A former Hearts and Kilmarnock footballer is among the new owners at one of Scotland’s longest-established estate agents.

Gary Wales, 44, is part of a group that has bought into Simpson & Marwick in what is understood to be a six-figure deal.

After making his breakthrough at Hamilton as a teenager, Wales was transferred to Hearts for about £50,000 in 1999.

He spent almost five years at Tynecastle and also represented Scotland at the under-21 level before stints at Kilmarnock, Gillingham, Walsall and Raith Rovers as well as clubs in Australia.

He has been involved in the property sector since retiring from playing in 2011, working as a surveyor, investor and estate agent.

His takeover of Simpson & Marwick was done alongside Sean Nicol, 34, his father, Ricky Nicol, 62, and Graeme St John, 61.

Ricky Nicol was one of the founders of broadband and telecoms firm Commsworld while St John was its chief financial officer.

Wales, right, with one of his new co-owners of the estate agents Simpson & Marwick, Sean Nicol

Wales, right, with one of his new co-owners of the estate agents Simpson & Marwick, Sean Nicol

Wales, who is listed as a director of the recently created Simpson & Marwick Group, said: “We are very proud to have this opportunity to develop and grow one of Scotland’s most prestigious estate agents.

“It’s fantastic to have the support of Ricky Nicol and Graeme St John, who built up Commsworld into the most successful telecoms company in Scotland.”

Sean Nicol said the business had ambitions to expand and was looking to attract international buyers into Scotland.

Simpson & Marwick can trace its roots back to 1886 and had been acquired by the legal services provider Moray Group at the start of 2021.

Rob Aberdein, managing director of Moray Group, said it would now focus on conveyancing and private client work.

He added: “We are pleased to be able to pass on the Simpson & Marwick brand to such an experienced and expert group of custodians who will take this historic business to the next level.

“Estate agency is no longer core to our future plans but we are excited about where the new owners can take the brand and its people, and we wish them all well.”