Hearts have fought off competition from capital rivals Hibernian, as well as St Johnstone and Dundee United, to land their latest signing, Dylan Bikey.
The 21-year-old Frenchman became Ian Cathro’s fifth signing of the transfer window when he agreed to join the Tynecastle side. He is now available for tomorrow’s trip to Glasgow to face record-chasing Celtic.
The forward scored nine goals in nine games during a short-term stint at Stirling Albion. At the conclusion of that deal, he left the League 2 side and has enjoyed trial spells at several clubs, with most keen to make his stay permanent.
Speaking on Thursday, Hibernian manager Neil Lennon said that they wanted to add him to their squad but had left matters in the hands of the player’s representatives.
The move is an exciting one for Bikey and the club, who see a bright future for the player who can bolster their attacking options.
“Dylan’s a young guy with fight and hunger, said the Hearts manager. “He’s an interesting signing with plenty of potential. We’re looking forward to working with him and seeing how he grows as a player. He’s done well at Stirling Albion and it’s an exciting time for him.”
“I am very happy,” said Bikey. “This is a new challenge for me. It’s a big club with a big stadium and it’s a Premiership team, so I’m very happy to play for Hearts. It’s a very big opportunity for me. This is my first time at a full-time professional club so it’s a good opportunity.
“I enjoyed my time at Stirling Albion. I had good moments with them and I’d like to thank them and their fans for helping me when I first came to Scotland. Playing in the lower leagues has been hard. But I will try every day, I will learn and it’s good for me. I’m very excited to play in front of thousands of Hearts fans and I hope to score goals for them and make them happy.”
The acquisition is unlikely to be Cathro’s last ahead of the window closing on Tuesday night, with another attacking option and a centre-back both being chased.
But Bikey will still be given the chance to shine, according to his new boss.
“It’s a big opportunity for him at a club this size and he’ll have to work hard, which I’m sure he will,” he said of the youngster. “The deal came around very quickly, which can happen in football. We had positive talks and made it happen. I don’t know about interest from other clubs, that’s for other people to talk about. Ultimately, Dylan decided he wanted to come to Hearts.
“This club is a great platform for young players to show their talents and the challenge for Dylan is to work hard and show what he can do.”
Hearts now have a tough period of games, with a cup derby looming, on the back of league games against Celtic, Rangers and Motherwell.
If Celtic beat them tomorrow they will break the record for an unbeaten domestic streak but Cathro has insisted they are not travelling to Glasgow with any sacrificial intent.
“We’ve got no intention of being lambs to the slaughter. I think if you want to win then you have to score. If you want to score then you have to attack. If you want to attack you need to have the ball. I don’t see any reason why we need to feel differently about that.
“Is it more difficult? Yes it is because it’s a better opponent. It’s the best opponent in the country. There are lots of things in their team – players, qualities, the model of play, all the work that has taken place – that I think are excellent and pleasing to have in our country. But that doesn’t mean that I’m just going to sit and take it.”