BY ALAN TEMPLE – CCP_Sport
STEVEN MacLEAN has signed a pre-contract with Hearts, penning a two-year deal with the Tynecastle outfit.
The 35-year-old is the capital club’s first capture ahead of next season, with another hectic transfer window on the horizon.
Craig Levein is expected to sign up to ten new players and the Jambos are understood to be closing in on Scotland number one Allan McGregor and Cambridge United forward Uche Ikpeazu.
Having put pen to paper last Friday, MacLean’s arrival will be officially announced this week, with Levein seeing him as an experienced, technically adept attacking option, as well as a pivotal mentor for the club’s young strikers.
St Johnstone were keen for MacLean to extend his contract but proved unable to compete with the terms put forward by Hearts, which include the opportunity to pursue his coaching aspirations in the future.
Despite choosing to end his stay in Perth after six years, MacLean departs McDiarmid Park as a club legend.
He has scored 54 goals in close to 200 appearances since joining the club from Yeovil in the summer of 2012.
The pinnacle of his career in Perth came on May 17, 2014 when he scored the second goal in the Saints’ 2-0 win over Dundee United in the Scottish Cup final, helping the club claim the first piece of major silverware in their history.
He has also turned out for the likes of Scunthorpe, Sheffield Wednesday, Plymouth and Aberdeen during a varied career north and south of the border.