Jamie Walker on how Hearts stars can become legends, his message to Shankland and what comes next at Bradford

The former Tynecastle playmaker has been looking ahead to Hearts vs Rangers.
The playmaker is a Hearts favouriteThe playmaker is a Hearts favourite
The playmaker is a Hearts favourite

Jamie Walker says Hearts have the quality to clinch a historic win over Rangers on Scottish Cup semi-final business - and the current stars can make themselves club heroes come May.

The former Tynecastle star has had two stints in Gorgie at the club he grew up supporting. He’ll be watching on hoping for a first Hearts win over Rangers at Hampden on Sunday, with Naismith’s men keen to marry a Premiership term destined for third place alongside a trophy.

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Walker featured with boss Naismith during the head coach’s playing stint in maroon, and the current Bradford City man would be thrilled to see a close ally lifting a famous trophy come this Spring.

“It’s the first result I look for after our games on the Saturday,” Walker told the Edinburgh Evening News. “I think everybody knows I grew up a Hearts fan. I’ve been at the 1998, 2006 and 2012 cup finals and nobody would be happier than me or my son if they got to do it again this year. It will be a tough game but I think it showed at the weekend that if you do the right things against them and they have an off day, they are beatable.

“It’s massive, I think Hearts have had a good tradition with the Scottish Cup. If the players want to become club legends they probably need to win a major trophy. If they beat Rangers, they will be in the final and have an opportunity to do that. I have good faith in the manager and the players, and I hope they can do it.

“It will be a tough game. I think if Hearts play well and you have Lawrence Shankland who will always be a goal threat, I think they will have a good chance. They have a good up and coming manager in Steven who I spoke to a lot while I was at Hearts.

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“He always had a good ideas on how he wanted to do things and now he has his opportunity, and I am obviously happy for him. I think there will be a lot of similarities, I played with him quite a bit at Hearts. He was very demanding, knew what he wanted and I think he will be like that as a manager. For him as a manager, he will be learning as he goes along. He is good at that and he’ll want to get results which they have done recently.”

Walker was quick to congratulate Shankland on hitting 50 Hearts goals, as a fellow member of that exclusive Tynecastle club. He wouldn’t be surprised to see the Scotland international become a key factor in this weekend’s clash.

“I don’t know Lawrence personally but I sent him a congratulations when he scored his 50th goal because I have done that and I know it is a big milestone,” Walker said. “I think he did it a lot quicker than me! But he is a striker.

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“His goal record speaks for itself. For me, he is Scotland’s best striker and he will probably go to the Euros, and for me should play. He will always be confident he can contribute and score goals.

“He has scored a lot of goals, scored against Celtic, scored in the Edinburgh derby at Easter Road. He is no stranger to scoring in big games and I am hoping he will do that again on Sunday and put Hearts into the Scottish Cup final.”

Walker is out of contract at Bradford City at the end of the season, but the Bantams managed by former Scotland international and Motherwell boss Graham Alexander have an option to extend by a year. Valley Parade action reminds him of Gorgie, and he hopes to remain in Bradford for a little while longer.

He added: “It’s been going alright. I was doing quite well and scoring a few goals, before breaking my leg against Doncaster right before Christmas. So I am not long back from that, just trying to get fit and have a good end to the season.

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“The team has been up and down, a bit of a rollercoaster season. We have gone on good runs and we have gone on runs we haven’t won for a lot. We will keep going to the end of the season. I think personally, I knew coming here it was a good club and had good fans but it took me by surprise when I first came how big the support was.

“It reminds me a lot of Hearts, it’s a big club with fans that have big expectations of the players. It reminds me of Hearts quite a lot and they could easily be a bottom end Championship team or top end League One team if the club got really going.

“I have got the year option on my contract and I’d love to stay. It’s probably the most settled I have been at another club from playing at home with Hearts. My kids and family are settled so I will hopefully find out soon what is happening.”

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