It was the attraction of trying something different, a new challenge, that brought Taylor Moore to Tynecastle. The defender has spent the last few seasons on loan at Bury, Cheltenham Town, Southend United and Blackpool, before agreeing to join Hearts in the summer on loan from parent club, Bristol City.
The 24-year-old has played at centre back, right back and right wing-back this season and has rarely put a foot wrong when pulling on a maroon shirt and filling in for Hearts’ regular starter Michael Smith, who has been missed the odd game through injury.
Moore has been more than adequate in the absence of the Northern Irishman. His contract at Bristol City runs until the summer of 2023 and admits that he is enjoying his time at Hearts but recognises that important conversations lie ahead.
“The first question the manager asked me when I spoke to him was ‘what do I want to get out of this loan?’ I just said to him ‘I just want to feel part of something special, but also get as many games as possible under my belt”, said Moore.
“I’ve definitely felt that here,” he added. “The club, despite the tough times it’s had over recent seasons, is back where it belongs.
“They’ve got everything here. They’ve got good facilities, a good stadium, a good fanbase, a very good sporting director, a good manager and everyone around the club has made me feel special since being here.
“For me to sit here and say I haven’t thought about the future would be a lie, but ultimately I’ve got 18 months left on my contract at Bristol City, which is a very good club, a big club that I love to bits as well.
“It’ll be their decision. I’m sure they’ll make the right decision, making sure that all parties are happy, whether that’s them, the club I’m going to or myself, but it will come down to me. Where do I feel happy, where do I feel settled, where do I feel that I want to play my football.
“I have been thinking about it, but that’s a conversation to have with Bristol City at some point, but I’m very happy here on loan at the moment, so I’m not in any rush to make a decision at the moment.”
The defender had the difficult task of trying to keep Ryan Kent at bay last weekend when Hearts lost their first home league match of the season against Rangers.
Tynecastle was sold out for the clash and Moore admits it’s those sorts of matches against those sorts of players that will see him develop as a player whilst in Scotland.
“I think I will learn more here. I had the opportunity to go to a couple of teams in England, in League One, but I’ve kind of already done that, so when the opportunity came to come up to Hearts and play Scottish football, it was a bit different and that was the main challenge for me.
“I thought ‘Go and enjoy your football in front of a good set of fans, go and enjoy Edinburgh and learn to play in a new division as well’. I’m coming up against some very good players that will teach me a lot. It’s something different for me, but I’m hoping it’s going to help me develop, as I’m still quite young at 24.
“I’ve had a lot of loans and I’m coming to an age now where I’d like to settle down and really kick on, develop my game even more with a club that actually want me.
On Ryan Kent, Moore laughed: “Trust me, none of you want to chase him around for 90 minutes, that’s for sure. He’s a very good player. One that I came across at Bristol City when he was on loan there a few years ago. I did a lot of research on him, but you saw it at the first goal the ability and turn of pace he has. It’s the reason he’s been linked with so many big money moves down to the Premier League.
“Rangers were a very good team in general, but looking at us, we can walk away with our heads held high despite the result. People watching this Hearts team would agree that we got stuck into them, we had a really good go. I think people would be proud this Hearts team is going up against the big two.”
Hearts travel to Dundee on Saturday hoping to gain revenge on the Dark Blues, who snatched a late point from Tynecastle earlier in the season through Jason Cummings.
Games against St Johnstone and Ross County will follow for the Jambos, before the New Year Derby at Easter Road and Moore says he is looking forward to the busy festive schedule as well as spending Christmas in Edinburgh.
“I’m looking forward to it. We’ve got some interesting fixtures and then after that I’m finally going to get a break as well. We’ve got some fixtures where we’ll be looking to pick up quite a few points from them. We’ll try to make the gap between us and the other teams that little bit bigger.
I’ve been really impressed with the level of Scottish football, in general. It’ll be really nice to have a Christmas period up here for a change.”