Jordan McGhee is back at Hearts facing an uncertain future after Middlesbrough decided against signing him.
The defender spent the season on loan at the Riverside Stadium but club officials will not take up their option to sign him permanently for a pre-agreed fee of £300,000.
He is therefore obliged to return to parent club Hearts, where his contract runs until January next year. However, it remains to be seen if 20-year-old McGhee will be in the plans of Tynecastle head coach Ian Cathro.
With John Souttar and Aaron Hughes already signed for next season, and with the Edinburgh club favourites for Christophe Berra's signature, opportunities in McGhee's favoured centre-back role would likely be limited.
The player spent this season playing regularly for Middlesbrough Under-23 side in England's Development League and remains a mainstay of the Scotland Under-21 squad.
Middlesbrough's defeat against Chelsea on Monday night confirmed their relegation to the Championship for next season. McGhee's fate had already been decided by then as the loan agreement with Hearts stipulated a £300,000 fee to make his move permanent.