Hearts’ Jamie Walker aims to take big strides

Jamie Walker leads the way in Hearts training
Jamie Walker leads the way in Hearts training
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JAMIE WALKER is confident after two goals from six appearances so far this season. Confident, but not exactly content.

Speaking ahead of today’s match with Celtic at Tynecastle – a game he considers the biggest of Hearts’ season – the winger outlined his desire to score and create even more chances.

His form has been one of many on-field positives for Hearts since they entered administration in June. Goals against Partick Thistle and Aberdeen showcased his ability to produce something out of nothing in a young and inexperienced team. He is eager for the progress to continue. Walker is expected to start against Celtic in today’s lunchtime kick-off.

Following a two-week international break in which he was on Scotland Under-21 duty, he intends to resume the domestic form which impressed so many during the early weeks of the season.

“I’m a wide player and I’m always looking to score and create chances. I’ve done that a few times this season and I hope to score a few more,” said the 20-year-old. “When you are away with the under-21s you are facing tough opposition. It’s been a good experience for me and I feel it’s helped me a lot.

“The difference in those games was taking chances. We didn’t take them [against Holland] and it cost us [with a 4-0 defeat]. We need to make sure that doesn’t happen against Celtic on Saturday. We need to take them.

“It’s a good experience and a good learning curve for me. I’ve got good confidence. I’ve scored a few this season and I want to score a few more.”

Celtic arrive in Edinburgh with three wins and a draw from their opening four Scottish Premiership fixtures.

They have a demanding trip to Italy looming for a Champions League test against the mighty AC Milan on Wednesday, and are, to all intents and purposes, operating in a different stratosphere to Hearts this season.

Gary Locke’s players have made a fine start in their fight against relegation following a 15-point penalty for entering administration.

Some will argue that matches against other teams near them at the bottom of the Premiership are more important than games with Celtic. Regardless of that theory, motivation levels have been high all week at the team’s Riccarton training base.

“It’s the biggest game of our season,” said Walker. “We are playing Celtic, who are in the Champions League and it’s going to be a very hard game but we are looking forward to it.

“Our form is good at Tynecastle and we hope that continues. Everyone is going to have to be at their best and we will need to take our chances when they come because you know Celtic will take theirs.

“We are unbeaten at Tynecastle and the fans have been unbelievable behind us. It’s an intimidating place for any side to come and we really want to keep our good run going there.

“We get a massive lift from playing there. There’s nothing better than a full Tynecastle behind you.

“It spurs you on and we are looking forward to the game. I’ve not done great against Celtic in the past but hopefully that will change this weekend.

“Our home form is going to be massive this year.

“That’s going to be key in us picking up points and closing the gap.

“Celtic are going to be favourites. They are champions and in the Champions League. But we have good quality in the dressing room and we feel that at home we can beat any team.”