Hearts boss Robbie Neilson has revealed his delighted after Michael Smith agreed to sign a new contract at Tynecastle.

Smith, who has been at Hearts since 2017, has signed a new 18-month deal at the club. That will keep him at Hearts until the end of the 2021-22 season.

The 32-year-old has been a regular for Hearts in recent seasons. Indeed, so far this season he has started nine of Hearts’ 10 league games. Interestingly, the one he missed saw Hearts suffer a 3-1 loss to Dundee. Perhaps that might not have happened have he been on the pitch.

Full of praise for player

Neilson was full of praise for the right-back, and how vital he is to the team.

Heart of Midlothian v Inverness Caledonian Thistle - Scottish Championship

Michael Smith in action for Hearts (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images)

“I’m really pleased that Michael has agreed a contract extension” he said (official Hearts website).

“Michael’s a really important player for us and a top player too. He has a wealth of experience and is an international standard player, which is great for the club” he continued.

Influential in the squad

Neilson also disclosed the 32-year-old Northern Ireland international is very respected by the younger members of the squad. Indeed, he is a player that they look up to.

Alloa Athletic v Heart of Midlothian

Hearts’ Michael Smith has signed a new contract at Tynecastle (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group via Getty Images)

“He’s been a mainstay from when he joined Hearts, and I’ve really enjoyed working with him since I’ve come in, and I know he’s a player the younger guys look up to as well” Neilson said.

Even though Smith is in his 30s, he is still a very important player for Hearts. It would be no shock to see him continue as first choice right-back at the club for the next few seasons. Indeed, his experience will be vital should the club return to the Premiership next season.

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