Kris Boyd: ‘Hearts interested in signing me’

Kris Boyd at Largs yesterday on the SFA's coaching course. Picture: SNS
Kris Boyd at Largs yesterday on the SFA's coaching course. Picture: SNS
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HEARTS manager Gary Locke has asked Kris Boyd if he’d consider a summer move to Tynecastle but the striker wants to give Kilmarnock the first option before deciding where his immediate future lies.

The 29-year-old returned to Rugby Park in February after a spell with Portland Timbers in the MLS and scored three times in nine games for the Ayrshire club.

“Kilmarnock is a special club for me in terms of they gave me the chance to come through and play and even last year to come back and play again,” Boyd said.

“It was important I got back playing and scoring goals. I’m still waiting to speak to them [Kilmarnock], the manager has been away on holiday. We agreed he’d get his holiday out of the way and then we would speak. We’ll see what happens from there.

“I’m not going to stand here and lie, I’ve spoken to Gary Locke at Hearts. He’s asked me what I’m doing for next season but I’m not in a position right now to give a yes or no. I’m going to enjoy a break with my family and then I want to know roughly that I’m going back to pre-season on such a date and you’re ready to work.”

If Kilmarnock can’t come up with a new deal for Boyd, then there’s a strong chance the former Rangers, Middlesbrough and Eskisehirspor striker could be set to join up again with Locke after working with him at Kilmarnock under Jim Jefferies before moving to Ibrox.

Pressed on Locke, Boyd added: “He’s interested, I know that. There’s a lot of things to talk about. It was a case of ‘would you be interested in coming?’ Hearts are a big club and I’d obviously be interested in listening. I know there’s a few options there, there’s a couple of options in England. I will wait and see, it is part and parcel of this time of the season.

“I know wherever I go I need to be playing it is as simple as that. I’ve always said I want to get back into the Scotland set-up. The only way I’m going to do that is by playing regular football. I enjoyed that towards the end of the season with Kilmarnock. I want to speak to them again and see what is happening for next year.”

Boyd, who was taking part in the Scottish FA’s A Licence course, says former Rangers team-mate David Weir encouraged him to take his badges early. He added: “He’s been a big influence on my career and he’s been there and done it and I feel the time is right now so this was the perfect opportunity to get started.”

Meanwhile, Hearts have confirmed they are heading to Northern Ireland for a four-team pre-season tournament involving Liverpool. The event is being organised by Irish League outfit Crusaders and will take place at the Ballymena Showgrounds over four days from 24 July.

The fourth team is still to be announced but Crusaders Commercial Manager Norman Coleman is hoping a Spanish side will take part after initially failing in a bid to include Celta Vigo. Hearts were eliminated from the qualifying play-off stage of last season’s Europa League by Liverpool but the Anfield club are set to send a youthful squad across the Irish Sea, with the first team touring Asia and Australia at that time.

The finer details of the event are still to be confirmed but it is likely the tournament will follow a knock-out format, with two semi-finals taking place on Wednesday and Thursday, both 7.45pm kick-offs. A third-place play-off and final would then follow on Saturday at 2pm and 5pm. Coleman said: “We are delighted Hearts are coming over. They have been to Northern Ireland before for pre-season and we’re looking forward to having them”

Hearts have also announced they will face 1998 Scottish Cup- winning manager Jefferies’ Dunfermline on 13 July at East End Park before taking on Raith Rovers four days later in Kirkcaldy.