Heart of Midlothian fans perhaps got a glimpse into the future as well as a possible soon-to-be past on Saturday in the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock.

Lining up in the midfield at Tynecastle Park was Beni Baningime alongside Macaulay Tait. While the former is set to make a decision on his future at the end of the season with his contract expiring, his 18-year-old teammate was handed his first start for his boyhood club after a handful of eye-catching performances from the bench.

There are few better within the club to assess Tait's attributes and potential than Baningime. The Englishman is the most important, and best, midfielder at Hearts. He plays the role that could be earmarked as Tait's in the future with Steven Naismith of the view the teenager is a No.6.

On Saturday, Tait's presence allowed Baningime to advance more than usual. The 25-year-old made 12 passes in the final third compared to his season average of six across 90 minutes.

READ MORE: Macaulay Tait's Hearts journey: Summer camps, Lowland League, first-team role

For Baningime, his younger colleague has a big future.

"He’s a very good player," he said. "The future is very bright for him. He can do whatever he wants to in his career. He’s a great lad. I thought he did well. There will be many, many more days like this for him.

"His ability on the ball is very, very good. He is quite small but he’s very aggressive. He will go into challenges, he is not going to shy away. He’s a great kid, we see it all the time in training. So no one is surprised he is doing well and the gaffer is giving him his chance. For me, it is exciting to see him grow and continue to play."

In the last 18 months, Tait has grown to become more assertive on the pitch. Not necessarily when in possession, but without the ball, communicating with teammates, telling players where to go, and demanding the ball. That growth has been steady but could be seen at the weekend.

Baningime can still remember the 16-year-old Tait training with the first-team for the first time as he revealed what sort of conversations he has had with his fellow midfielder.

"To be fair when I first met him he was 16 and he was quite nervous then," he said. "But he would do certain things and I would tell him: ‘You belong here. You just need to believe. This season he has taken his chance and done well and I am happy for him."

He added: "It’s not like he asks me questions, I think he knows exactly what he needs to do. I spoke to him before the game and told him: ‘You’re good enough, you deserve to be here.’ I speak to a lot of the boys, I speak to him, I speak to Finlay [Pollock], [Aidan] Denholm. They’re all in my position. Obviously, you’re all competing to play but it’s not like a competition where you don’t want someone else to do well.

"We’re a great bunch, so I don’t say much, a little bit of encouragement and correction and whatever, and vice versa. Just because he is young it doesn’t mean he can’t help me out. So I’m very happy for him and there’s not a lot of correction there, to be fair."

READ MORE: Hearts 1-1 Kilmarnock: Clark save stat, finding space, shooting pains

Playing in front of an expectant Tynecastle Park crowd is not for everybody. There are mental qualities required to perform and thrive in that environment. 

It is one area where Baningime has tried to assist the younger players. He has learned to get into a zone where the crowd doesn't exist, allowing him to play his own game without outside interference.

"I block it out all the time," he said. "The crowd are brilliant, without fans football is nothing. But when I’m out there they’re not there. I’m on the pitch to be professional, do my job. You’ll make mistakes but so what? That works for me personally.

"I don’t really have social media so when I play well or even when I don’t I don’t see all that, I am just playing football and trying to enjoy myself having been out for so long. You need to block it out.

"I have said that to Denholm because at times he gets a little bit agitated and he’s a very good player. I told him: ‘The day you learn to block it out is the day you go to a level that not a lot of people will be able to get to.’ It’s a learning curve. I wasn’t there at 19 and some of these boys are that age now."