Mihai Popescu to leave Hearts as young Jambos duo sign contract extensions at Tynecastle
Mihai Popescu will leave Hearts this summer.
He played often as the Gorgie outfit won the second tier title at the first time of asking.
However, last summer's recruitment saw him fall down the pecking order and he signed for Hamilton Accies on loan in September.
Now the Tynecastle club have confirmed that Popescu will move in when his contract ends.
Chris Hamilton, who has spent the season on-loan at promotion chasing Arbroath, as well as Ryan Schiavone, Harris Spratt, Jay Charleston-King, Sean Docherty and Michael Aitken will also depart.
Meanwhile, two of the Jambos’ young stars have signed contract extensions.
Makenzie Kirk and Murray Thomas will remain in maroon for another year.
Kirk, son of former Hearts striker Andy, made his first team debut as a late sub against Ross County last month while Thomas was handed his debut during the midweek defeat to Motherwell.
Both have starred for Steven Naismith’s Under 18 side, who reached the Scottish Youth Cup final.
Neilson said of the starlets: “I’ve been impressed with Makenzie and Murray when they’ve trained with the first team group and they’ve put in a lot of good performances for the U18s.
“Senior debuts have to be earned so they should both be very proud that they achieved that this season.
“The hard work never stops though, and they’ll need to keep impressing in training but I’ve no doubts that they’ll continue to do so.”
Sporting director Joe Savage added: “I’m very pleased for them both and this shows that Hearts will always give young talent a platform.
“One of our key focuses is to develop these players with the aim to get them into the first team.
“For Makenzie and Murray to have made their debuts is great for everybody, but it’s only the first step.
“They’ll know how much hard work has gone into getting to this point, and how much more they’ll need to put in to stay in the manager’s thoughts.”
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