NEW Hearts striker Robbie Muirhead admitted today he has lots to prove but stressed he is ready for the challenge awaiting him at Tynecastle.
After signing a one-year contract, the 20-year-old declared he is ready to show his doubters they were wrong to question him. Muirhead was a £150,000 signing for Dundee United 18 months ago but became a bit-part player at Tannadice before joining Partick Thistle on loan last season.
He was eventually released from his United contract two years early in April before Hearts offered him a chance to remain in the Scottish Premiership.
The forward said he is delighted to join the Edinburgh club and get the chance to fulfil his potential.
“I’m delighted to be here. I’m buzzing to sign and have been since it was finalised,” he explained.
“I’ve spoken to a few boys who have been up here in the past and they all said exactly the same thing – it’s a massive club. It’s a great club to have on your CV. It’s one of the places you want to play.
“John Souttar messaged me on Sunday. He told me when he first came here that the training was a lot harder than he was used to and that he had to sleep for 15 hours a day to begin with. I’ve followed him to my last two clubs so he’s asked me to keep my distance in training.
“The gaffer says I need to work hard, first and foremost. Everything’s down to me.
“The last 18 months haven’t been ideal. I have a lot to prove, not just to myself but to a lot of people in and around the game who have maybe doubted me.”
Meanwhile, Hearts are heading towards a record 14,000 season ticket sales. The club have extended their first phase of pricing but fans are being advised to secure their seats quickly, with only 300 remaining.
Robbie Neilson, the Hearts head coach, is excited by the prospect of such a healthy backing next season.
“It’s phenomenal, isn’t it? The fans have backed us these last two years since we came out of administration,” he said.
“Foundation of Hearts money has been coming in and sustaining the club and helping build a new stand. To sell 14,000 season tickets is amazing.
“It’s getting to the stage now where we might need to start a waiting list for tickets. It’s great. You want that backing. You want a full house at Tynecastle.”
With Rangers and Celtic luring big names north of the Border from England, Neilson is predicting an enthralling top flight in Scotland.
Hearts and Aberdeen pursued Celtic for the title last year, although the Edinburgh club were more than content to finish third and qualify for Europe in their first season back in the Premiership.
With Rangers promoted from the Championship, anticipation is building for the 2016/17 campaign.
“Celtic have got Brendan Rodgers in. Rangers have gone and got Joey Barton,” said Neilson. “It lifts the whole profile of the league and I think it also helps teams like ourselves.
“It generates publicity for the league. More fans want to come, more players want to come. I think it is going in the right direction.”