Motherwell boss Stuart Kettlewell has confirmed Heart of Midlothian's have been in contact with Blair Spittal - and he admitted the Steelmen can't compete with what the Gorgie side can offer.

It is understood the midfielder has agreed to a pre-contract with Hearts which will see him move to Tynecastle Park in the summer when his deal at Fir Park expires. He is set to be joined by James Penrice and Yan Dhanda who are in the same position.

READ MORE: Why Hearts agreed Blair Spittal deal: Versatility, technique, intelligence

"From my side of it, all I can tell you is that we know there’s been contact," Kettlwell said. "The level of that contact and where that sits, Hearts have obviously been the team that has been documented there, I can’t confirm to you.

“That’s quite clearly Hearts’ business and where they’re at, and they’re not doing anything out of turn if they’re speaking to any of our out-of-contract players. But the fight that we’ve always got, and it always sounds as if you’re going down the money route, which ultimately is a thing, is that if a club like Hearts wants to come in and speak to one of our out-of-contract players they can double, treble, what we can offer them.

“That’s not me pleading poverty, it’s literally the honest state of affairs."

Kettlewell was keen to stress to Motherwell fans that he "would love to keep Blair Spittal at this club". He also made it aware he is "99.9 per cent convinced" the player would be "committed to this club and will give everything" between now and the end of the season.

“I’m certain of that because I know the lad so well," he said. "I’m certain of that because of how I watch him train and play every week."