Ian Black admits he was gutted to be told he was not being kept on at Hearts next season but is now readied for a shot at the English leagues.
Life-long Jambo Black has won plaudits for his play in the Tynecastle engine room this season but is the latest victim of squad cuts as the club looks to reduce its wage bill.
Black, who signed on a free transfer from Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 2009, said: “I knew before that they were looking to reduce the squad the wage bill. I was pulled in and we agreed it was time for me to move on and try something else.
“I was obviously gutted, being a Hearts man and supporting the team and getting the opportunity to play here but you’ve got pick yourself up and I have enjoyed every minute of being here.
“I came out of there and thought to myself that I want to end this on a high and win the Scottish Cup final.”
While there are no offers on the table for the 27-year-old yet, Black said is happy to wait and hopes his phone will start ringing later this month. Fellow Scots like Craig Bryson and Chris Maguire made the move to the Championship down south last year and have flourished, and Black believes he can follow in their footsteps to be successful in England.
He said: “It’s going to be hard leaving a club of this size to go bigger but I know that England would be a great opportunity if it came along. To play as high as possible down there would be great.”
Controversy has followed the midfielder around in recent years, with a perceived discipline problem attached to him. A tackle which sidelined Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic last season saw Black take flak for his combative style, but he said that he thrives on the attention.
Black said: “I’m always going to have that reputation now but I can sit here and say that if you look at other SPL players at the moment their record is as bad as mine. There are certain players that no-one wants to write about because they’re a bit more high profile than me. You just have to take it with a pinch of salt.
“I get attention on the pitch from the players and the fans but I enjoy that. At least I’m being noticed.
“I’ve done well this season and people are touting me for Scotland so I’m not being noticed for discipline – I’m obviously being noticed for how I can play.”