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Kyle Lafferty and Mark Randall ended the 2007/08 season together at Burnley and both were on the move yesterday, one to a new club and the other out of the one where he spent last season.

Both players left Burnley at the end of that season. Lafferty engineered his move to Rangers with a public attack on Owen Coyle (the first but not the last Claret to do so) via the Belfast press while Randall returned to Arsenal after an unsuccessful loan.

After taking the option to get out of Rangers when they were demoted three divisions, Lafferty moved on to FC Sion in Switzerland and Palermo in Italy before signing for Norwich three years ago. It proved to be an unsuccessful return to English football. He hardly got a kick for the Carrow Road club and spent time out on loan with Çaykur Rizespor in his first season before a short time at Birmingham in 2015/16. His only success during this time was with Northern Ireland and their run to the finals of last year’s Euros in France.

It was no surprise to see him released by Norwich and yesterday he returned to Scotland. His destination for some time has looked like Edinburgh with both Hearts and Hibs keen but when Hibs failed to agree terms it left the coast clear for Hearts who completed the signing yesterday.

Hearts are delighted to have signed Lafferty, the second highest goalscorer in Northern Ireland history. Owner Ann Budge said: “We are absolutely delighted that Kyle is joining us. From our first meeting there was a clear willingness and desire to make this deal happen on both sides. This is a real win-win for both parties and I am confident that Kyle will become a real fans’ favourite.”

Lafferty himself is pleased to be back north of the border. He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be back in Scotland to play my football and most importantly to play for a massive team like Hearts. I just wanted to come somewhere where I can play football.

“Coming here, knowing how passionate the fans are about their club and their football, it’s important that I was coming to a place where I know I’d get along with the supporters.”

Meanwhile, Randall, who made just two starts for Burnley having come in on loan in January 2008, is looking for a new club after his contract with Newport County was terminated by mutual agreement.

When he was with us, a bright future was forecast for him but it hasn’t really worked out as many thought. He had loans with home town club Milton Keynes and Rotherham before leaving Arsenal for Chesterfield. From there he moved to Ascoli, MK and Barnet before switching to Newport last summer on a two year deal.

Two changes of manager during last season made a difference and he accused the Graham Westley, who had an ill fated time in charge, of treating him unfairly. Westley, who commuted from London when he was Preston manager, wasn’t happy that Randall was spending a lot of time back in Buckinghamshire with his partner, expecting a second child, having moved closer to her family.

He returned to the side under Michael Flynn and was an influential player during their run of good form that saw them climb out of the bottom two and to safety.

However, his desire to return has seen him leave Newport with the club confirming yesterday: “Newport County AFC have terminated Mark Randall’s contract by mutual consent due to family reasons.

“Mark played an important part in the club achieving the ‘Great Escape’ last season and we wish him all the best in his future career.”

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