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Hearts defender Craig Halkett doesn’t want his CV to show a second relegation

© SNSCraig Halkett has suffered along with his Hearts team-mates
Craig Halkett has suffered along with his Hearts team-mates

Craig Halkett could be forgiven for wondering where it all went wrong.

Moving to Tynecastle last summer was meant to be a step up for the former Rangers youth prospect after three-and-a-half years at Livingston.

Instead his dream move has turned into a nightmare, with Hearts bottom of the table and scrapping desperately to avoid the drop.

Livi, in contrast, have enjoyed another brilliant campaign and are still in with an outside chance of qualifying for Europe.

And the defender admits this wasn’t how he saw the season panning out.

He said: “I was so happy to be joining Hearts as it’s a massive club. And, of course, I didn’t expect to be where we are now.

“We know we need to start picking up points quickly when the season re-starts.

“We have three games before the split and we need to try to win them all.

“It would be massive if we could do that to give ourselves a bit of breathing space. But we know how hard that is going to be.”

Livingston have confounded the critics who said that without Halkett, fellow centre-half Declan Gallagher and goalkeeper Liam Kelly, they would struggle this season.

But Halkett said: “I can’t say I’m surprised at how well Livingston have done this term as I know how hard everyone works there behind the scenes.

“The recruitment is really good. They lost a few of us last summer but the work they’ve done since has been amazing. And they’ve kicked on again.

“It’s all down to the work done behind the scenes and the training they do. There’s a togetherness about the team and they seem to do it every year.

“We need to show that same fight, that dig and that determination that Livingston show.

“All the boys in our dressing-room know where we are in the league – and how much of a fight it’s going to be to get out of our situation.

“You have a look at the table, so you definitely know where you are.

“You try not to think about it too much but you can’t help it. We know how important things are as we talk about it on a daily basis.”

Halkett was relegated with Livingston into League One just six months after joining them from Rangers in 2016. He is desperate to avoid going through that again if he can.

He added: “I’ve been in this situation before when you’re at the bottom of the league and fighting.

“That obviously didn’t go the way I wanted. So I’ll do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t go that way again.

“It was horrible when that happened.

“I had just left the club I’d been with for a lot of years and didn’t know where my career was going. Livingston didn’t know if they were going to stay full-time so that was a massive thing in the back of my mind. So I know that I don’t want to feel like that again.

“Nobody wants to have a relegation on their football CV. Everyone is pulling in the same direction to try to get out of it.”