Manager reveals reasons behind Craig Wighton move

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Dunfermline manager Stevie Crawford insists Craig Wighton has still got his best years ahead of him after signing the Hearts forward on a pre-contract.

Wighton will make the move to East End Park this summer when his deal at Tynecastle expires.

The 23-year-old has scored seven goals in 15 appearances for Hearts so far this season, including an effort in the delayed Scottish Cup semi-final win over Hibs.

Craig Wighton celebrates his first Jambos hat-trick | Hearts news
Wighton scored a hat-trick against Raith earlier this season (Pic: Twitter, @jamtarts)

However, in the main Wighton, who spent the second half of last term on loan at Arbroath, has struggled for game time at the Edinburgh club since making the switch from Dundee in August 2018.

Injury has also been a factor in Wighton being restricted to only 14 league starts for Hearts but Crawford believes the player can flourish at the Pars.

Crawford said: “We are delighted that we have Craig, he is 23, he will be 24 in the summer and he has put pen to paper on a pre contract with us. 

“He is a player who I have admired since he broke into a Dundee team as a 16-year-old.

“He has a wealth of experience in terms of Championship, Premiership, Championship, Premiership, but he has also gone out on loan and had spells at Brechin. 

“He had a spell at Raith Rovers on loan and even last year after he had suffered an injury with Hearts he went out on loan to get football at Arbroath.

“He has an appetite for the game, he wants to play football. Again it shows that we are trying to get the right kind of player that is hungry, at a good age with a lot of his years ahead of him.”

Although Wighton is regarded as being versatile in the final third of the pitch, Crawford admits he sees him as an out and out striker.

Crawford added: “He is a different type from what we have got. I do see him as a striker. 

“I see traits in him that he is more of a striker albeit he can play in wider positions because that is the type of boy he is. So there is flexibility to his game.

“He is also a player who has goals in him. If you look at his career as a whole, his stats are maybe not what you would want them to be but he has had to battle through injuries going to clubs that have changed manager.

“He very much sees Dunfermline as a club that is going in the right direction where he can start enjoying his football. 

“The big thing for him is that I see him as a striker.”