The club can this evening confirm that midfielder Andy Irving has returned to parent club Heart of Midlothian.

The 17-year-old featured 24 times for the ‘Gers throughout in the opening half of the season. Irving netted twice during his time at the club, both coming in a 3-1 win over Clyde on the opening day of the season.

Irving missed the defeat to Annan as he travelled to Spain with Hearts to complete a winter training camp. He featured in two friendlies during the camp, scoring a freekick in a 1-1 draw with Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem. His performances in the two games impressed the Hearts coaching staff and so they have recalled Irving with plans to involve him in the first team squad.

Manager Robbie Horn is disappointed to lose Irving but couldn’t be happier for the player: “I’m gutted to lose Andy but at the same time it’s a great opportunity. He’s got fantastic ability and I think other sides of his game have improved since coming to Berwick. I suppose it’s a feather in our cap that both him and Marcus have returned to Hearts as better players with an opportunity of playing for the first team. He’s a good lad and we wish him all the best for his future.”

Irivng was thankful for the club giving him a platform to develop: “I’d like to thank the staff, players and fans for my time at the club. I have loved every minute of my time at Berwick and feel I have developed as a player since arriving. I have to thank the gaffer for giving me the opportunity to play and going forward I really hope Berwick can kick on and get what they deserve. All the best.”

As Irving departs he will be instantly replaced by midfielder Alex Petkov, again on a development loan from Heart of Midlothian.

18-year-old Petkov moved across to Hearts from Bulgaria after impressing during a trial in 2016. He featured regularly for the Under 20s and last summer made his senior debut v East Fife in the Betfred Cup. Petkov will add a physical presence to squad and is capable of playing both midfield and centre back.

Manager Robbie Horn feels Petkov’s versatility will be a boost to the squad: “With Andy returning to Hearts they have offered us Alex as a replacement. He’s a different type of player from Andy but again is comfortable on the ball. He has a physical presence and though predominantly a midfielder he can also cover at Centre Half. With the injury to Bob Wilson it was important that we had another option in there.”

Alex is expected to go straight into the match day squad ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Elgin City, which of course is subject to a 4pm pitch inspection.