Tony Watt to get key role at Hearts after Scotland call

Tony Watt scored Hearts' winner against Partick Thistle and will be a key player over the coming weeks.

Tony Watt scored Hearts' winner against Partick Thistle and will be a key player over the coming weeks.

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Tony Watt will play a key role for Hearts over the coming weeks despite being left out of Scotland's World Cup qualifying win in Malta.

Head coach Robbie Neilson has challenged the striker to retain his international place by maintaining top form at club level.

Watt, on loan from Charlton Athletic, scored Hearts' winning goal at Firhill two weeks ago and is expected to start against Hamilton at Tynecastle tomorrow.

He wasn't selected in Scotland's matchday squad against Malta, but Neilson insisted the 22-year-old remains a central figure for his side.

"Tony has a massive part to play for Hearts," he explained. "The key thing for him was going and being involved against with Scotland. He's got into an international squad because he's been doing well.

"He's come through it with no injuries, he's trained well so he just needs to keep working hard. If he continues to do as well as he's been doing for us then he'll be in the next Scotland squad next month. Then, hopefully, he'll get some game time.

"Being part of it again has helped his confidence. He was out of the Scotland squad for a few years and then he got back in earlier this year."

Watt was a late call-up to the Scotland squad after Celtic's Leigh Griffiths pulled out through injury. His promotion came on the back of his decisive late goal in the 2-1 win at Partick Thistle.

"He wasn't in the initial squad but then he scores the winning goal for us at Partick and gets called in," continued Neilson. "The next qualifier is in a month so it's important he keeps working hard to try and get himself back into the squad again for that match.

"If Hearts are doing well, then national teams will come and want to take some of our players. That's understandable. When that happens, it shows the team and the individual players are doing well."