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Craig Halkett has challenged Hearts to round off a productive festive period by ensuring they head into the winter break in third place in the cinch Premiership.

The Jambos have taken 10 points from their last four matches and have won seven of their last 10 league fixtures to get themselves into a strong position in the battle for a European place.

A victory at bottom-of-the-table Livingston on Tuesday would keep Steven Naismith’s side clear of Kilmarnock and St Mirren in third place.

“We were disappointed not to beat Ross County on Saturday, but the draw has kept the momentum going,” said defender Halkett.

“We want to finish this tough run of games on a high, so it’s a crucial one.

“December’s a really tough month for everyone. We have done brilliantly to get into third and then just to finish off this block with a win would be good.”

Halkett recently returned to action following almost a year out with a knee injury and he admits the break is probably coming at a good time in order for him to get fully fit.

“I’m feeling good,” he said. “It has been a long year and myself, the manager and the sports scientists all know it’s going to take a few games to get back up to 100 per cent.

“But right now I am feeling as good as I can be.

“It was always important for me to come back in and play a couple of games before the break. I didn’t want to go into the break not having featured, so it was good to get some minutes under my belt.

“We have another game at Livingston and then I can work hard during the break to come back.”

Halkett joined Hearts from Livingston four and a half years ago and he is surprised to see his former side adrift at the foot of the table.

“Livingston have been in the top league for five or six years now and it was a great achievement every single year they did it,” said Halkett.

“So to see where they are is a bit of a surprise but I still think they’ll have enough to get out of it.

“We’ve spoken about the break for us and the break is probably coming at a good time for them as well.

“They can go away, rest, recover and reset before they come back and I’m sure they’ll do everything they can to stay up.”