James Keatings: Striker moves to Hearts after leaving Hamilton

Hearts have signed James Keatings on a two-year contract after the striker rejected a new deal with promoted Hamilton Academical.

Keatings, 22, scored 15 goals in 35 appearances as Accies finished Championship runners-up and eventually won promotion via the play-offs.

He started his career at Celtic and was sent on loan to St Johnstone and Hamilton before joining the latter.

He could have stayed and played in the Premiership with Hamilton but he recognises that there's an opportunity here for him to progress

Robbie Neilson Hearts head coach

"I'm pleased to get him," head coach Robbie Neilson told the Hearts website.

"He's a good character and a top development prospect for us.

"I've known him for a number of years and watched him at Celtic where he scored a lot of goals in the youth teams and U20s.

"The pleasing thing with James is that he had the opportunity to stay at Celtic, but because he didn't see a pathway for himself he decided to take the opportunity to leave and go to Hamilton.

"He dropped down to try to forge a career and to see that desire is great. He had the ambition to go out and take a chance and try to prove himself in a first-team environment. He did fantastically well for Hamilton at the start of last season but then picked up a wee injury.

"He could have stayed and played in the Premiership with Hamilton but he recognises that there's an opportunity here for him to progress.

Hearts, who signed former Dundee United midfielder Morgaro Gomis on Thursday, were relegated to the Championship after finishing bottom of the Premiership.

A 15-point deduction for suffering an insolvency event was the main catalyst for their demotion but the club exited administration on Wednesday.