Hearts: New signing Kyle Lafferty says club are biggest in Edinburgh

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I was always going to choose Hearts over Hibs - Kyle Lafferty

Kyle Lafferty says he has joined the "biggest club in Edinburgh and the third-biggest club in Scotland" after signing for Hearts.

Lafferty, 29, signed a two-year deal at Tynecastle after leaving Norwich City on a free transfer.

The Northern Ireland striker was also wanted by Hibernian, but said his "heart didn't really want to be there".

"Where Hearts want to go, I want to play a massive part in it," Lafferty said.

The striker, who has 58 international caps, won three Scottish top-flight titles during a spell with Rangers from 2008-2012. He has also played for Burnley, Swiss side Sion and Italian outfit Palermo.

Lafferty was accused by his compatriot Keith Gillespie - the former Manchester United and Newcastle winger who now acts as an agent - of disrespecting Hibs by failing to show up for talks with manager Neil Lennon.

However, Lafferty says a move to Tynecastle was always his preferred option.

"I think it would be disrespectful from me towards Hearts to negotiate for four days and then go across the city to speak to Hibs," he said.

"I can probably say my heart did not want to be there. I showed Hearts massive respect by staying here. The chairwoman here Ann Budge wouldn't let me out the office door anyway.

Kyle Lafferty
Kyle Lafferty has scored 20 goals for Northern Ireland

"She told me to go in there with a cup of tea - then she locked the door. The only way out was through the window and I didn't really fancy jumping down three storeys.

"Keith can come out and say what he wants. I've come here with my actual agent Martin [Lyon]. We spoke for four days solid and it was well worth it as I'm now a Hearts player."

In his spell with Rangers Lafferty was never far from controversy, with perhaps the most notable incident coming in a match in 2009 when he feigned injury to get Aberdeen's Charlie Mulgrew sent off.

He believes he has matured since his last spell in Scotland and Hearts will reap the benefits of a player hungry for playing time after a frustrating few seasons at club level.

"Everyone remembers me from the Charlie Mulgrew incident and other stupid things I've done. I have definitely matured since I left Rangers in 2012. I came to Scotland nine years ago as a young boy to play for the team I supported.

"Did I do as well as I wanted to? Probably not but I did score some important goals for Rangers.

"This is the first time in about 13 years that I've been looking forward to a pre-season. There is a space for us to push up towards the top of the league. If we keep this team, we will do well.

"European football is a target and there is no reason why we can't reach our goals. It was an easy decision for me to come after hearing what the manager had to say, what he wants me to do and where he wants to take the team.

"They have matched my expectations as well and I actually can't wait to get started."

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