The key Hearts signing, use of stats, important quality for additions and players set to depart on loan

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson has outlined a key quality in potential signings.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 7:00 am
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The club have so far brought in Beni Beningime and Alex Cochrane this summer, while Australian midfielder Cameron Devlin is set to be added to the squad.

Neilson is “looking at a few areas” to strengthen the squad further before the transfer window shuts.

The Hearts boss explained to the Evening News why the club won’t be rushed into any deals.

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"Joe [Savage] and I are working away to try and get it sorted,” he said.

"There’s ones we could bring in tomorrow but we don’t feel they are the right ones.

"It’s important that anybody that comes in for me has got to be somebody that can start in this team. Somebody who is not going to be a bit-part player.”

George Brown and stats

A key signing already made by Hearts has been George Brown from Rangers who has taken up the position of lead recruitment analyst.

He will play a crucial role in helping with the club’s recruitment.

Neilson mentioned the “stats” behind unearthing Devlin and they will be used to whittle down targets and help against “potential issues” arising.

“There’s thousands of players out there," he said. “We get them fired into us, there’s 50 a day. We can’t watch them all.

"George does his job, I give him what I’m looking for, tactically and physically, what they do within a game. He then filters it down, tries to source them.

"If we’ve got a player that we could put in, he’s generally the first person who will see if they actually do what we’re looking for.

"They are not all going to be bang on it because when you bring players into Hearts, they go from maybe playing in front of 2,000 to playing in front of 20,000, whether they can handle that pressure and the demands of it.

"That’s probably the most difficult one because you don’t know.

"You can look at all the stats you want, you can watch them all you want. Until they get in that environment and the demands there you just don’t know.

"We’re looking at the stats and the things which can help cut down on the potential issues that might come up.”

Loans likely

The bench on Saturday for the 2-1 win over St Mirren in Paisley featured three teenagers, Leo Watson, Aidan Denholm and Connor Smith.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that Ryan Schiavone had moved to Dumbarton on loan, and more are set to follow when more signings are made.

They will join the likes of Harry Stone and Scott McGill who are out getting game time with Partick Thistle and Airdrieonians respectively in order to aid with their development.

"They are good players but they have to play football,” Neilson said.

"The difficulty you have is yes, you can keep them around the first team, give them ten minutes here, 15 minutes there, or you put them out and give them 35-40 games.

"I think for their development we will put them out. We’re just waiting at the moment on getting a few in that would allow them to go and play.

"We’ve got Scotty McGill out, Harry Stone played on Saturday. These guys are getting game time which is so important for their development.”

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