Craig Halkett delighted with new arrival at Hearts

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Hearts defender Craig Halkett left Gary Mackay-Steven with a facial wound that required stitches following an accidental training ground collision on Thursday.

However, Halkett is certain that the winger will be the source of headaches for Championship defences when he gets the chance to exhibit his full repertoire of skills.

Former Celtic, Aberdeen and Dundee United playmaker Mackay-Steven is set to be handed his debut in Saturday’s clash at Alloa, having joined from New York City at the start of the month.

New Hearts signing Gary-Mackay-Steven holds scarf above head | Hearts news
Mackay spent 18 months in America with New York City

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson regards the signing of Mackay-Steven as a statement of intent and Halkett is looking forward to seeing the 30-year in action.

“It’s a massive signing for us,” said Halkett. 

“He has played at the top teams in Scotland and abroad. 

“He is still that same player we all knew from before – a tricky winger who is fast and pacey.

“You need someone who is going to be creative when you are up against teams who are going to sit with two banks and try to frustrate you. 

“That’s when you need that bit of quality and magic. I think Gary has definitely got that in his locker.

“He is going to suit the way we want to play – nice, attractive, attacking football. 

“The more players we have like Gary, who are fast, skilful and willing to be direct helps. I think the strikers here are going to love him.”

Mackay-Steven is a proven winner after helping Celtic claim three league titles and Halkett is confident he is the kind of player who can help Hearts re-establish themselves in the top-flight.

He added: “It’s important for a club like ourselves to show we are signing those players with the direction we want to go.

“Everyone knows the aim this year is to get back to the Premiership. The manager wants to keep building and pushing the club forward for when we hopefully get there.”