EXCLUSIVE: Cahill courts Hearts and Hibernian after Millwall miss


Tim Cahill’s urgent hunt for a new club has switched from England to Scotland, with Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian both sounded out this week by representatives of the Socceroos star.

With Millwall confirming overnight that, contrary to reports, the veteran striker is not on their radar, sources north of the border have confirmed that Cahill has offered himself up as a low budget option until the end of the Scottish Premiership season.

Hearts look the more promising of the possibilities, since they are about to reap $1 million from the probable sale of striker Kyle Lafferty to a Middle East or Asian club.

If that move goes ahead then coach Craig Levein will be in the market for a replacement, and Cahill could offer stop-gap value.

Their Edinburgh rivals Hibernian, coached by former Celtic boss Neil Lennon, last week clinched the loan signing of Australia striker Jamie Maclaren from SV Darmstadt until the end of the season, and with a complement of three strikers appear a long-shot.

They face each other at Tynecastle at the resumption from the winter break in the Scottish Cup on Monday (ADT).

Should all else fail, according to one source, Cahill might even canvass the prospect of playing under former Socceroos teammate Harry Kewell, now the rookie coach at English League Two club Crawley Town.

Millwall, meanwhile, were perplexed by reports of Cahill’s imminent return to club were he made his name in English football, scoring 56 goals in 249 games between 1998-2004 and helping them to the 2004 FA Cup final.

A free agent since departing Melbourne City in December, Cahill is keen to shore up his club future to ensure himself a spot in Australia’s FIFA World Cup squad for Russia.

A former teammate and roommate of Lions coach Neil Harris, Cahill played an advisory role when sometime Socceroo James Meredith moved from Bradford City to the Den in the northern summer.

Left-back Meredith, who is having an impressive season for the newly promoted Championship club, believes that Cahill still has plenty to offer - no matter where he goes.

“Tim is a legend at Millwall and the fans still love him,” he said.

“I don’t how true the reports are (of interest from Millwall) but he is a special player, Australia’s best ever.

“He is a bit magic ... he turns up with that goal on the special occasion and is in the right spot at the right time.

“His finishing, head or feet, is excellent. On top of that, he brings a great morale boost wherever he goes because of his big personality.

“He’s a genuine role model. I’m a friend of his and have a lot of respect for him.”

Meredith, 29, used Cahill as a sounding board before signing with the south-east London club.

“I called him up to ask what Millwall was like and he really endorsed the club,” he said.

“That was a big part in me coming here ... there were a couple of other Championship clubs interested and I was pretty 50/50 at that point. It’s proved a good decision.”