Boss explains Andy absence
By Ben Blackmore. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
New Hearts manager George Burley has moved to quash rumours of a bust-up between the club and Andy Webster.
Webster was suspiciously absent from Hearts' pre-season tour of Ireland, with many believing that the talented centre back has his heart set on a move to Rangers. However, Burley laughed off such suggestions, and claimed that Webster merely needed a longer break.
"Andy spoke to me and he has not had long off so we gave him a bit more time with the family. He will be back at training on Thursday," Burley told the Hearts website.
"He did not refuse to come. He spoke to me and we agreed that maybe it would be best for him to have a few more days off in view of the busy schedule he had last season. We did not play Steven Pressley today either."
On the reported interest of Rangers in the 23-year-old, a defiant Burley stressed that he would not be selling Webster unless the deal suited the club.
"There has been no official offer from Rangers but there is no doubt it has unsettled the boy.
"At the end of the day I want Andy to stay. If it was a situation that was right for the club then it is something we would have to look at but there has been no official offer, and I have said to Andy since I came here that I want to keep the boy.
"I will not be steamrollered into letting him go - he has a two-year contract - and it is as simple as that."
Aside from the Webster transfer rumours, Burley has stated that his plans are only aimed at improving the squad and he has been quick to let the club know who he wants to bring in.
"I have already spoken to the club about players I would like to bring in. The club let nine players go over the summer and we do need to strengthen. I have to have a look at everybody, assess it, and then take it from there."
Burley was speaking after Heart's pre-season friendly against St Patrick's Athletic, a game that finished goalless and saw defender Graham Weir stretchered off with an ankle injury.
On Weir's injury, Burley revealed: "We'll get it scanned and X-rayed tomorrow, and then we will know more about the extent of the damage. I think you would be talking about a couple of weeks anyway, although it is too early to say."