Hearts head coach Ian Cathro has added two new wing backs after agreeing a season-long loan deal with Manchester City’s Ashley Smith-Brown and landing Michael Smith from Peterborough on a two-year contract.
Cathro is hoping 21-year-old Smith-Brown, who helped NAC Breda secure their return to the Dutch top-flight last term during a temporary move, will provide a solution to the problematic left-back position.
Juwon Oshaniwa, Faycal Rherras and Lennard Sowah have all departed the club this summer having looked far from convincing in that role.
Hearts paid a nominal fee to English League One side Peterborough to sign Northern Ireland cap Smith, the 28-year-old arriving as a replacement for departed Scotland right-back Callum Paterson.
Smith-Brown, who is set to formally complete his move in the coming days, said: “I’m really excited and just can’t wait to get started. Hearts are a big club and when you hear they want you to play here then it’s hard to turn it down.
“I’ve heard good thing about the fans here and can’t wait to play in front of them.
“I spoke to Ian and I also had a chat with Craig (Levein, Hearts director of football).
“They only had positive things to say about the club and myself.
“I’m a full back so defending comes first, but I’m also very attacking. I like to create goals, I even score the odd one, so hopefully I can provide defensive and attacking options for she team.”
Right-back Smith, meanwhile, insists the growing Northern Irish contingent at Tynecastle will help him settle at the club.
Smith has linked up with international team-mates Aaron Hughes and Kyle Lafferty, who joined on Wednesday, while his country’s coach Austin MacPhee is also assistant to Cathro.
Smith said: “That will make it a lot easier to come and settle in, knowing a few of the boys.
“It’s quite hard to integrate into a group of players but with Aaron and Kyle here it will make it a lot easier.
“Austin was the first one that got in contact and he said to come up and have a look and you’ll realise how big the club is. As soon as I left I wanted to sign.”
Cathro has now added six new players this summer, with Christophe Berra, Cole Stockton, Rafal Grzelak and Lafferty having already checked in before the arrival of the two wing backs.