Craig Halkett met the press ahead of Heart of Midlothian's Premiership clash with Aberdeen at Tynecastle Park.

The centre-half discussed his recent contract extension, his recovery from a long-term injury, and being patient when making his comeback.

Here's everything the defender had to say:

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How much joy does it give you that the club have shown faith to give you a new deal?

From my point of view, I was delighted. I had been out for a long time and even before my knee I had some bad injuries, so for the club to come to me at the time they did, I was delighted. It was a no-brainer from my point of view. Taking the injuries aside, I was really happy here and I’d want to stay. But, obviously, after going through what I have been through and getting the help from the medical staff and the coaches, it wasn’t like me repaying them, but it was a good thing to do to stay here.

You say you’re not repaying the club for sticking by you, but surely that’s a factor?

Having gone through what I’ve been through and having the help of the club, I don’t think it ever crossed my mind at any point that if I came back and started playing well that I would start to look for a move or play my football elsewhere. I’ve been happy. The choice to come to Hearts was still the same thing in my mind as now. I want to be here.

Other clubs might have waited to see how you recover?

Definitely. And I think the first point of contact when they spoke to my representatives about a new contract was before I had even played a game. So it obviously speaks volumes for the type of people we have at the club and I was delighted.

When did the talks start?

The first I heard about it was around about when I was first back and involved in squads. Obviously, we knew we had the break coming up and, from my point of view, it was put it onto the backburner for now as I just want to get my head down, focus on getting back fit, playing and starting games. The winter break came at a good time to sit down and talk about it.

Were the negotiations easy?

Football can be quite cut-throat and I’m not daft. I knew the position I was in after a really serious injury and I wasn’t in any position to start demanding all sorts! It was just about being happy where I am.

What was the lowest point?

During my injury? For me, and probably throughout my whole career, that phone call to say it was my ACL that I had done. It was Christmas Eve, not a great time to do the injury. We didn’t know exactly the severity of it at the time, so to receive that phone call and then a few days after that when it is sinking in that it is going to be out of action for nine or so months. To be away from football for that long is really difficult. Anything I’d had before was maybe just muscle damage and six-to-eight weeks, not serious like this. So right at the start, a couple of months in when you are still in a brace and then in the gym, it can be quite a lonely place to be right at the start.

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Were you with Craig Gordon a lot at the time?

I think we’d probably both say we were a good help to each other. We both got injured on the same day. I was back in a couple of weeks before him as he was stuck in bed with the big cast on and couldn’t get out of the house But from the moment he came back in we were in the gym every day with each other and for his age for him to come back from such a severe injury was inspiring. I know he has been through injury troubles in the past and was out for just over two years so to get advice from him was a good help.

Were you housebound for a bit yourself?

After the operation, I spent a day or two in the hospital because they wanted to keep an eye on me. Then I came in a week after to get assessed but then another week to 10 days in the house because there’s not any exercises you can do. I had a brace on and for the first 5-6 weeks you are just doing the smallest exercises, wiggling your toes, flexing your calf, nothing much at all. That was the hardest point. The boys were still in the middle of the season and you want to be there to support them and have that banter and keep talking to them. So that first few weeks were the most difficult.

Did you understand that you would need to be patient?

We have all been on the same page, me the medical staff, the sports science, coaching staff, the manager. Naisy has been through so many injuries in his career and he wanted me to come back and play as well as I can but knows I’m not going to be 100 per cent yet and that it will take eight, nine, ten games to get back. Match sharpness only comes with playing games and the break came at a good time and a bad time because I had been back and started a few games before the break and you want to keep going but the team also wanted the rest. But from my point of view I know it will probably take another few games. As much as you think about coming back and playing that first and hoping that it will all just click, deep down everybody knows that it doesn’t happen. Boycie and Beni have both come back from the same injury and they told me that when you do have down days, don’t dwell on it. They are also there to pick you up. It is about digging deep and getting your head down and working hard.

Are big games against Aberdeen and the like the ones you wanted back for?

Aberdeen are like Hearts. They want to finish in the top end of the table, in third, or the Europeans spots. These are the games that are really important. Every game matters but these are ones that you really want to win, especially on t( back of last year. The great position we were in and we chucked it away so we want to show that this year we are pushing hard to be third.

How frustrating was that to watch?

It was obviously difficult, especially when you are sitting there and there’s nothing you can do to help. You are about the boys in the changing room, before and at half-time but it is one of those ones where there’s only so much you can do and you just have to sit there and hope. We had the change of management and the boys picked up, and we managed to get fourth but when we finished the season there was a real sense of disappointment that we didn’t consolidate third place.