Darren Barr agrees pre-contract deal with Hearts

FALKIRK captain Darren Barr has signed a pre-contract with Hearts. The Scotland international defender has agreed a three- year deal and will arrive at Tynecastle in the summer.

Hearts have beaten Hibernian, Aberdeen and Dundee to sign the 24-year-old, who had also attracted interest from several English clubs. In a statement released last night by 110Sport, whose football division is headed by Barr's agent Kevin Drinkell, the defender said: "I am pleased to have sorted out the next stage of my career."

Glasgow-born Barr is "thrilled" over the prospect of joining Hearts but he maintains he is focused on helping Falkirk climb off the bottom of the SPL. "While I am looking forward to making the move, my immediate priority is, as captain of Falkirk, to lead them away from the relegation zone in the SPL," Barr said.

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"I have enjoyed my time at Falkirk, and while there was an option for me to leave in this transfer window, I have always stated I was happy to see out the remainder of my contract and the season with the club. I want to leave on the best of terms with everyone at the Falkirk Stadium and keeping the club in the top flight will go a long way to guaranteeing that. But it goes without saying that I am thrilled with the prospect of joining Hearts, who I believe will give me the best opportunities going forward."

Falkirk manager Eddie May said: "Hearts were happy for Darren to finish the season at Falkirk. They never forced the issue to try and get Darren now because it was always his intention to stay at Falkirk to help us in the situation we are in."