Robbie Neilson relishes contract with Dundee United

Robbie Neilson
Neilson last played while on loan at Brentford last season

Robbie Neilson is hopeful of making his Dundee United debut on Saturday against former club Hearts after signing until the end of the season.

The 31-year-old full-back, capped once for Scotland, has been a free agent since leaving Leicester City in the summer after a loan spell at Brentford.

"I have been training the last couple of months, at United the last couple of days," said the former Hearts captain.

"And we have a bounce game tomorrow and I'll play in that. I feel I'm ready."

Neilson's debut at Tannadice depends on receiving international clearance in time.

"I hope to get that through in the next few days and then it's up to the manager," he told BBC Scotland.

Neilson came through the youth ranks at Tynecastle and that connection contributed to him being snapped up United manager Peter Houston.

"I got a phone call last week from Peter Houston, who I know quite well from my time at Hearts, and he gave me the opportunity to come back up to Scotland," said the defender, who hopes to win an extended deal.

"I had a few offers from England but nothing that was really appealing to me, so I am glad to be back playing in the SPL again.

"My contract is until the end of the season and I just want to play well and sort something out for next season."

Neilson moved to Leicester from Hearts in 2009 but found himself out of favour under Sven-Goran Eriksson last season.

"I played under Nigel Pearson and then played under Paulo Sousa when he came in, but then Eriksson came in, it was a new chairman and he had a big budget and brought in 13-14 players," explained United's new signing.

"And the majority of the boys who played the season before didn't play."

Houston explained that he was looking for more experience to help his young squad.

"It isn't often you get the opportunity to add someone with his ability and experience at this time of the season," Houston told the club website.

"He is a quality defender who can play right across the back four.

"Having him here will not only benefit the young lads at the club but also enhances our choices on a matchday.

"I've known him since he was a young lad at Hearts and, having played around 200 games for Hearts and also having played football in the Championship, he will bring great experience to the squad."

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