Hearts sign Livingston captain Craig Halkett

Craig Halkett has been a standout in the Livingston defence
Craig Halkett has been a standout in the Livingston defence
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Hearts have completed the signing of Livingston captain Craig Halkett on a pre-contract agreement.

The 23-year-old defender will move to Tynecastle Park on a three-year deal when his contract in West Lothian expires this summer.

Talks between the Edinburgh club and Halkett’s representatives had been ongoing for weeks and the player has finally put pen to paper after deciding his future lay in Gorgie.

Hibs had been credited with an interest in Halkett, who is leaving Livingston after three and a half years. He came through the Rangers youth academy but left Glasgow in January 2016 seeking regular first-team football.

He quickly became a key player at Livingston and helped record back-to-back promotions, taking them from League One into the Premiership in successive seasons. He was appointed captain last season but, after more than 100 games for the club, is set for pastures new at Tynecastle this summer.

“I’m delighted that Craig has committed to signing for Hearts,” the Tynecastle manager Craig Levein told his club’s website. “He’s a talented player and, at 23-years-old, is at an age where he can continue to develop and progress. This club is the right place for him to do so and I look forward to welcoming him in the summer.”

Halkett is Levein’s latest signing as he seeks to strengthen his defensive options for next year. Congolese centre-back Clevid Dikamona recently extended his contract, while on-loan Conor Shaughnessy will return to parent club Leeds United in May.

The former Leeds and Barnsley left-back Aidy White joined Hearts last month on a two-year deal and is currently working on his fitness after a long period out injured.