It’s not news Livi fans will want to hear, but it looks more likely that a new back three will be needed next term. First it was Declan Gallagher’s reported departure, now it’s the turn of club captain Craig Halkett to be linked with a move away.
Halkett is reportedly a target for a numerous clubs both north and south of the border according to the Daily Express,(21st February, page 54), with Hearts and Hibernian both having reported interest in the centre-half.
Halkett has been the leader in Livi’s return to the Premiership, and has been one of their most impressive performers this season. This has attracted interest from various clubs. It looks unlikely Livi will see him in black and gold next term.
Aberdeen were another club interested in the defender, but this is one club he shouldn’t move to. The Dons have Scott McKenna and Mikey Devlin as their first choice centre-halves. He would feature for Derek McInnes’ men, but it wouldn’t be on a regular basis.
Halkett has played every minute of Livingston’s campaign this year, and it’s likely he will want a similar return wherever he goes next. A move down south would benefit his finances, but how much football he would play is questionable. You only have to look to the likes of Mark O’Hara and Jason Cummings to see what happens to Premiership stars who move down south. It doesn’t work for everyone.
He is out of contract in the summer, so Halkett can speak to whoever he pleases at this moment in time. With strong interest from the two teams in the capital, would a move to either of these sides be beneficial for the Livi leader?
Halkett would fit in well at both sides
Hearts and Hibs are two good destinations. At Tynecastle, Halkett could make himself a mainstay. The Jambos need bodies in defence, with Conor Shaughnessy’s loan up in the summer and Clevid Dikamona not penning a new deal in Gorgie yet. Aaron Hughes is also set to move on when his current deal expires.
Craig Levein could also mould Halkett into the heir for Christophe Berra. The Hearts captain is on the wrong side of 30, and he will only have a few seasons left at the highest level. Halkett could learn from Berra, before taking his place in the team alongside John Souttar when the time comes for Berra to take a backseat.
Hibs also present a decent opportunity for Halkett. Ryan Porteous has suffered a serious knee injury and Darnell Johnson’s loan is up at the end of the season. This leaves Hibs with Darren McGregor and Paul Hanlon as their only centre-backs.
Halkett has arguably performed better than both Hanlon and McGregor this season, and with McGregor now at 33 years of age, Halkett would most likely take his spot in the Hibs starting XI. Easter Road would most likely give the Lions defender the most game time in the short-term. Once Porteous returns though, he could find himself out of the side. Halkett would really have to perform to keep Porteous on the sidelines.
Of course the Livi captain could remain in West Lothian, but this looks more unlikely by the day. Halkett has been a terrific servant for Livingston, and the club have been great for his career. It has been a successful partnership, but it may be over in the Summer.
The two Edinburgh sides offer exciting opportunities for Halkett. He would add some great defensive quality to both sides. The teams from the capital could both be doing with the Livingston defender.