BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
HEARTS could be set to hand former Celtic striker Tony Watt a return to Scottish football after holding talks with Charlton Athletic over a loan move.
Reports in London on Tuesday suggested that Charlton had given the switch the green light on ‘compassionate grounds’ because of Watt’s desire to move closer to his family north of the border.
However, it is understood that, although Hearts are hopeful of concluding a deal for the 22-year-old, discussions have not yet reached an advanced stage and work remains to be done if they are to clinch the player’s signature.
Watt, whose time at Celtic was characterised by his winning goal in the Champions League win over Barcelona in 2012, had loan spells with both Cardiff City and Blackburn Rovers last season and made his full Scotland debut as a late substitute in March’s 1-0 friendly win over the Czech Republic.
That international bow came just days after Scotland assistant Mark McGhee had branded the marksman as someone with ‘unbelievable ability’ but ‘one of these boys who is not fit enough; he doesn’t train hard enough’.
With former Hibs boss Alan Stubbs also interested in taking Watt to Rotherham United, Hearts are keen to tap into that ability and provide him with a return home that could aid his hopes of remaining in Gordon Strachan’s thoughts at international level.
Meanwhile, Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson will make a decision on trialist defender Marcel Appiah after a week’s training with the club.
The 28-year-old former Arminia Bielefeld full-back spent the last two seasons with NEC Nijmegen in the Netherlands and will be assessed this week as Neilson seeks to bolster his defensive options.
The Hearts boss, who will be without USA internationalist Perry Kitchen for Thursday night’s Europa League tie with Birkirkara because of a hamstring injury, commented: “He’s in on trial. We’ve had a couple of centre-halves in on trial, it’s an area I’m trying to recruit in.
“We’ll take a look at him over the rest of the week and then I’ll make a decision on him.”