Hearts star Jamie Walker has insisted that the Jambos can’t afford not to be at their best tonight when former boss Robbie Neilson brings his Dundee United side to Tynecastle in the Betfred Cup.

Walker played under Neilson for Hearts and credits the Gorgie legend with getting his career heading in the right direction and admits he has a “huge respect” for his former gaffer.

April 2nd 2017, Tynecastle, Edinburgh, Scotland, SPL Scottish premier League football, Hearts versus Celtic; Celtic's Dedryck Boyata nicks the ball away from Jamie Walker

(Photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Despite United’s Championship status, Walker admits the Jambos have to be better than they were in pre-season friendlies or risk losing.

“When he came in, that was when I started to hit the ground running. I have huge respect for Robbie, he came in and took the club back to being an SPL, top-of-the-table team,” Walker said, as quoted by FourFourTwo.

“He was great for me and I will probably have a chat with him on Friday.

“They will be coming to Tynecastle thinking they can get something, so we will need to be at it, we will need to be better than we were in pre-season friendlies.”

Walker is likely to make his competitive return for Hearts in the Tynecastle clash tonight after a stint ag Wigan didn’t work out for the winger.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 3 : Heart of Midlothian Manager Robbie Neilson on the sideline during the Scottish Championship match between Heart of Midlothian F.C. and Hibernian F.C. at Tynecastle Stadium on January 3, 2015 in Edinburgh Scotland.

 (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Despite his stint south of the border not working out, Walker can be an important player for Levein’s side as they look to get three points on the board.

With Cowdenbeath, Stenhousemuir and East Fife to follow in the group stages, the Arabs should be the toughest opponent for Hearts.

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