Football Academy

Russell boosts youth ranks

12th June 2015

16-year-old striker Russell McLean signs on the dotted line at Tynecastle.

Robbie Neilson has welcomed youth striker Russell McLean to the club from Alloa Athletic.

The 16-year-old will link up with Jack Ross’ Development Squad following a successful trial period at Tynecastle during the final stages of last season.

Speaking exclusively to Hearts News, head coach Robbie said: “We’ve brought Russell in from Alloa and he’s got a great opportunity here. There’s a lot of development in him, with his physique and his ability. I can see him being a good player in the future.

“He’s coming in and will be part of Jack Ross’ Development Squad. He came in towards the end of last season to do a bit of training with us and we liked what we saw of him.

“He’s a good size – 6 foot 4 – he’s got good feet and is a good finisher, and he’s got a great attitude as well. It’s a good opportunity for him to come in and work hard, and hopefully play a part with Hearts.

“We’re trying to develop the whole club and that means bringing in U20s as well. We have to develop that side as well as first-team players. It’s important that we continue to have a production line of players coming through.”

Russell spoke of his delight at joining the Jambos and revealed he’s eager to get started.

“I’m really happy to have signed here,” he said. “From the minute I walked through the door for my first trial, I knew that it was the club I wanted to come to.

“I came in for two days, initially, and was then asked back for the full week so I think they were keen.

“It’ll be a big change for me; a big stadium and better facilities. It’s just a bigger challenge for me.

“I can’t wait for pre-season, to get to the top of my fitness and get ready for the season ahead.”