Michael McGovern names two players who helped sell him on move to Hearts

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Michael McGovern says the opportunity to join one of Scottish football’s biggest clubs was too good to turn down after the Northern Ireland international signed for Hearts.

The 39-year-old put pen to paper on a one-year deal with the option of another after becoming a free agent following his exit from Norwich City.

He is someone really familiar to the management team of head coach Frankie McAvoy and technical director Steven Naismith, along with sporting director Joe Savage, all of whom he knew from his time in Norfolk. He also worked with McAvoy and Savage at Hamilton Accies, his last Scottish club following stints at Falkirk, Ross County, Dundee United, Stranraer, St Johnstone and Celtic prior to moving down south.

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McGovern has revealed chats with fellow countrymen Liam Boyce and Aaron Hughes helped sell him on the idea, though he didn’t need much convincing.

Michael McGovern during his days with Hamilton Accies, his last club in Scotland following to moving south. Picture: SNSMichael McGovern during his days with Hamilton Accies, his last club in Scotland following to moving south. Picture: SNS
Michael McGovern during his days with Hamilton Accies, his last club in Scotland following to moving south. Picture: SNS

“I’m delighted. Hearts are a massive club, I’m excited to be here and looking forward to getting started,” he told Hearts TV.

“It’s pleasing to be back because I loved my time in Scottish football. I loved the passion that the fans have and I’m looking forward to getting back into it, being in front of crowds and enjoying the atmosphere.

“I played with Naisy at Norwich and worked with both Frankie and Joe at Hamilton and Norwich. There are a lot of familiar faces and once the opportunity to come here came about, I was desperate to be a part of it.

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“I want to be involved at a big club in Scotland. Hearts are among the biggest and it’s not something I could turn down. I spoke to Boycie the other day and had a chat with Aaron Hughes, who I still speak to now and again. They spoke really highly of the club. Hopefully I can contribute and be one of those players people speak about in the future.”

With Zander Clark positioned as the club’s No.1 going into the campaign and club captain Craig Gordon expected to return before the end of the year there is plenty of competition for places, but McGovern insists he’s not signed purely to be an experienced back-up.

“It’s a really good group. Craig’s making his way back from injury, and he did really well last season – playing fantastically. I’ll be pushing them both, trying to get into the team, because I’m wanting to play,” he said. “Even if I’m not, I want to be supporting whoever is playing and trying to be a positive member of the group. That’s the way I do things.”

“I’m really excited by the European challenge and looking forward to seeing who we get in the draw.

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“It’ll be great to be part of a team that’s in Europe – hopefully we can get through and take part in the group stages. It’s exciting times and I’m looking forward to it.

“Tynecastle has one of the best atmospheres in the whole country, if not the best. I’ve been to Tynecastle as a supporter, as a player, and it’s unbelievable when it’s rocking.

"A number of people I’ve spoken to down south have talked about how good the Hearts support is. Hopefully we can get some success, get the fans cheering, and make everybody happy.”

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