Newly-installed Hearts manager Craig Levein has had a dig at Rangers over their pursuit of Jamie Walker – claiming the Ibrox side have broken promises made to the midfielder.
The Gers had several bids during pre-season knocked back for the former Scotland Under-21 international and persisted throughout the summer transfer window, but the clubs could not come to an agreement.
The 24-year-old is out-of-contract next summer and has rejected a new deal to stay at Tynecastle – meaning he could sign a pre-contract with Rangers in the new year and walk away for nothing at the end of the season.
Walker, who has made five appearances so far this campaign, was left out of match-day squads by former head coach Ian Cathro and caretaker boss Jon Daly because of a perceived lack of focus, but returned to the first-team fold ahead of the international break playing 79 minutes in the 2-1 defeat at Motherwell.
Levein returned to the dugout on August 28 just days before the transfer window shut after holding the role of director of football at the club since 2014. The former Scotland boss gave little away to the news regarding Walker, but he felt the midfielder had been let down by Rangers:
“I don’t want to go into too much detail but if I was Jamie I’d be a little bit disappointed that a lot of the promises that were made to him weren’t kept. And not from our club,” the Hearts manager told the Glasgow Evening Times.
“I haven’t had a conversation with him. He has trained fantastically well since the beginning of the week.
“For me, Jamie Walker is another player. If he does work on the training ground, he will play”.
Cathro was sacked August 1 after seven months in charge following a shock League Cup exit to Dunfermline and under-20 coach Daly took temporary charge of the first team for four matches.
Hearts won just one of those with a 1-0 victory over Kilmarnock which leaves them 8th in the Scottish Premiership.
Levein will start his second spell in charge of the Edinburgh club with the visit of Aberdeen on September 9.
Rangers meanwhile have had an inconsistent start to the new season, with Pedro Caixinha changing his squad considerably over the summer.
The Ibrox outfit take on Dundee on Saturday and will hope to record three points.