Peter Haring is close to extending his Hearts contract having become a cornerstone of the club’s midfield.
The towering Austrian explained that he wants to remain part of the long-term project taking place at Tynecastle Park because he feels at home there and senses something special being built.
Hearts signed him last summer from the Austrian second division club SV Ried on a two-year deal. So impressive have Haring’s performances been since moving from centre-back to midfield last July that the Edinburgh club want to secure his services for several seasons to come.
“I spoke to the gaffer a couple of weeks ago and they have been talking with my agent also,” said Haring. “We have had some days off so I haven’t spoken to him about it for a couple of weeks but we will do that again soon and we will see. The talks were good and we are close. We will see what happens in the next few days but I am pretty confident that we can come to an arrangement.
“I felt quite at home here pretty quickly. It is a lovely city and the club did everything possible to make us new players feel confident and to enjoy our time here. The most important thing when you move is how you do at your club and that went well. I felt happy here pretty quickly.”
Haring was one of 18 signings last year as Hearts overhauled their first-team squad. He immediately established himself as an influential player and his popularity among supporters grew. He admitted surprise at becoming such a central figure so quickly.
“Yeah, definitely. When I came here in the summer I was just happy for every minute I had on the pitch. I really enjoyed it from the first game on,” said the 25-year-old. “The gaffer and the coaching staff have given me the chance to show what I can do but it has also been hard work for me, to come here and show them that I can perform. I am really happy that they have given me the chance and that I could give them something back and that things have worked out so well.”
Other pivotal players like Christophe Berra, John Souttar, Michael Smith and Uche Ikpeazu have agreed contract extensions this year at Hearts.
“I think what the club is trying to do is keep the important players for a long time,” said Haring. “When you stay together as a group for a longer time then, of course, that can improve your performances. When you know each other even better then you can play even better and just reach your goals. I think that is what we are trying to do here.”
Tynecastle officials are edging gradually closer towards an agreement with on-loan striker Steven Naismith which would see him sign a permanent deal to stay in Gorgie. Midfielder Arnaud Djoum, out of contract in a few weeks, has so far resisted Hearts’ advances.
“We all know how important these two players are for us,” remarked Haring. “There is a reason why they play every game for us and always start, always perform. It is because they are good players. So, yeah, it would be important for us as a team to keep them at Hearts. But, it is their option. If they want to stay here then they know what they have at this club and it is on them if they want to stay. For us as a team and for Hearts as a club, it would be very important.”
The international break came at a useful time in the season for Haring and he is now ready to resume action at home to Aberdeen this afternoon. Surgery on a double hernia at New Year sidelined him for two months, and since returning he has played in every game. A two-week rest was vital ahead of fixtures against Aberdeen, Rangers, Hibs and then the Scottish Cup semi-final with Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
“For me it has been good. I came back from injury and played lots of games so the break came at the right moment. I had some nice days off to recover well and now we are all back fully focused, full of energy and ready to turn this thing around. I’m looking forward to it. There are a lot of big games waiting for us and I am really looking forward to trying to enjoy it as well.
“We have to do better than we did in the last couple of weeks but I am pretty confident because I know we can do better. Previously we have already done much better than we did in the last couple of games and I think we have performed quite well in the bigger games, especially earlier in the season. So I am really looking forward to today, first of all. It is the first of the big games and it is really, really important to us.”
Despite being foreigner relatively new to Scottish football, he fully understands the rivalry between Hearts and Aberdeen. “They are two big clubs. Both want to be in Europe next season and both clubs want to be the third power in Scotland after Celtic and Rangers. So, yeah, we all know it is a big game and we are looking forward to it and wanting to beat them. We have played them twice so we know what to expect.”