Smith, Mackay-Steven and Stewart to leave Hearts at end of season

The Tynecastle club has announced the trio will leave when their contracts expire.

Michael Smith, Gary Mackay-Steven and Ross Stewart to leave Hearts at end of season SNS Group

Hearts have announced that Michael Smith, Gary Mackay-Steven and Ross Stewart will all leave the club at the end of the season.

The trio’s existing contracts at Tynecastle expire after this weekend’s closing game against Hibernian and they will not be signing extensions with the club.

For Smith, the departure will mark the end of six years with Hearts. The Northern Ireland international moved to Edinburgh from Peterborough United in the summer of 2017 and went on to make more than 200 appearances for the club, scoring nine goals.

Mackay Steven joined the club in January 2020 and helped the club gain promotion to the top flight. He played for Hearts 64 times, scoring nine goals.

Stewart moved to Tynecastle in summer 2020, initially on loan and played nine times but was behind Craig Gordon and Zander Clark in the pecking order and found opportunities limited.

Hearts interim manager Steven Naismith said: “All three of them have been fantastic to work with since I came into the first-team scene.

“They’re all at different stages of their careers and have faced different challenges this season but they’ve always given nothing less than 100% and they should be proud to be part of this club’s history.

“I wish them and their families nothing but success in the future.”

Sporting director Joe Savage added: “All three of these guys have played a part in helping this club to return to the top end of Scottish football.

“Michael’s performances saw him become a real fans’ favourite and the way he went about his business meant that he was someone that the younger players looked up to.

“Ross came in to bolster the goalkeeping department, working with international standard goalkeepers, and never let us down when he got the opportunity to take the gloves.

“Gary was part of our promotion-winning team and helped us to secure third place last season and with it group stage European football, and he’s been desperately unlucky with injuries this term.

“We thank all three for their services to Hearts and wish them well in the future.”

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