After the bitter disappointment – and embarrassment – of going out of the Europa League at the second qualifying round to Maltese side Birkirkara, Hearts today strengthened their squad with the signing of US born striker Bjorn Johnsen on a three year contract.

Johnsen, who holds dual American and Norwegian citizenship, has signed a three year deal at Tynecastle, subject to international clearance being received. The 6’ 5” striker was recently released from Bulgarian side Litex Lovech and is the fifth forward player to sign for Hearts in recent weeks. He told the official Hearts website

“Hearts made an offer, I felt really wanted by them and I’m delighted to come here now.

“I’m a fast player and I’m good with my feet and in the air. I want to help out, providing assists and not just goals is key.

“This league is looking like it’s going to be tough this year and I want to be pushing at the top of the table.

“There are high expectations here and I want to help fulfil them.

“So yeah, I’m really excited to be here. The stadium is amazing, there’s a new stand being put up and I want to be part of this new phase for the club.”

Meanwhile, in the wake of Thursday’s shock defeat – the first time any Scots side has lost to Maltese opposition – Hearts Head Coach Robbie Neilson admitted he and the players were ‘devastated’ by the result in front of a disbelieving Maroon Army.

Neilson told the official Hearts website:

“We hit the bar twice, and missed the penalty, and in European football these fine margins cost you because you can be hit by a sucker punch.

“We’re a young team and a young coaching team too, and we need to try and learn from the mistakes we’ve made on nights like this one, because it’s no good for anybody.”