Taylor Moore: The ball-playing centre-back showing Hearts can cope without John Souttar
Injuries to John Souttar left Hearts defensively short in recent years, but an able-bodied deputy is now in place.
The loan signing of Taylor Moore from Bristol City offers a reliable replacement if Souttar is unavailable, such as against Livingston last Saturday. Moore slotted in on the right side of Hearts’ back three and produced a dominant display in the comfortable 3-0 win.
Souttar’s current injury is only a minor thigh complaint and he could return this weekend to face Motherwell. Nonetheless, it is comforting for management to know they can call upon 24-year-old Moore.
The Englishman played right-back in a 2-2 draw at Ross County the previous week but the Livingston match proved his best position is central defence.
“We played a back four at Ross County, we played Taylor at right back and it's not his position. He was there to do a job for us,” admitted Robbie Neilson, the Hearts manager.
“John Souttar had a wee issue with his thigh on Saturday and probably could have played but because we know Taylor is a good player, it gave him that opportunity to play centre-half.
“I was really pleased with him. He was composed on the ball, aggressive in the tackle, exactly what we thought he would be. He is a good talker as well. He was schooled in Lens in France and he's a ball-playing centre-half. I’m pleased for him.
“He's a good football player who is comfortable on the ball. You see he can pass it about. He's experienced and played more than 50 games in the English Championship as well as in France. He also talks really well.
“One of the things we spoke about when we brought him in was controlling the back three and the midfield. I think you can see he has the ability to do that.”
Moore is on loan at Hearts until the end of the season and is then contractually obliged to return to Bristol City, where his deal runs until 2023.
Souttar recently held talks with Hearts about potentially extending his contract at Tynecastle Park, which is due to expire at the end of the season.