Conor Sammon aims high with Hearts after signing three-year deal

New Hearts arrivals Faycal Rherras and Conor Sammon
New Hearts arrivals Faycal Rherras and Conor Sammon (right)

New striker Conor Sammon thinks Hearts can improve upon their third place finish in last season's Premiership.

Sammon and defender Faycal Rherras teamed up with the rest of the squad for pre-season training, with both men signing three-year contracts.

Hearts open their Europa League qualifying campaign on 30 June.

"The objective is to improve on last season's position and there's no reason we can't do that with this group of players and the manager," said Sammon.

"The club did incredibly well last season after getting promoted.

"I want to be challenging for the highest position we can and I'm excited by the prospect of being part of something really successful here."

Sammon, released by Derby County, returns to the Scottish top flight five years after leaving Kilmarnock for Wigan Athletic.

"I feel that I've improved in lots of different areas," the 29-year-old told BBC Scotland.

"I'm definitely stronger. I've had the opportunity to work with some good fitness coaches.

"Technically, I've been rubbing shoulders with some top drawer talent and that can only help.

"Mentally is another area that often gets overlooked. I was on some loan moves, which can be difficult because you're spending a lot of time travelling and you're away from the family.

"So I've improved from some positive and some negative experiences down south."

The Irishman spent last season on loan to Sheffield United, playing 33 times for the English League One club and scoring six goals.

And he revealed that he had "a couple of other offers" and had a "brief chat" with Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.

"Playing at Tynecastle was always one of the best away days, the atmosphere is top class," Sammon added.

"I can only imagine what it's like as a home player when the team is doing the business on the park. It helped make the decision to come here an easy one."

Conor Sammon (right) in action for Sheffield United against Manchester United
Sammon (right) spent the past season on loan to Sheffield United

The 23-year-old Rherras has left Sint-Truiden after two years with the Belgian top-flight club.

"Faycal is a player with real potential and will be a big boost to the defence," Head coach Robbie Neilson told his club website.

"He's played at a good level in Belgium and has been involved in the Moroccan international scene, so it's quite a coup to get him."

Left-sided Rherras, who was born in Liege, played 28 times last season for Sint-Truiden, for whom he signed from Vise in 2014.

Hearts' double signing came the day after 20-year-old Robbie Muirhead signed on at Tynecastle after leaving Dundee United, while fellow striker Gavin Reilly joined Dunfermline Athletic on loan.

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