Gary Locke has urged his young Hearts side to call on the spirit of Easter Road and Pittodrie as they bid to pull off another surprise victory against Celtic in Sunday’s Scottish Cup fourth-round showdown.
The Jambos have developed a habit of winning games few people expect them to, while falling flat against their fellow Premiership strugglers in games some critics have classed ‘must-win’.
Their penchant for defying the odds has been showcased in the past four weeks alone by stunning victories away to Hibs in the League Cup and away to Aberdeen in the league.
Locke believes his Hearts side, with no expectation on them on Sunday, can prosper once again in their role as rank outsiders.
The manager said: “The pressure is all on Celtic as this is a game that everybody fully expects them to win. The younger players have to enjoy the occasion and savour the full-house atmosphere and express themselves as the match is live on TV and they go and make a name for themselves.
“Celtic are strong favourites but we acquitted ourselves well against them earlier this season and we will have to do the same again. We don’t fear anybody although we have a young side. Sunday is a cup tie and it will be all about who turns up on the day and hopefully that will be Hearts. We have done well against the bigger clubs in the league and it is the teams round about us that we have struggled against this season.
“We know how difficult it is going to be but as long as we are well prepared and up for the challenge then I fancy Hearts to cause an upset. We have good players and if they express themselves like I know they can then they can get a result.”
Meanwhile, Foundation of Hearts, the fans-led group hoping to bring Hearts out of administration, were today due to find out if their Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal had been accepted. Two meetings – one creditors’ and one for shareholders, which had been adjourned last week, were set to go ahead at Tynecastle today when the administration-hit club’s creditors would confirm, by vote, whether they were willing to sanction a CVA offer from the Foundation in the region of £2.5m.