Kyle call up and Zal deal boost Hearts

HEARTS were today savouring a double boost - a new contract for captain Marius Zaliukas and a Scotland call-up for striker Kevin Kyle.

Zaliukas, who had been on loan from FBK Kaunas since 2006, has penned a contract that will keep him at Tynecastle until the summer of 2013, ending the saga that left him kicking his heels in frustration for a spell earlier this season.

The Lithuanian is delighted his future has finally been resolved and is looking forward to helping Hearts build on their splendid wins over Hibs and Celtic within the last week.

"I'm happy that I don't have to think about this any more," said the club captain. "All I want to do now is focus on my football, keep learning and improving as a player and try to bring more success to Hearts."

Zaliukas, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Wednesday, added: "We had a great result against Celtic which followed the win over Hibs so it has been a very special week for me.

"We've had an encouraging start to the league this season but we have to keep the good work going and maintain our momentum."

In the seven games Zaliukas has played this season, he has helped Hearts keep five clean sheets. The Gorgie side have picked up 16 of their 20 SPL points in those matches.

Kyle, another key man in Jim Jefferies' side this season, has been recalled to the Scotland squad by manager Craig Levein for next week's friendly against the Faroe Islands at Pittodrie.

The big striker has made ten appearances for Scotland and will provide Levein with his main scoring options in Aberdeen along with David Goodwillie, Jamie Mackie and Steven Naismith.