Loic Damour to get Hearts first-team chance after impressing in pre-season
Hearts are offering Loic Damour the chance to resurrect his Tynecastle career and reclaim a first-team place after 15 months in the wilderness.
The Frenchman’s fitness, attitude and form so far in pre-season have impressed Riccarton coaches as he fights to cement a spot in the squad for the new campaign.
His appearance in last week’s friendly at Linlithgow Rose was his first since Robbie Neilson returned as Hearts manager last summer. It was also the first time he had donned a maroon shirt since the Covid shutdown in March 2020.
Damour, 30, followed up by scoring in Tuesday night’s 7-0 win at Spartans. He looked hungry to stamp his authority in midfield and further endear himself to the management team.
He remains one of the highest earners at Tynecastle Park and is now being given the chance to justify that salary after a full season spent out of favour and training with reserve players. His contract runs until summer 2023.
Hearts begin competitive matches a week on Saturday when they visit Peterhead in the Premier Sports Cup. Their Scottish Premiership campaign starts at home to Celtic at the end of the month. Damour is pushing to be involved and will get every opportunity to stake his claim.
“I think Loic has done well,” Neilson told the Evening News. “He went away and worked really hard over the summer. He didn’t get the game time he wanted last year but he’s a Hearts player. He has come back in good condition and has been working hard.
“We have used these friendly games to get the whole squad involved and I thought Loic did well. Of course he’s got a chance. Everyone has a chance.
“If you come back and do well over the summer, whether you’re a 36-year-old international or a 17-year-old kid, if you do it in pre-season and you get yourself in there, then you will stay in the team.
“I think a lot of the players look hungry. Moving up into the Premiership is a big step and everyone knows they need to be ready. Everyone wants to play in those first games.”