Hearts manager Robbie Neilson hailed Stephen Kingsley as one of the top defenders in Scotland after he signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal.
The 27-year-old moved to Tynecastle in 2020 and has established himself as a key member of a team now riding high in the cinch Premiership.
Kingsley’s initial deal was due to expire at the end of this term, but he has now committed himself to Hearts until the summer of 2025.
Neilson told Hearts’ website: “It’s fantastic to get Stephen committed to Hearts for another three seasons.
“He’s gone from strength to strength since he arrived here and he’s undoubtedly one of the country’s top defenders.
“It’s a big boost for us and everyone here is delighted to get it sorted.”
Kingsley – a set-piece specialist – has chipped in with nine goals in 48 appearances since arriving from Hull at the start of last season.
Sporting director Joe Savage said: “Stephen’s made such a big impact since joining the club and he’s a really popular figure behind the scenes.
“His quality on the pitch is there for all to see and I’m sure the fans will be as happy as we are to get this deal completed.
“Stephen’s been a crucial part of the project here at Hearts and the exciting thing is that we’re only in the early stages. The club is in a strong position and there is definitely more to come.”
Kingsley’s new deal is a further boost to Hearts after goalkeeper Craig Gordon and defender Craig Halkett both recently extended their contracts.
Scotland centre-back John Souttar, however, appears certain to decline the chance to stay at Tynecastle as he weighs up several pre-contract offers from elsewhere.