Andy Halliday has told Hearts he wants to play more regularly during internal discussions with the club’s management team. The midfielder has made only three substitute appearances so far this season and is unhappy with that level of game time.
Halliday made his feelings clear during talks with Steven Naismith, the Hearts technical director, as he looks to force his way back into the starting line-up. He came on for the last eight minutes of Thursday’s Europa Conference League play-off defeat against PAOK Salonika in Greece and is in the final year of his contract at Tynecastle Park.
“I'm available to be selected and I haven't been. The fact of the matter is that I want to play,” stated Halliday. “I have had honest conversations with Naisy and, out of respect for both him and the football club, they will stay behind closed doors. I've always been someone who wants to play and that's no different now.
“I can only keep doing what I’m doing – train as well as I can and be as good a professional as I can. Regardless of what my situation is now, my opinion has never changed. I've loved my time at this football club and since Frankie [McAvoy] and Naisy have come in I've enjoyed the training as well.
“I'll continue to try and help the younger lads. I believe that's very important as they are the future of the football club. We talk about wanting to grow in Europe so these are the boys who need to step up and grow and develop. Young Aidan Denholm is one who's done very well.
“For now, even though I'm a bit disappointed, I need to make sure I'm a good professional and try to help the boys around about me. Fundamentally, I want to play so we will see what happens over the next few months. I'm going to show respect to Naisy as these conversations have already been had. The fact of the matter is that I'm representing Hearts now and, while I'm still doing that, I'll do what I can every single day.”
Defeats for all four Scottish clubs in Europe this week made for depressing reading. Rangers, Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs failed to win any of their two-legged play-off ties, scoring only seven goals and conceding 26 between them.
Hearts’ 4-0 loss in Thessaloniki left Halliday frustrated despite PAOK’s quality. “Potentially you do have to hold your hands up but hopefully there is a mentality shift in Scotland soon because I still think you can cause more problems than we did on Thursday night,” he said.
“I know it's a lot different away from home but I still felt we could have imposed our will and our style on the game. That was our intention going into the game but I just felt we didn't execute it well enough.
“I'll batter the drum all the time, I still believe we have a lot of quality in Scotland from youth level and through to first teams. Sometimes you are facing teams with a better budget and sometimes that does show.
“We played Rosenborg and that's the earliest they've been knocked out of Europe in the last 10 years. With more experience and a bit more self-belief, we can stamp our authority more.”