Craig Halkett opens up on Hearts future and lack of contract talks

Craig Halkett is content to postpone any new contract talks until later in the year as he looks to build on a strong start to the season with Hearts.

Craig Halkett has pronounced himself fit for Saturday's table-topping clash with Rangers after coming off against Motherwell (Photo by Sammy Turner / SNS Group)

The centre-half is now showing the sort of form that convinced the Tynecastle club to sign him on freedom of contract in 2019.

His three-year deal expires this summer and Halkett has confirmed there have been no discussions to date as Hearts concentrate on stretching their impressive unbeaten league run.

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Halkett and his teammates head for Ibrox to play leaders Rangers in a first versus second encounter this weekend. The defender started his career at the Glasgow club but did make a first-team appearance before later making his name with Livingston.

Now 26, his next contract is an important one but he is not concerned about getting something arranged just now. Halkett can speak to any other interested parties from the start of January.

“There has been no chat at the moment,” he revealed. “I am just getting my head down and working hard in training. It’s something I haven’t really thought about, to be honest.

“There is still a long way to go so I have put it to the back of my head. I would never go to the club and say I want to do this or that, I leave my agent to deal with all that kind of stuff.

“I’m happy here, I’m enjoying it this season and I am just working hard every day. So I’ll let my agent deal with it all and if he wants to speak to me, he will. I’m not bothered either way.”

Halkett believes he is back to his best now after a torrid start to his Hearts career. The centre-half did not expect to be relegated in his first season while former club Livingston emulated their top six finish from the previous campaign, when Halkett was a pivotal figure.

He started every league game in last season’s truncated Championship campaign and this season to date as well, although he did come off in his last appearance, against Motherwell, after suffering a back spasm. Halkett confirmed he is fit and raring to go for Ibrox, where he has lost each of his three visits since his departure. He hopes Saturday can buck the trend as he seeks to continue impressing Hearts manager Robbie Neilson or else attract other potential suitors.

“You want to play the best you can all the time,” he said. “But if you are out of contract in the summer you want to have as good a season as you can to set up some options.

“Again, I haven’t really thought about it in much detail. I think I have had a good start to the season. There are always things you can do better.

“But I’m happy with the way things are going. I worked really hard over the summer, I came back in and trained really well. And I just want to keep that going.”

He described Hearts as now being the team he signed up for after two seasons when there was considerable fans’ disquiet. “Obviously, we had a difficult year-and-a-half or two years, but this is where I think Hearts should be. I’m happy to be a part of it,” he said.

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