Fightback is the key to Hearts’ cup tie with Celtic

Callum Paterson (centre) is mobbed by his team mates after equalising for Hearts against Ross County. Ryan Stevenson, below. Pictures: SNS
Callum Paterson (centre) is mobbed by his team mates after equalising for Hearts against Ross County. Ryan Stevenson, below. Pictures: SNS
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Hearts boss Gary Locke insisted today that his players must recreate their second-half performance against Ross County if they are to have any chance of cup glory over Celtic this weekend.

Locke was frustrated by Hearts’ display in the opening 45 minutes of their clash with the Staggies on Saturday but was pleased by the way they fought back, captain Danny Wilson bagging the goal which earned them a share of the spoils three minutes from time.

Their comeback could have been even more spectacular had the crossbar not got in the way of Callum Paterson’s injury-time effort and Locke saw numerous positives from their second-half display.

Locke’s side face holders Celtic on Sunday in the fourth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup and he believes they will have to be on top of their game from the word go. He said: “I was pleased with the second half against Ross County, especially after the way that we had played in the first half.

“The second-half performance was much better and that is the way that we are going to have to play if we want to get results. I thought that the boys did really well to come back twice but we need to be starting games the way that we ended that one.

“We’ve got a big game coming up this weekend against Celtic and we know that everyone will have to be on top of their game and focused from start to the finish if we’re to give ourselves a chance of going through.”

Although he was unhappy with the manner in which his side conceded their goals to County, Locke says he can see improvement among his young players and added: “We need to cut out the individual errors, there’s no doubt about that.

“They cost us against County but I can see these young boys improving all the time, not only in the way that they are playing but also in their confidence and in the way that they deal with different situations.”