Hearts boss Ian Cathro insists former Rangers and Norwich City marksman Kyle Lafferty’s best years are ahead of him



Hearts head coach Ian Cathro insists new striker Kyle Lafferty’s best years are still ahead of him.

The Northern Ireland internationalist signed a two-year contract with the Tynecastle outfit on Wednesday, despite interest from Hibernian and the offer of more lucrative deals abroad.

A three-time top-fight league winner with Rangers, Lafferty’s most productive campaign arguably came in Italy when he scored 11 goals to help Palermo reach Serie A in 2014, although he only made a total of 11 league starts in three years at Norwich.

The 29-year-old also notched seven goals in his country’s successful Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and Cathro is confident the player can replicate that kind of form back in Scotland.

Cathro said: “I wanted Kyle to come to the club and I reckon that the brightest days of his football career are ahead of him.

“I think he is at a point in his life and career where he is very, very hunger to play. 

“He has a hunger for the ball and a desire to work and it is well known about him that when you are on the pitch with him then you know he is helping you. 

“No matter how the game is going, you know he is helping you. That is so important. 

“That is something we want in the team so I was was very clear that I wanted to be able to bring Kyle to the club.”

Hull City and Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor has been linked with the club and Cathro admits he is keen to add to that position.

Jack Hamilton was the club’s recognised number one last season before making way for Viktor Noring for the final three matches.

Cathro added: “Goalkeeper is an area we are looking at but the biggest focus just now is helping the ones we have improve.

“We are not in talks with any keeper just now but if we can see an area we can improve, we are open-minded.

“Jack will be better next season and the seasons after that. He is a young goalkeeper who is important for this club and has a future as number one.”

There remains the possibility that Cathro could lose players this summer. Bids of £300,000 and £600,000 have already been rejected from Rangers for attacking midfielder Jamie Walker. Hearts are said to be holding out for a fee in the region of £1 million.

“Jamie is our player and he is working well,” insists Cathro.

“He has a little knock that we have managed and he’s done some good work.

“We are trying to build him and everything is normal. He is getting himself ready to be better next season.

“That (a new contract) is something that has been brought up before and will probably remain a possibility.

“But the focus just now is on getting everyone together and prepare properly for the new season.”