Hearts transfers: Busy final 24 hours expected as reinforcements needed - deadline day at Tynecastle

Even before last night’s Premier Sports Cup exit Hearts had been planning a late rally ahead of the transfer window closing.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson is looking for reinforcements.
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson is looking for reinforcements.

They had been carefully scrutinising movements, north and south of the border, as well as monitoring foreign markets, all with a view to strengthening a squad which has upped the quality level but still needs attention when it comes to depth.

Having kids who can come in is one thing but there is a lot resting on them this term as Hearts tread the precarious tightrope between the excitement of the European journey and the bread and butter business of the Premiership and the need to back up last season’s third-place finish with more of the same as they seek to deliver the consistency everyone at board level and throughout the football department have been talking about.

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Then there is the quest for silverware. After the League Cup defeat to Kilmarnock, all hopes for cup success switches to the Scottish Cup.

By then the players will have had to have put in a mammoth effort. At the weekend they head into the seventh game in an energy-sapping run of 11 matches in 36 days. They then have an international break when those in the squad who aren’t involved at that level can catch their breath. But there are others who will have no such luxury.

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Then it is back to another spell of constant Thursday-Sunday-Thursday fixtures.

That is already cause for recruiting reinforcements but injuries in recent weeks has made it all the more pressing.

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As Liam Boyce and Kye Rowles left the ground on crutches on Sunday, manager Robbie Neilson said he was looking for three or four new faces and the results of scans would determine just how pressing that need was in certain areas.

With the former out for up to nine months, the other faces a period of six to eight weeks on the sidelines. Both will be a huge loss, as they join Beni Baningime on the road to rehabilitation.

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Finding a couple of defenders would seem a priority, after several rejigs exposed vulnerabilities in the respective back-up options.

Toby Sibbick has not been the answer, while Lewis Neilson shows a lot of promise but has yet to convince his gaffer he is a permanent fix. Impressive playing out from the back and an intelligent footballer, his manager believes his defensive attributes still need work.

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And learning on the job against lower level Premiership sides is one thing, doing it against the likes of Mezut Ozil on European duty is another.

So, expect a couple of signings to be defenders, who can operate as part of a back three or back four.

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The arrival of the German Orestis Kiomourtzoglou bolsters the central midfield options but the club would still like to add another creative player, who can operate wide, while Boyce’s injury has seen then shopping for another striker.

Neilson has ruled out former Motherwell man Louis Moult and has admitted that filling the gap left by their experienced Northern Irishman will not be easy but they are being aggressive in pin-pointing options – on a permanent deal or on loan – that can go for today, before the window closes but having been shrewd operators in identifying available unattached options and clinching quality after the deadline passes, Neilson wouldn’t rule out playing that waiting game again.

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After all, the best things come to those who wait. Having snapped up Barrie McKay that way, few could argue.