Exclusive: Calem Nieuwenhof opens up on his Hearts form and the massive change since leaving Australia

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Midfielder admits he is still striving for consistency on the pitch

Calem Nieuwenhof is determined to keep striving for consistency with Hearts in his ongoing quest to improve performances. The midfielder wants to play as often as possible to continue learning the Scottish game after arriving from Western Sydney Wanderers during the summer.

The 22-year-old has managed nine appearances so far this season and, by his own admission, has yet to produce peak form on a regular basis. He struggled against Celtic at Tynecastle but enjoyed a better individual display against Rangers last Sunday.

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"I was definitely disappointed in my own game and the team's game against Celtic. It was poor from us," said the Australian, speaking exclusively to the Evening News. "For the most part against Rangers, we bounced back well and stuck to our gameplan. We were leading for 90 minutes and were unfortunate in the end.

"I'm just trying to get some consistency at the moment and play as many minutes as I can. I want to keep putting my best foot forward. I was happier with how I played against Rangers, as were a lot of the boys. We were a lot smarter and more solid defensively and kept ourselves in the game until the very end."

Hearts meet Livingston at Tynecastle tonight and need three points to climb the Premiership table. "This is a really important game for us. We need a strong and positive performance," admitted Nieuwenhof. "Once we start doing that consistently, results should follow. That's what we need to do and that's what we are aiming for at the moment - start picking up wins and moving up the league."

Nieuwenhof is convinced he made the correct choice coming to Europe and praised the atmosphere within head coach Steven Naismith's Hearts squad. "There culture is really strong. There are lots of experienced lads and some good younger players pushing through. It's a really positive environment where everyone just wants the best for the team. Everyone is going to be disappointed if you aren't playing but we all get behind the boys who do play.

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"It has been a massive change and a big adjustment for me on and off the field. I'm really happy with my decision to come over. I'm working hard to keep improving and get consistency. The Aussie boys have been really good and I'm close to Kenneth [Vargas] and Odel [Offiah].

"It has been good having Cammy Devlin here. We play in the same position so he has been good for advice. Like me, he came over and has gone through the exact same adjustment. He knows what it's like moving here from the A-League and he's given me lots of advice.

"All the boys are great blokes. The Scottish guys are pretty similar to Australians - pretty laid back and easy to get along with. That has made me feel comfortable coming into a new team. It's different to Australia because every game has a packed stadium and the fans are so passionate over here.

"Naisy talks about that a lot. When we go into games, he wants us on the front foot to get the crowd behind us. We know they can really push us forward."

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