Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson delighted with hat-trick of recruits



Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson admits the arrival of Robbie Muirhead, Conor Sammon and Faycal Rherras has left his squad in good shape ahead of their Europa League qualifier.

Former Kilmarnock and Dundee United striker Muirhead was paraded as the club’s first official summer signing yesterday, while Neilson expects Republic of Ireland marksman Sammon and Moroccan defender Faycal Rherras to be unveiled in the next 24 hours.

robbie muirhead
Muirhead (Pic: heartsfc.co.uk)

Muirhead checked in at Tynecastle as forward Gavin Reilly made a one-year loan switch to Dunfermline after struggling to make an impact at Tynecastle.

Hearts have had to act fast with the Europa League signing window closing on Monday – the day they will discover their first qualifying round opponents – but Neilson is happy with his recruitment so far.

He said: “I don’t need a lot more now. I’d like to get a goalkeeper sorted out and after that we’ll just wait.

“We’ve seen in the last couple of years that, if you wait a bit longer in the window, and even after the window shuts, good players come up.

“So we’re sitting at the moment with a squad I’m comfortable with. There’s a little bit of money to go and get something else if we need to.”

Speaking about Muirhead, who joined United in a £150,000 switch from Kilmarnock in February 2015 but made only 16 league appearances, Neilson said: “He’s got good potential. People forget he is still young. There is still a lot of development in him.

“I watched him at Kilmarnock and knew he was a very good player. I looked at him and thought we would maybe try to do something then but Dundee United came in and bought him for a big fee.

“He went there and it didn’t quite work out for him. With the way things happened at United, he got out of his contract and it was an opportunity for us to get a good player for free. For me, it was one I was desperate to do.

“I was a wee bit surprised (he was freed), to be honest, because they paid a fee for him. But when you get relegated, you need to make cutbacks and get people out the door.”


Former Kilmarnock and Derby striker Sammon and left back Rherras, who had been with Belgian top-flight club Saint-Truiden, are also set to be unveiled imminently.

Neilson added: “We hope to get things tied up on Tuesday and go from there.

“Conor and Rherras are two guys who will add value to the squad. Conor played in Scotland before for Kilmarnock and did really well.

“He went down to England and did well initially, got a big money move to Derby. But they changed managers a lot and he found it difficult.

“He is at an age now where he wants to get more settled and come back to Scotland. His wife is from up here.

“It is a good addition and gives us something different up front.

“Rherras is one I’d looked at for a while. We looked in January but knew he would be a free in the summer, so waited to get him now.

“He is a Moroccan under-23 international and played almost every game in the Belgian top flight last season.”


Speaking about his move former Scotland Under-19 forward Muirhead, who has been reunited with former United team-mate John Souttar, said: “I’m delighted to be here. I’m buzzing to sign and have been since it was finalised.

“I’ve spoken to a few boys who have been up here in the past and they all said exactly the same thing – it’s a massive club. It’s a great club to have on your CV. It’s one of the places you want to play.

“John Souttar messaged me on Sunday. He told me when he first came here that the training was a lot harder than he was used to and that he had to sleep for 15 hours a day to begin with.

“I’ve followed him to my last two clubs so he’s asked me to keep my distance in training.

“The gaffer says I need to work hard, first and foremost. Everything’s down to me. The last 18 months haven’t been ideal. I have a lot to prove, not just to myself but to a lot of people, including those who have maybe doubted me.”