Hearts' Craig Halkett excited by arrival of attack-minded Daniel Stendel but isn't expecting overnight miracles

Halkett eager for Stendel to introduce high-intensity football to Tynecastle - but warns German will take time to implement philosophy

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 4:45 pm
Craig Halkett is excited by the arrival of Daniel Stendel
Craig Halkett is excited by the arrival of Daniel Stendel

Hearts defender Craig Halkett says players will welcome Daniel Stendel's attacking style once the new manager's philosophy is fully implemented.

Stendel takes charge of Hearts for the first time tomorrow when St Johnstone visit Tynecastle Park. He carries a reputation for the kind of high-intensity football which has been missing in Gorgie for a long time.

The club sit joint-bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership and Halkett admitted there will be no overnight miracles. However, the centre-back said he and his team-mates will benefit from some managerial stability and will respond to Stendel's approach.

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"I think he will be happy at inheriting a really good group of players," Halkett told the Evening News. "The last five or six weeks since the last manager left have been a wee bit uncertain. Nobody has known what is happening.

"The boys have been training hard and trying to get three points each week, which obviously hasn't been happening. I think the new manager will enjoy what he is coming here to do. He will set his plans in place and all the boys are looking forward to it.

"I think he is quite an attack-minded manager. He likes to press high and play in the opposition half. We will enjoy doing that. Hopefully we will score a lot more goals and concede less at the same time, then we can start to win more games.

New manager bounce

"When someone new comes in, you get that lift. You have a bit of security because you know who is going to be taking over so you get that boost.

"He will be given time and the players need to respect that. As players, we know we aren't just going to win every game from now until the end of the season. It is obviously going to take time but we are looking forward to working hard and getting back up the league table."

Halkett joined Hearts from Livingston during the summer expecting to help his new club challenge for European qualification. He acknowledged that he didn't come to Tynecastle for a relegation battle.

Defender keen for festive cheer

"Definitely not. I think that just makes me work that bit harder," said the player, who recently returned from two months out with a knee injury.

"I came to Hearts to challenge for European places, cup finals and semi-finals. We got to the Betfred Cup semi and that's what I came here for. I'm looking forward to doing that in the second half of the season."

Five games until the winter break offer Stendel the chance to build some early momentum with Hearts. After the St Johnstone match, the Edinburgh club host Celtic on Wednesday before a trip to Hamilton next Saturday. Then they welcome Hibs on Boxing Day and Aberdeen three days later.

"There are five games until we finish up for the break so there are plenty of points to pick up," said Halkett. "We would like to win two or three on the bounce or maybe go undefeated.

"We have Celtic, Hibs and Aberdeen to come in the next couple of weeks but I think we can be positive and try to get results in all of these matches."