Hearts confirm Jon McLaughlin's likely exit and interest in Inverness' Jake Mulraney

Inverness Caledonian Thistle's Jake Mulraney and Hearts' Jon McLaughlin
Jake Mulraney could join Hearts as Jon McLaughlin leaves

Manager Craig Levein has conceded that goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin will likely leave Hearts and admitted interest in Inverness CT's Jake Mulraney.

Talks are under way with Caledonian Thistle about a swap deal involving winger Mulraney and fellow 22-year-old midfielder Angus Beith.

McLaughlin, 30, joined Hearts after leaving Burton Albion last summer.

"Jon will probably move back down to England," Levein said. "He will move on with my best wishes."

McLaughlin, who made his Football League debut with Bradford City after time in non-league action with Harrogate Town, has played 33 times for Hearts this season.

Only champions-elect Celtic have conceded fewer Premiership goals this season and the goalkeeper's form led to a first-ever call-up to the Scotland squad in March.

"I've had numerous discussions with him and he's had interest from some fairly big clubs," Levein admitted.

"We can't compete with that financially and Jon and I have spoken regularly about it.

"He's been a great player to have around the dressing-room as well as on the field."

Levein has started work on finding a replacement and has also been involved in negotiations with former Hearts boss John Robertson, now in charge of Caley Thistle, about Mulraney and Beith.

Hearts midfielder Angus Beith
The 22-year-old Angus Beith has only made one start for Hearts

"Nothing is signed and sealed," Levein admitted. "I've been speaking to Robbo back and forwards.

"Angus is a player that we like but has had problems injury wise.

"While he's been injured, some of the younger ones have improved past him and, because of that, he's probably not had as much game time as he'd like at his age.

"It's a fantastic situation for him and also for young Jake. We are looking for somebody in the wide area with real pace.

"Hopefully it will work for both parties."

Irishman Mulraney joined Caley Thistle after leaving Queens Park Rangers in 2016 following loan spells with Dagenham & Redbridge and Stevenage and has played 32 times this season for the Championship side.

Since Beith, who is out of contract this summer, made the first of his three senior appearances for Hearts in 2014, the midfielder has had a series of loan spells with Stirling Albion, Stenhousemuir and Stranraer.

He joined Stranraer in December and scored eight goals in 16 outings for the League One outfit before his season was cut short in February by a hip operation.

Levein has already confirmed two additions to his squad for next season - strikers Uche Ikpeazu, currently with Cambridge United, and Steven MacLean, of St Johnstone.

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