FORMER Hearts midfielder Andy Irving admits he is looking forward to a new challenge after joining SK Austria Klagenfurt on a three-year deal.

The 22-year-old became a free agent in March when German third division outfit Türkgücü Münich, whom he joined last summer after departing Tynecastle, went bankrupt.

Irving trained with German second their sides Karlsruher and Paderborn before eventually making the switch to the Austrian top-flight club, who finished sixth last season.

Irving said: “Even as a guest player, I immediately felt at home in the team.

“The lads were very open and accepted me into the group. That was definitely one of the reasons why I chose Austria.

“I’ve followed the last games of the season and I'm already looking forward to playing in the Bundesliga. It's a big challenge and for me it's the next step in my career.”

Klagenfurt sporting director Matthias Imhof said: “We are totally happy that we were able to realise this transfer despite well-known competition and win Andy for our club.

“We are fully convinced of his qualities and are sure that he will play a central role in the team. 

"This is a guy who can set the rhythm, play the last pass and become dangerous himself in the end.

"He's still young and capable of development, but he already has experience at a high level.”