Keeping Celtic at bay gives Hearts heart

Robbie Neilson watched his team fend off Celtic in Glasgow on Saturday

Robbie Neilson watched his team fend off Celtic in Glasgow on Saturday

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HEARTS will approach the League Cup quarter-final against Celtic with confidence after Saturday’s 0-0 draw with the holders in Glasgow.

Head coach Robbie Neilson believes his players have nothing to fear having drawn Celtic in a fourth successive knockout competition.

The Parkhead club beat Hearts 7-0 in the Scottish Cup in 2013, then knocked them out of last season’s League Cup and Scottish Cup with 3-0 and 4-0 wins respectively. However, there is renewed belief at Tynecastle following the weekend result and Neilson wants to carry that forward.

Celtic will visit Edinburgh on Tuesday, October 27, or Wednesday, October 28, for the most high-profile of the four quarter-finals. Hearts feel they have a decent chance of progressing in front of their own supporters, with another large crowd expected on the night.

“It’s a good game for us, a difficult tie, but we always just want a home game in cup draws,” Neilson told the Evening News. “Coming off the back of a decent result at Parkhead on Saturday, I think we can look forward to a good game and hopefully we get through.

“You’re never due anything in football, especially against teams like Celtic. The result we got on Saturday gives us confidence after picking up a point. We’ve definitely got a chance in front of a full house at Tynecastle, but it’s going to be a difficult one.”

Neilson admitted he wasn’t surprised Hearts drew Celtic yet again but reiterated his club’s aspirations of lifting silverware this season. “To be honest, when I saw the draw coming up, I thought it was almost guaranteed we were going to get them again,” he continued.

“You always look to try and get them at home. That’s the main thing. If you’re going to win a cup then you need to take care of the bigger teams when you meet them.

“Celtic are the main team in Scotland at the moment so, if we’re going to try and win the trophy, then we have to beat them. It’s good to be at home. Hopefully we can get a full house and come away with a decent result.

“Celtic will play some European games before this tie so that means more midweek games for them. It depends how they look at it, whether they look upon this tie as a chance to rotate their squad or whether it’s a priority for them.

“For us, it’s a big priority. We’ll have a strong team out. If we can do that at Tynecastle with a good crowd then, after the result we got on Saturday, we can get through.”