|Andy Webster will play for Hearts again after the former Tynecastle captain signed a new two-and-a-half-year contract. Hearts won the race for his autograph after Webster had held talks with Hibs and attracted interest from several other clubs. Webster left Hearts in pioneering and acrimonious circumstances in 2006. The centre-back was frozen out of the team by owner Vladimir Romanov towards the end of the club's Scottish Cup-winning season after refusing to extend his contract, which had a year left to run. He then became the first player to use FIFA's Article 17 rule that allows a player to leave a club of his own accord after a specified period of time, joining Wigan before quickly moving to Rangers, initially on loan. Hearts chased for £4.5million for Webster but the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland finally ruled that Webster was liable to pay only £150,000, the sum being paid by Wigan before they sold him to Rangers. This sort of thing never goes down well with fans who would do anything to play for their club but Webster claimed his decision to choose Hearts now above others shows how much the club means to him.
Hearts manager Jim Jefferies revealed earlier this week that Romanov had given him the go-ahead to pursue Webster despite initially being surprised by the proposal. Webster said: "I am delighted to have rejoined Hearts and am very grateful to the manager and owners for giving me the chance to return to a club that means a lot to me. A lot was written at the time I left and the circumstances were indeed unfortunate, but the fact I have returned to a club which means so much to me - particularly when there were opportunities at other clubs - says everything I need to say on my return. Now my entire focus is on the future and helping Hearts secure European football. I come back to the club that gave me the base for a successful club and international career as a more experienced player."