Andy Halliday on ‘very easy’ Hearts contract talks, family delight and coaching ambition

For Andy Halliday that wasn’t the case.

When Hearts boss Robbie Neilson indicated in January he wanted to offer the utility man a new contract, “negotiations were very easy from then”. It was just a case of finding the right time to announce the two-year extension.

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Halliday feels at home at Tynecastle Park and was visibly ecstatic knowing he is going to be part of the club with European football likely on the horizon.

Hearts star Andy Halliday. (Photo by Ewan Bootman/SNS Group)

“I told him that this is a club I enjoy being at and I want to stay,” the 30-year-old said.

“I’m not ashamed to admit that when I left Rangers, I was trying to explore different cultures and leagues and maybe broaden my experiences, purely because I didn’t know what sort of reaction I would get from different fans. I’m not the most popular player when I go to grounds – I don’t know why, but since the day I walked in the door, Hearts have made me feel really welcome.

“It’s not even just the football club. It’s everything that surrounds it. It is the people behind the scenes, the players, the manager, the fans, the stadium, the training facilities.”

He added: “They’ve been a sort of sleeping giant over the last few years, not really competing at the end of the table they should be. I think we still have a way to go but I think as a club, we are going places.”

Halliday provides Hearts with versatility and experience. (Photo by Ewan Bootman/SNS Group)

One fan in particular who will be over the moon for Halliday is his dad’s cousin Garry Halliday who has, over the years, been an integral part of the Foundation of Hearts.

“For a guy who is very well recognized at the football club I don’t understand how he asks me for tickets every week,” he joked.

“I might get a wee thank you or a wee well done for signing the extension. If I’ve made him happy then I’m delighted with that.”

‘Bridge the gap’

It’s clear from listening to Halliday that he wants to be more than just a player at Hearts.

He is currently doing his A license having secured the B grade and has spoken to Steven Naismith, the club’s Under-18 boss, about the transition to coaching. More than that, he wants to be a mentor and a role model.

“It was brilliant to see them get to the Youth Cup final, they are the future of the football club,” Halliday said.

“I remember being a young player myself. When you are 13, 14, that feeling knowing a first-team player knows your name is amazing.

“Even when it comes to players not getting a new contract at Hearts, I’d love to be that player to bridge the gap where they can pick up the phone and give me a call about what they can do next.

“I want to take advantage of that fortunate position I am in because I am under no illusions that I am very, very fortunate to be at a great football club like Hearts.

“My focus is on being a football player but anytime I get that spare time I’d love to be a bit more involved with the academy.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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