Better pitch will help Hearts in cup replay – Djoum

Arnaud Djoum was a second-half substitute on Sunday. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Arnaud Djoum was a second-half substitute on Sunday. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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Arnaud Djoum believes Hearts will be able to put on a better derby show at Easter Road next week after being hindered by the state of the Tynecastle pitch in Sunday’s goalless draw with Hibs.

The two sides face a Scottish Cup fifth-round replay in Leith a week tomorrow following a turgid match at the weekend in which both sides toiled to find any cohesion on a wretched playing surface.

Hibs manager Neil Lennon and striker Grant Holt claimed after the match that the pitch made it impossible to play any football, and those in the Hearts camp were of no mind to disagree. At one point in the second half, home midfielder Alex Tziolis, usually comfortable in possession, sliced a routine pass up the line into the main stand after the ball bobbled up in front of him.

Djoum admitted that the surface was poor compared to what he had played on while helping Cameroon win the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon a week earlier, but the midfielder is confident they will have more chance of imposing themselves on their city rivals when they head to Easter Road.

“The football [on Sunday] was very different to what it was like at AFCON,” said Djoum, who came on as a second-half substitute. “The pitch was not great so that made it very difficult. In the finals, the pitches were a bit better. On a better pitch we will do better things so I’m confident we can get a result in the replay.”

Including substitutes, nine Hearts players got their first taste of the Edinburgh derby on Sunday. Djoum believes the fact his new colleagues have now experienced the frenetic nature of the fixture will give them a better chance of letting their quality shine through as they bid to set up a home quarter-final tie against either Ayr United or Clyde.

“We have a lot of new players here,” he said. “I trained a couple of days with them last week but I saw a lot of quality. There are more experienced players here, so we can use that in the replay.”