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James Penrice backed to take Hearts chance and fight off left-back competition

James Penrice has been backed to make the Hearts left-back berth his own when he completes his move from Livingston.

Penrice will join up with the Jambos when they start pre-season in a few weeks time after penning a pre-contract to take him to the capital from West Lothian. He is 25 and was an established first team player at Livi but is perhaps seen as more of a squad man who could develop into a first pick at Tynecastle.

But the man who competed for a spot with him at the Lions is backing him to do it quicker. Penrice could be competing with Alex Cochrane if the Englishman sticks around and Stephen Kingsley and any new signing that Steven Naismith brings in, but Christian Montano knows he can prove his worth.

He said: "I'm so happy for him to get this move. In a difficult season, he was able to show his abilities and still step up. It shows the type of character and person he is. I've got a lot of respect for him, he's done so well for himself.

"He took control of what he could and the move is well-deserved. He's earned it and I'm proud of him. He's a great player and a great person, a humble, hard-working individual.

"I'm sure whoever is in front of him at Hearts in that position, they're going to have a tough competition. He was able to shine here in a very difficult season.

"Hearts are a great club that play amazing football. I think if he earns the opportunity to play, he'll grab it with both hands."