CRAIG WIGHTON could not have experienced a more drastic change of environment over the past week.

Last weekend, the 21-year-old was a member of the Dundee squad that is sitting bottom of the Scottish Premiership with no points to their name; just a week later, he made his debut for league leaders Hearts in a comprehensive 4-1 victory over St Mirren which ensured the Edinburgh side maintained their 100 percent win record for the season.

Wighton put pen to paper for Hearts in the final days of the transfer window and he admits there is quite a contrast in terms of atmosphere between the two squads.

“It’s the polar opposite to the start of the season at Dundee - the atmosphere there is not great for a few different reasons,” he revealed.

“But as soon as I came (to Hearts), I felt welcome and it’s a great place to be.”

Wighton came on with just 15 minutes to go at Tynecastle on Saturday and by then, his teammates had the match safely sown up.

Steven Naismith had given the home side the perfect start by converting a penalty awarded when Uche Ikpeazu was brought down inside the box by Lee Hodson. However, entirely against the run on play, St Mirren equalised courtesy of an own goal when Jimmy Dunne knocked the ball into his own net.

But the Edinburgh side immediately re-exerted their dominance, with their pressure being rewarded on the half-hour mark with Olly Lee restoring their lead.

In the 41st minute, Naismith scored his second goal of the game before completing his hat-trick on the stroke of half-time to give the league leaders a comfortable cushion going into the second half, which turned out to be considerably less eventful than the first 45 minutes had been.

Wighton may have had limited time to make an impact on his debut but he admitted he was happy to get his first appearance under his belt.

“It’s good to get the first game out of the way,” he said.

“In the first half the boys were excellent and that makes it easier, when you are coming on into a team that is full of confidence. We had the fans behind us, too, so I really enjoyed it.”

And the forward was, understandably, hugely impressed by Naismith’s performance and cannot wait to train and play alongside a player of such calibre on a daily basis.

“You look at (Naismith’s) career and it’s absolutely brilliant,” Wighton said.

“Steven Maclean as well, they’re such good players to learn from and that was another factor in me coming here. Any wee tips or anything they can give me, I’ll take that on board. And if I can have a career as good as them, I’d be happy with that.”

Wighton had spent the past decade at Dundee and a he admitted to feeling a touch sad to have left the club he had spent half his life at. But having had a somewhat up and down period recently including an unsuccessful loan spell at Raith Rovers as well as an injury setback last season, Wighton revealed he was ready to move on.

“It was a weird feeling leaving Dundee, because I was there for 10 years,” he said.

“But I was probably at that stage in my career where, if I wanted to develop and progress, then I had to leave.

“There were a few factors why I wanted to come to Hearts. I know the manager has been a fan of me for a while, so I was keen to work for him, and all the coaches as well.

“If you look at their track record with young players over the last few years, then it was a no-brainer for me. As soon as I knew they wanted me, I just wanted it all done as quickly as possible.

“I just felt I wasn’t progressing (at Dundee), and that I wasn’t getting a fair chance to progress either, so coming to Hearts was a no brainer as soon as I heard about it.”

Hearts are sitting pretty at the top of the Scottish Premiership, three points clear of second-placed Celtic and while the season is still in its infancy, Wighton is optimistic they can maintain their challenge at the top of the table as it progresses.

“It’s obviously still early days so I wouldn’t look into that too much,” he said.

“But it’s a great start and if we can build on that, have a great team spirit and keep our confidence high, you can achieve whatever you want.

“But we’ll just take it a game at a time and continue trying to win as many games as possible.”