Hearts chief executive Andrew McKinlay hopes the loan market can help the Scottish Premiership club build ‘informal relationships’ with big sides – as he hopes Brighton and Hove Albion talent Alex Cochrane extends his Gorgie stay.

Brighton have sent Cochrane to Tynecastle for the 2020/21 season, despite holding a strategic partnership agreement with Hearts’ Edinburgh rivals Hibs. There are other clubs in Scotland – like Rangers – who have entered into strategic partnerships but this is not something Hearts have entered into as of yet.

Brighton & Hove Albion U21 v Newport County - Leasing.com Trophy

Cochrane is on-loan from Brighton and could stick around in Gorgie beyond his season-long agreement currently in place. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

McKinlay has helped bring talent from the likes of Brighton, Bristol City, Everton and Liverpool into manager Robbie Neilson’s squad. Cochrane is one player he hopes to see stay in Gorgie beyond next summer as McKinlay explains his view on strategic relationships.

He said: “It is all about building informal relationships with these clubs because you need to be careful about certain things in a strategic relationship. But it’s not to say we won’t ever have a strategic relationship, however. Our friends across the city have a strategic partnership with Brighton, yet we have Alex Cochrane on loan from Brighton.

“I am really happy we have got Alex and I hope he is here for the longer term as well.”

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