DAVID Templeton last night expressed hurt and disappointment at the criticism directed at him by Hearts in the wake of his transfer window deadline day move to Rangers.
The 23-year-old winger joined the Ibrox club late on Friday night for a fee believed to be in the region of £800,000, just 24 hours after he had scored in his final appearance for Hearts against Liverpool at Anfield.
On Saturday, Hearts issued a lengthy statement on their website explaining their reasons for selling Templeton. They criticised his attitude, claiming he had “switched off completely” after last January, and accused him of being “desperate to leave Hearts for any club offering big money”.
Templeton, who had just a year left on his contract at Hearts, made an impressive debut for Rangers yesterday. He scored twice in their 5-1 Third Division victory over Elgin City at Ibrox, was named man of the match and received a standing ovation from the home fans when he was substituted late in the game.
Afterwards, he insisted he is not guilty of lacking ambition by dropping down to the fourth tier of Scottish football and denied the charges levelled against him by Hearts. “Of course it hurts,” he said. “It is disappointing that they said what they said. That’s the way Hearts think but people don’t know the real reasons.
“It’s not for me to say too much, I’ll get my head down and get on with it. That’s the way they see it. I’m not too fussed what they say. I’m concentrating on Rangers now and Hearts are behind me now.
“Some of the stuff they said I don’t agree with. They say they had been offering me new contracts for the past year but I was only offered one contract. They are only doing it to cover themselves and I’m just looking forward to being here at Ibrox.
“I was at Hearts for five and a half years and I gave everything no matter what, in every game I played for them. I’ll do that whatever club I play for. I’m not going to stop trying, I’ll always give 100 per cent.
“The reaction I’ve had from Hearts fans has been mixed. I have had some fans saying good luck and thanks, others say I lack ambition and I should have gone to England. But I don’t see joining Rangers as a lack of ambition. It shows my ambition as I want to help Rangers get back to where they belong. Hopefully we can do that as quickly as possible, get back to the SPL and back to Europe.”
Rangers manager Ally McCoist was understandably pleased with Templeton’s debut and was gently critical of Hearts’ public response to the player’s move.
“David gave us everything we thought we would get from him today,” said McCoist. “He commits defenders, creates chances and scores goals. He is going to be a real crowd pleaser and our fans seem to have taken to him already. As debuts go, it was pretty good.
“I don’t want to get into a war of words with Hearts. I will say that every player who has left this club has done so with our best wishes and our thanks. Maybe that’s the best way to approach it. I certainly don’t see David having an attitude problem. I’m sure he will have dips in form, like any player, but I’d like to think I’m not in the habit of signing players with bad attitudes.”
Hearts, playing their first game since losing Templeton to Rangers, lost 1-0 to Dundee at Tynecastle in the SPL yesterday.