Hearts youngsters Connor Smith and Chris Hamilton leaving on loan
Dumbarton and Arbroath deals set to go through
Hearts teenagers Chris Hamilton and Connor Smith are preparing for loan moves to Dumbarton and Arbroath respectively.
The two clubs are close to finalising deals which would give both Riccarton academy graduates regular first-team game time this season.
They are on the fringes of Hearts manager Robbie Neilson’s squad at the moment but are viewed as players for the future.
Defender Hamilton, 19, is expected to join League One Dumbarton for the full season. Midfielder Smith, 18, will make a similar move to Championship side Arbroath.
Both have been involved in warm-up matches during Hearts’ pre-season and are now expected to benefit from frequent competitive action. All three of Scotland’s lower leagues are due to start on October 17.
Any player joining a part-time club on loan is still permitted to train with his parent club and play in development matches or friendlies.
However, Covid 19 regulations mean that they cannot re-enter the first-team squad’s biosecure bubble once they leave it.
That means Hamilton and Smith – and any other players Hearts loan out – must join in with John Rankin’s under-18 group when not training with their loan teams.
Hearts intend to send several young and fringe players out on loan over the coming weeks to make sure they do not stagnate at Riccarton.
Scotland’s reserve league has been scrapped for season 2020/21, with many youngsters facing the prospect of losing out on match practice if they cannot secure loan deals.
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