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Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 17:35 UK

Bristol City wrap up Hartley deal

Paul Hartley
Hartley has spent only one year in English football, at Millwall

Scotland midfielder Paul Hartley has dismissed claims he is dropping down a level after joining Bristol City.

The 32-year-old's contract with Celtic had expired and Greek side Iraklis Saloniki had also offered him a deal.

Hartley, who has 22 Scotland caps, made 36 appearances for Celtic last term but feels the Championship is a step up.

He told BBC Radio Bristol: "The standard will probably be higher. This is a tough league and 10 or 12 teams think they can get to the Premiership."

Hartley was told by new Bhoys manager Tony Mowbray he was free to move on.

Hearts were also keen to take Hartley back to Tynecastle, having sold him to Celtic for £1.1m in 2007, but City won the race for his signature.

The player added: "I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's going to be tough because it's a very competitive league but it's one that I look forward to.

"I've come here to try and help the team progress. In the last few years I've won things and I hope to maintain that here.

"I bring the experience of winning big matches and playing in those occasions and I'll try and help the younger players progress.

"It's something I look forward to and hopefully we'll be challenging at the end of the season."

And manager Gary Johnson is delighted to have signed a player with recent experience of playing international and Champions League football.

Johnson told BBC Radio Bristol: "He's a good footballer, with a good football brain.

"He'll command respect with what he's done. He'll be a leader on and off the field.

"He's a leader in the way that he plays and he's a leader in the way that he talks, even though he's a quiet lad. He knows his role and that will help us."

The midfielder started his career with Hamilton Academicals before spells with Millwall, Raith Rovers, Hibernian and St Johnstone.



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