Hearts starlet ‘no brainer’ for Albion Rovers as Cliftonhill assistant set to come off loan after transfer arrives

Albion Rovers boss Brian Reid says he can’t say no to Hearts’ Harry Stone once the young goalkeeper is on loan.

The 19-year-old is highly rated at Hearts and is contracted to Tynecastle until 2023. But with limited minutes due to the form of number one Craig Gordon and a loan spell at Partick Thistle who failed worked out, Stone returned to Rovers.

He spent the second half of last season on loan at Cliftonhill and kept four clean sheets in an impressive 13 outings.

Reid’s number one this season – Cammy Binnie – has impressed with Chris Smith as his assistant. But Binnie should relish the challenge of competition while Smith is set for a loan spell, according to Reid.

He said: “Harry is the one I was trying to get at the start of the season. He had come and done so well for us, so Hearts knew we would be interested in him if he became available.

“We understood he went to Partick Thistle. We knew the situation but he came back to Hearts and then he became available. We already have a very good goalkeeper in Cammy Binnie.

“I told him he was doing well but we need competition for places. We now have two great goalkeepers and young Chris Smith is also a good goalkeeper.

“We may try to get him on loan because it’s not an advantage for him to sit on the bench every week and not play.

“It’s a competition and I hope it pushes Cammy and Harry to give their best and keep the shirt. When Harry became available it was a no-brainer to bring such a great prospect into the club.”

Reid says Stone’s instant impact on loan last season was a big factor behind the move: “We know what he came in and did for us last season. We were delighted with Cammy Binnie and that. is a good goalkeeper.

“He came in and did well, but when Harry became available this competition is important. I think it will help Cammy improve and it will probably help her fight and try to keep the shirt.

“For me it can’t hurt to have two great goalkeepers. We are delighted to let Harry and Cammy know there is a challenge ahead.”

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Stone ended his Thistle spell after four appearances this season as Hearts are keen for him to play every week – but Reid says that’s no guarantee.

The Rovers boss added: “There’s nothing in the contract about that. Of course Hearts want him to play and he played most of the games he was here for last season before he got injured. .

“There are good people at Hearts and they know how it works. It’s a challenge for both goalkeepers to earn that number one spot – and you’d expect them both to know that.

“They are good professionals and they are fully aware of that.”

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