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Hearts striker Boyce enjoying Naismith partnership

Liam Boyce believes he can continue to thrive in his new strike pairing with Hearts captain Steven Naismith.

The pair have each hit two goals in the two matches they have played together, a victory over Rangers and 3-3 draw with St Johnstone.

January signing Boyce believes they can continue to cause problems for Ladbrokes Premiership defences.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Tynecastle clash with Kilmarnock, Boyce said: “When I was playing at Burton, we were playing a different formation and there was a bit more pressure on me to hold the ball for longer. People can get toes in and nick it off you.

“But when he is so close to me it’s brilliant, I can do it in one touch and lay it off and keep the moves flowing and keep the momentum going and driving everyone forward.

“Just having someone with that experience and that quality close to you, I know if I give him the ball any time he is more than likely going to keep it for us.

“I like playing with my back to goal, getting flicked balls and one touch round the corner, that’s how I take advantage of defenders who expect you to hold it up and slow it down and get it wide.

“But when you have got someone who is as smart as he is and can flick the ball into me and play one-twos, it causes other teams a lot of problems.”

The former Ross County forward has also been impressed with Naismith’s influence.

The 28-year-old said: “Everyone knows the player he is and what he’s done in the game and he has still been brilliant since I have come in.

“What I didn’t know before I came was how good he is on the pitch talking to people and helping them through things.

“I have been at clubs before where, not captains, but some older players put people down and start arguing and it only makes younger players go into their shell.

“But he is the complete opposite. He will be a great captain for the club.

“The way he talks to the younger players is unbelievable, he keeps them going and keeps their confidence high.”

Boyce feels he can benefit from Daniel Stendel’s pressing game.

The Northern Ireland international said: “I’m not the fastest so if we win the ball high up the pitch there is less distance for me to get in the box!

“It’s brilliant. The second half we came away from it a bit and the way we played in the first half, that showed the way the manager wants us to play is working. I don’t think St Johnstone could get out of their half.”