Nine new teenagers to swell Hearts ranks

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Hearts are adding another nine teenagers to their ranks by signing the next generation of Riccarton academy graduates.

Defenders Sean Ward, Josh Grigor, Dino Leddie and Cammy Logan, midfielders Scott McGill and Aaron Hickie, plus forward Leeroy Makovora all penned professional contracts at Tynecastle Park last night.

Back row, from left: Hearts youth coach Andy Kirk, Cameron Logan, Mackenzie Lawler, Dino Leddie, Josh Grigor and manager Craig Levein. Front, from left: Scott McGill, Aaron Hickey, Broadie Strang, Leeroy Makovora and Sean Ward. Pic: Scott Louden

Back row, from left: Hearts youth coach Andy Kirk, Cameron Logan, Mackenzie Lawler, Dino Leddie, Josh Grigor and manager Craig Levein. Front, from left: Scott McGill, Aaron Hickey, Broadie Strang, Leeroy Makovora and Sean Ward. Pic: Scott Louden

They will join the club’s youth squad for the new season. They are all 16 years old except Grigor, who is 16 in August. Another two players – left winger MacKenzie Lawler and midfielder Broadie Strang – will commit to professional terms when they turn 16 later this year.

A total of 15 teenagers played first-team football at Hearts last season, which was the highest number at any club in Europe. Now manager Craig Levein, who is also director of football, is keen to help nurture the next batch of emerging talent.

First, the new recruits will join Andy Kirk’s youth squad and compete for places in the Hearts reserve team.

“If you are a kid with ambition and wanting to move your career forward, being at Hearts means you can see a pathway to the first team. You see boys getting opportunities,” Kirk told the Evening News.

“Other clubs have loads of players and you’re maybe playing away but you don’t see how you’re going to progress.

“These boys have done well in our younger age-groups and now they’re getting their chance on professional contracts. It’s a great opportunity for them and we hope they can progress at Hearts and be inspired by some of the boys who got into the first-team last year.”

Teenagers Harry Cochrane, Alex Petkov, Marcus Godinho, Daniel Baur, Andy Irving, Anthony McDonald, Jamie Brandon, Lewis Moore, Rory Currie, Euan Henderson, Aidan Keena, Chris Hamilton and Connor Smith, plus Makovora and Logan, all played in the Hearts first team during last season.