New Hearts signing Bobby Burns admits he is desperate to impress manager Craig Levein and make sure he is in the first team plans at the start of the season.
The versatile midfielder was given his first run out in a maroon jersey in Tuesday’s 2-1 friendly win at Arbroath and set-up Ross Callachan for what proved to be the winner after coming on at the break.
The Northern Ireland under-21 internationalist, who joined on a three-year deal from Glenavon during the summer, is also set to feature in the double header against Dumbarton and Partick Thistle at the weekend.
Hearts begin their competitive campaign on July 18 with a Betfred Cup trip to Cove Rangers and the 18-year-old admits the warm-up matches are crucial to making a good first impression.
Burns, who is one of ten new signings, said: “Getting a bit of a taste of it whets your appetite and makes you want to get more, and helpfully there will be more opportunities in the coming friendlies to prove a point to the manager for the start of the season.
“It was good although it was tough because the conditions were warm.
“I got my first 45 minutes and obviously we’ve done a lot of running in pre-season but its different whenever you go into a match.
“It wasn’t that hard to play alongside new faces.
“It’s tough a wee bit, getting to know people and the strengths and weaknesses of different players but I thought we did well in both halves.
“Getting the win was good and I think we played well as a team.
“We’ve been working on our shape in the last few days.
“The second goal kind of came through something we’d been working on so it was pleasing.”
Burns also believes a gruelling pre-season fitness programme, which included intense running on the dunes at Gullane beach, will pay dividends in the upcoming campaign.
Speaking to Hearts TV, he added: “It’s all worth it when you start getting back on the pitch, especially when the fitness stuff is not too enjoyable.
“Gullane beach was a bit grim to be honest but it’s basic fitness that we definitely need and you can feel the benefits there towards the end and we got the late goal.
“You feel a lot fitter and stronger and although it was tough at the time it’s something that will stand us in good stead for the rest of the season.”