Hearts manager Robbie Neilson has admitted he would like to keep winger Jamie Walker at Tynecastle beyond the end of his existing contract with the Jambos – but conceded the Gorgie star needs to play regularly amid reported interest from St Johnstone and Livingston.

Walker is one of a host of Hearts players out of contract at the end of the season and he came off the bench yesterday to score the winner for Neilson’s side in their 1-0 win away to Dundee.

Hearts v Motherwell - Scottish Ladbrokes Premiership

Walker has struggled for regular action this season at Tynecastle (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“It’s a decision that me and Jamie need to come to,” Neilson confessed.

“I’d like to keep him, but I have to respect that the age he’s at, he needs to go and play. We’ll see how it goes in the next couple of weeks. We’ll have a chat and see what he wants to do, because it will probably come back to that.

“Jamie has found it hard to get in because the players that have been in those positions have been playing really, really well. He’s just had to bide his time.

“I thought him and [Aaron] McEneff did well when they came on.

“We brought Jamie on because he’s got that quality in the final moment and, especially in the second half, we pinned them in a bit in really good areas and we need somebody with that wee bit of magic.

“Thankfully he produced it. You know when you put Jamie on, he’s going to give you everything, so I’m just delighted for the kid.

“He’s not played for a while and to get the winner in front of the Hearts fans is great.”

Walker’s strike helped Hearts solidify their grip on third in the Premiership table as they bounced back from losing to Rangers last weekend.

The Jambos winger is in his second stint at Hearts, returning to Tynecastle in 2018 after a stint with Wigan, and the prospect of regular football at Livingston or St Johnstone is sure to be enticing for him.

His goal yesterday might just help push him back into regular contention for Hearts though, and if that happens then he’ll surely look to remain at Tynecastle beyond the end of the season.

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