BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson insists Danny Swanson will provide creative spark after signing the midfielder on a deal until the end of the season following a three-day trial.
The 28-year-old will be among familiar faces at Tynecastle having been a team-mate of Neilson’s at Dundee United and played under Craig Levein during the Hearts director of football’s time as manager at Tannadice.
Swanson, who turned down a deal at St Johnstone after negotiating his release from Coventry City last week, joins a Hearts squad that also includes Morgaro Gomis and Prince Buaben, two players he lined up alongside when United won the Scottish Cup in 2010.
The playmaker will be paraded at a news conference this afternoon and, subject to international clearance, will be available for tomorrow’s televised trip to Inverness.
Neilson said: “Danny will add value to the squad. He’s a really experienced player. “He’s played in Scotland for a long time then had five years down in England playing at a really good level, as well as winning a Scottish Cup with Dundee United.
“He’s a winner and brings a lot of ability to the squad.
“He’s impressed in training but I also knew him from Dundee United, when I was a player there. I know what he brings to the team. I know he’s got great technique and ability and he’ll be a good addition to the squad.
“He predominantly plays in a more central area of the pitch now. He gives great through balls and passes in that area, which is where we’re a little bit light at the moment so it’s great to get him in.”
Swanson began his professional career at Berwick Rangers before being signed by Levein at United in 2008.
Speaking in 2011 during his time as Scotland boss, Levein even hinted that Swanson, who was then recognised as a winger, was on the verge of a national team call up.
Levein said: “I’m a huge admirer of him.
“I’ve said on a number of occasions that he’s without doubt the most talented player that I’ve worked with. And I think he has the potential to be an international player.”
The attacking midfielder left Tannadice for Peterborough four years later and made a total of 79 appearance in two years for the Posh.
But Swanson struggled to make a similar impact at Coventry and after only eight league starts for the Sky Blues, the Edinburgh-born player moved to Saints on loan for the second half of last season.
The highlight of his short-term switch to McDiarmid Park was his stunning winning strike as Tommy Wright’s side beat Celtic 1-0 at Parkhead in March.
But after being overlooked by Coventry manager Tony Mowbray at the start of this season, Swanson decided to sever his ties with the club.