SCOTT ROBINSON is doubtful for Hearts’ Scottish Cup quarter-final with St Mirren tomorrow due to flu, although the talismanic Rudi Skacel could return to the starting line-up after eight goals in his last four games against the Paisley club.
Hearts manager Paulo Sergio is already without Jamie Hamill through suspension and the injured David Templeton, so Robinson’s health will be closely monitored over tonight and tomorrow morning. The 19-year-old will start the match if he can prove his fitness.
Skacel is in line for a recall having been an unused substitute in last Saturday’s SPL win over Rangers at Ibrox. His previous exploits against St Mirren include two hat-tricks and a brace since he rejoined Hearts in September 2010. He is Hearts’ top goalscorer with eight goals this season and his presence alone is likely to fill the visitors with dread.
Sergio is keen to see Hearts progress to the semi-finals of the competition for the first time since 2006. However, he does not concur with theories that the Scottish Cup is more open since Rangers were eliminated by Dundee United in the previous round.
“The teams left in the competition are here because they deserve to be,” he said. “It’s because they beat the others who are out at this moment. So it’s not a question of whether this is a bigger opportunity because this team or that is out of the competition.
“All of the teams who reach the semi-finals will be difficult to beat. I don’t believe in easy games. The only thing in my head is St Mirren, nothing more.”
The manager enjoyed cup success in his native Portugual both as a player and manager. “I was very happy to be part of a squad at Belenenses which had a fantastic season (1988/89) where we beat Porto, Sporting and then Benfica in the final. It was a fantastic feeling.
“Two years ago I managed a small team (Pacos Ferreira) and we played Porto in the final and we lost 1-0. It was a fantastic feeling, those are the kind of things you never forget. The cup is very important in Portugal, like here.”