Partick Thistle sign Hearts defender Lewis Neilson on loan but Tynecastle club have a key option in the deal

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Defender heads to Firhill for the season

Partick Thistle have agreed a season-long loan deal for the Hearts defender Lewis Neilson. He will head to Firhill in time for the cinch Championship campaign starting this weekend, and could be involved in Thistle’s opening match at home to Raith Rovers on Saturday.

Hearts have an important option in the deal which allows them to recall the 20-year-old centre-back during the January transfer window. Neilson’s game time was limited at Tynecastle Park last year after he arrived as a free agent from Dundee United. He made only 16 appearances and will want to augment his first-team experience with Kris Doolan’s side.

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A statement issued on the official Hearts website confirmed the move. It read: “Lewis Neilson has completed a loan move to Partick Thistle until the end of the 2023/24 campaign.

“The 20-year-old centre-back heads to Maryhill to get first team experience in Kris Doolan's side having made 16 appearances for the Jambos last season. The club has a recall option in January. Everyone at Hearts wishes Lewis the best of luck at Firhill.”

Neilson signed a three-year deal at Hearts last summer and is therefore contracted until 2025. With the arrival of centre-back Frankie Kent from Peterborough United, plus Craig Halkett’s return from injury expected in the autumn, the young defender was again likely to see his game time restricted in Edinburgh.

He is being sent out to play as much as possible, with the Thistle squad aiming to challenge for promotion to the Premiership in the months ahead.