‘Everybody has got a price’: Hearts boss Craig Levein happy with deal struck with Rangers for Kyle Lafferty

Hearts manager Craig Levein (SNS Group / Paul Devlin)

CRAIG LEVEIN insists Hearts will only get stronger as he looks to reinvest Kyle Lafferty’s transfer fee in his squad.

Last season’s top scorer has been allowed to return to Rangers for an undisclosed fee but Jambos boss Levein insists he is happy with the deal struck by chairwoman Ann Budge.

He is now set to step up his efforts to speed through Teplice striker David Vanecek’s Tynecastle move but admits the Czech outfit are playing hardball over the 27-year-old, who is due in Edinburgh in January after signing a pre-contract with Hearts.

Levein has other targets if Vanecek is not allowed to make an early switch and is keeping his fingers crossed that up to three new faces, including cover for injured skipper Christophe Berra, could arrive in Gorgie before the August 31 transfer deadline.

“Everybody has got a price and I felt the price we got for Kyle was good, so it’s a normal situation really,” said Levein, who also admitted there could be at least another couple of departures before next Friday.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that Kyle wanted to go back to Rangers so for us it was just about getting the right price. It’s not the first time I’ve been in this rodeo, so it’s just normal.

“Rangers’ interest hasn’t come as a surprise so we’ve had time long enough to consider other options.

“We have signed David Vanecek on a pre-contract from Teplice in the Czech Republic and even before Kyle left I’ve been trying to hurry that process up.

“But it doesn’t seem like they are willing to let him go at this moment in time, so I have other things in mind to bring someone else in until David gets here in January.

“I don’t want to go into too many details in this moment in time but I’m pretty sure within the next day or two if David is not coming, we’ll have someone else.

“There are a couple of other things I’m also looking at and I’m confident when the window closes we’ll be stronger than we are right at this minute in time.”

Scotland risk losing Hearts defender John Souttar to Australia if he continues to be overlooked, warns Craig Levein

Hearts will visit Kilmarnock on Saturday but Levein was in no mood to add his voice to the recent wave of criticism aimed at Rugby Park’s plastic pitch after Rangers winger Jamie Murphy was ruled out for the season after damaging his knee on the synthetic surface.

He said: “I’m not a huge fan of these plastic pitches and I was really disappointed for Jamie – but I don’t want to criticise other people’s pitches.

“Our pitch wasn’t great last season so I find it difficult to start pointing fingers at other people’s pitches. You just have to deal with what’s in front of you.

“The interesting thing for me is that Kilmarnock play on it more than anyone and I don’t think they have that many injuries from it. Maybe if they did then there would be something to look at.”

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