ANDY HALLIDAY has revealed his family ties to Hearts after sealing a two-year deal with the Jambos.
Halliday’s cousin once removed, Garry Halliday, is a director with Foundation of Hearts, the supporters’ group which will soon inherit Ann Budge’s 75.1% per cent shareholding and transition the capital club into fan ownership.
As a result, Andy’s dad has been badgered about the prospect of his son making the switch to Tynecastle.
And while the majority of his family are Rangers-daft, Andy has succeeded in making one die-hard Jambo very happy.
Halliday said: “Garry is my dad’s cousin and has certainly been bending my dad’s ear quite a bit! I think it’s been well documented the team that I, and my family, support – but Garry is mad Hearts, being an Edinburgh guy.
“I think he was one of the happiest fans when it got announced.
“He’s somebody who has followed my career, even going back to when I was playing for Livingston and went to a couple of games.
“He’s obviously got a good relationship with the fans, being in the Foundation of Hearts, so I’m glad I made some people happy!”
Halliday, meanwhile, is adamant he had no qualms about dropping down to the Championship following his release by boyhood heroes Rangers during the summer.
While he was latterly competing towards the top end of the Premiership with the Gers, Halliday won the second tier with the Ibrox giants and has turned out for the likes of Livi, Walsall and Bradford in the lower leagues north and south of the border.
Halliday added: “I’ve experienced lower leagues than the Championship. I’ve got a brother who plays Junior football so I certainly can’t complain about being at Championship level.
“These difficult away grounds that you have to go to, it might not be too glamorous but I’ve experienced it and it’s all part of football.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s all part of the experience and just getting back to playing football again, which is what I’m looking forward to the most.
“It’s going to be difficult without fans and playing in front of full houses but the motivation is there to get the club back into the top flight. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead.”
Halliday accepts that he is ‘eight weeks behind’ the rest of his teammates in terms of pre-season fitness but is adamant he will embrace the challenge of playing catch-up ahead of competitive action beginning next month.
And he is simply relieved to be back under contract somewhere after a summer of uncertainty and inaction.
He told Hearts TV: “I’ve probably not gone six weeks without kicking a ball since I was a wee boy – so the fact I’ve gone six months without a ball ay my feet has been difficult but I’m delighted with the outcome.
“There have been offers, some of them have been well documented.
“I spoke to a couple of clubs where some of them I didn’t feel it was the right move, some of them have fallen through one way or the other.
“I certainly look at myself as one of the lucky ones. I know boys just now that don’t have a club and don’t know where their future lies but from a selfish point of view, I’m delighted that I’m here.
“I had the privilege to talk to the manager three weeks ago and I loved his ideas and his ambition for the club moving forward. You look at the squad and it’s still a fantastic squad and they’ve still got a lot of top quality players here.”