Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton admits Germany number one Manuel Neuer is his inspiration after conceding that the modern day shot-stopper needs to start attacks as well as stopping them.
The 22-year-old has impressed in his breakthrough campaign with Robbie Neilson’s side and has even become a regular fixture in the Scotland squad.
But Hamilton recognises that he needs to be good with both his feet and his hands if he is to reach the top.
The role of the goalkeeper has evolved in recent years, with a greater emphasis on players passing the ball out from defence.
England keeper Joe Hart has been the most high-profile victim of this trend after Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola brought in Claudio Bravo, while Celtic’s Craig Gordon temporarily lost his place to Dorus De Vries.
Hamilton’s shot-stopping ability has not been called into question but the youngster admits he wants to improve his distribution.
Hamilton, who helped promote the Tesco Bank Football Challenge at his old primary school in Denny yesterday, said: “There is no point in sitting back now, I want to get better at distribution, handling, crosses.
“To get to the next level you have to improve everything.
“The way everyone is working now is with the goalkeeper’s with the ball at their feet, I think that’s going to be massive so that’s something I have to bring into my game as well.
“From goal kicks to playing it long, you’re trying to find a man. It’s working with the out field players as well so you get to understand each other and where people will be.
“They’ve got to know they’re going to get it.
“The best goalkeepers in the world have got everything. They make the vital saves, they’re passing it about and they’re calm and composed, confident. Hopefully I can keep improving and get better.
“Manuel Neuer is a one-off and he plays like a sweeper.
“He makes a few mistakes but the times he does commit he is really effective in building play and setting up attacks. I love watching him, he is someone you watch and you think, ‘what’s he going to do next?’
“He is somebody you can look up to.
“There is always room for improvement. Paul Gallacher, the goalie coach, has been excellent with me. We go over the video analysis for every single game.”
• Hearts midfielder Angus Beith has signed a new one-year contract extension at Tynecastle.
Head coach Robbie Neilson has high hopes for the 20-year-old and the playmaker is now committed to the Gorgie outfit until summer 2018.
Beith’s only competitive appearance for Hearts so far came in in the 4-1 Challenge Cup defeat to Livingston in August 2014.
The player spent six months on loan at Stirling Albion during the 2014/15 campaign and was farmed out to Stenhousemuir at the tail end of last season.
Winger Dario Zanatta, meanwhile, has extended his loan spell at Queens Park for another month.
The Canadian youngster has made four appearances for the Spiders so far.