BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Queen of the South new boy Gary Oliver admits it was a wrench to leave Hearts – but insists it was the right decision after tumbling down the Tynecastle pecking order.
The talented 20-year-old has earned his stripes in the Jambos’ youth side and was a stand-out for the first-team during pre-season, finding the net against Raith Rovers and Shelbourne and turning in a series of lively displays.
However, his senior outings have been limited to one Premiership cameo and two League Cup starts this season due to the form of Juanma Delgado, Osman Sow and Gavin Reilly.
And, while he has no hard feelings towards the capital club, Oliver reckons the time was right to make the tough decision to ditch Hearts in search of regular football in Dumfries.
He said: “I wasn’t getting the games and opportunities I would have wanted at Hearts, so I had to think about my career.
“I feel this is a season when I need to kick on. I’ve been the top-scorer in pre-season for the last two years but still haven’t been given much of a chance – so I decided it was time to go.
“It’s really hard in my position. Hearts have signed a lot of strikers and it’s clear I wasn’t really in the frame.
“I’ve played with a lot of the boys at Hearts for five years so it’s tough to say goodbye and leave, but that’s just something you need to deal with in football.”
Queens boss James Fowler is a long-time admirer of the Scotland under-19 internationalist and has attempted to secure the player on loan in the past.
It is understood Fowler was also keen to bring the striker to Palmerston Park as part of the deal which saw Gavin Reilly go in the other direction during the close season, but that did not come to fruition.
Oliver continued: “I think the manager has been after me for a wee while and I’ve heard plenty of good things about the club, so it’s an exciting move.
“Queens are a good side and I think they will suit the way I play. I want to play as many games as I can, score as many goals as I can – and hopefully I can play a part in getting into the playoffs.”