Hearts agree pre-contract deal to sign Livingston's James Penrice

The left-back will make the move to Tynecastle this summer.

Hearts agree pre-contract deal to sign Livingston’s James Penrice SNS Group

James Penrice has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Hearts when his Livingston contract expires this summer.

The full-back has been linked with a number of clubs since entering the last six months of his current deal and has committed to moving to Tynecastle.

Penrice moved to Livingston from Partick Thistle in 2021 and has gone on to make 109 appearances in all competitions, scoring four times.

His performances for the Lions caught the eye of the Hearts recruitment team and they have persuaded him that his future lies with Steven Naismith’s side.

Speaking in January, when a link with Hearts first emerged and Penrice was free to talk to other clubs, Livingston boss David Martindale said that he had no qualms about continuing to pick the player and that his character meant he would do everything to help his side avoid the drop.

“I’m quite happy to put my trust in James,” Martindale said. “I know he’s going to give it everything he’s got to try and help keep us in the league.

“So I don’t think it’ll have an adverse effect.

“I signed him when he was at Partick Thistle so I would like to think I’ve got a good relationship with him. I’ve been very tough on him over the years because I know the potential that he’s got.

“To be honest, James has been playing through injury to try and keep Livingston in the Premiership.

“I think it would have been very easy for him to say ‘Gaffer..’ (and sit games out) because he genuinely is injured, carrying a knock and has been playing through it.

“It’s a knock that he could have dipped himself out of the squad and I think that shows you the character and personality of James. It means a lot to him.

“So I’ve got no qualms about this (situation). It was the same with Nicky Devlin last year.

“Different people deal with it differently.”

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