Partick Thistle have warned Hearts they want to steal fifth place and leave the Edinburgh club finishing sixth in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Goalkeeper Mark Ridgers, who spent seven years at Tynecastle, made the bold statement that Thistle are out to usurp Hearts as the teams prepare to meet on Saturday.
Ridgers is second choice behind Tomas Cerny at Firhill but is well aware of the unrest amongst some supporters at his former club.
Hearts have won only five league games since Christmas, while Thistle have enjoyed a remarkable run from the bottom of the table to secure a top-six place for the first time in 36 years.
With just four points separating the two sides, Ridgers believes sixth-placed Partick can capitalise on Hearts’ inconsistency this weekend and ultimately finish above them.
“We can still catch Hearts,” he told the Evening News. “Saturday’s game isn’t one where you just turn up and there’s nothing really to play for.
“The way things are at Tynecastle, Hearts are a bit inconsistent. That gives us an opportunity to try and take them and actually finish fifth if we get a positive result there. We’re in that position where people will look at us and think: ‘They’ve got into the top six but they’ll be the whipping boys.’ To finish fifth would be massive for us. That’s the next goal while we’re in the top six, to try and catch Hearts and see what else happens round about us.”
Ridgers explained that Thistle will be looking to upset the home support at Tynecastle and use any discontent to their advantage.
“That’s one of the things we have to play on. A lot of the guys who have played at Tynecastle realise that,” continued the 26-year-old, who joined Partick in January on a short-term contract until the end of the season.
“I was there for so long and you know how it works. You can get the home fans restless and on the team’s back with the inconsistency Hearts have had recently, both in performances and results.
“If we can go there and frustrate them by continuing to do what we’ve been doing, we have a big opportunity to get there and unsettle the fans. Hopefully that can get us a positive result against a Hearts team that’s still trying to find its feet by the looks of things.”