. He arrives at Tynecastle on Sunday doubtless eager to improve that record and show why he is in such demand.
The 30-year-old left Rangers for Middlesbrough in 2010 but remains an iconic figure amongst the Ibrox support. He is coveted by manager Ally McCoist, who knows Boyd having coached him during that first spell in Glasgow. However, McCoist has declared a fear that he could lose out on the player due to Rangers’ financial uncertainty.
Gary Locke, the Hearts manager, played beside Boyd during the latter’s first stint at Kilmarnock between 2000 and 2006. His scoring ratio against the Tynecastle side this season merely illustrates he has lost none of his predatory instinct.
With both Rangers and Hearts set to compete in the Championship next term, Boyd is the kind of signing who could transform promotion hopes into reality.
“Somebody with his experience and goalscoring record can make all the difference,” said Dave McPherson, who enjoyed success both in a maroon and blue shirt during his playing days as a centre-back. “Hearts have done well recently but they have lacked a regular goalscorer and Boyd fits the bill.
“He’s been around the game and he knows what he’s doing, plus he can help young players. He could be the difference between success and failure next season, absolutely. He’s got the experience and he knows how to bring other players into the game. From a Hearts perspective, that’s what they’ve possibly been lacking. They’ve needed someone to hold the play up and bring others into it, the sort of guy people can run off of into channels. Boyd certainly fits the target profile Hearts would be looking for, especially since they’ll be playing in the Championship.
“It’s a hard one. I think it will be a dilemma for him when it comes down to making a decision on which club he will actually join. It’s not just Rangers and Hearts. I suspect there will be other clubs interested as well. There will be teams from down south and maybe even abroad as well. He might want to spend a year overseas and then come back.
“If you keep yourself fit these days, there’s no reason why you can’t play until you’re 40 or beyond that. Boyd is a player who doesn’t do a great deal of running about. What he does is use his body very well and brings other people into the game. I think there will be a few offers on the table for him.
“It’s a difficult one to choose between Rangers and Hearts because they are both top clubs. I don’t think money will make a great difference to him. That’s maybe where the option of going abroad might come in.
“Towards the end of my playing career, I had a year in Australia and Boyd could decide to do something similar to see what it’s like. It’s a better climate and easier living. I don’t expect money will be a factor for him, it will be more about lifestyle.”
Boyd would find the lure of Rangers, the club he has supported since childhood, hard to resist. He is from the west of Scotland and acutely understands the Ibrox club and its supporters. He has enhanced his qualities playing abroad in Turkey and America and could now be regarded as a role model for younger players.
“He’s a proven goalscorer at international level and he’s shown, at every club he’s been at, that he’s a deadly player inside the penalty box,” continued McPherson.
“He holds the ball up well, he leads the line well, he’s good in the air and he’s a good size. I think he’s one of these players who will interest a lot of clubs.
“It would be a massive lift for youngsters at any club if he arrived and I think that’s something Hearts have missed this year – someone with that all-round experience up front.
“I’m all for putting as many young boys into the team as possible, but they certainly need a good deal of experience around them to get the best out of them. Boyd has plenty in his locker and younger players would definitely learn from him.”