Hearts couldn’t have hand-picked a better Scottish Cup quarter-final draw, if we’re being honest.
Partick Thistle away is a tough challenge in the top flight but they have struggled over the last year or two.
Ultimately, it’s a team from a lower division while so many other Premiership teams are up against one another. While they attempt to take each other out of the competition, Hearts have had a nice run of fixtures in the cup up until now.
Pressure has eased slightly since 1998 because the fans have seen Scottish Cup wins over the last two decades or so. However, let’s take care of Partick first because, like any cup tie, it will be down to how each team performs on the day. Thistle have been an improving side since the turn of the year, so they will have a confidence about them from their own results.
Hopefully, we will be able to match that because our own results will continue to be positive. That should help the players’ belief. It will be be a hard tie at the start of March but it’s a more-than-winnable tie at the same time.
It’s important that supporters feel rewarded coming towards the final stages of the season. Some of the Hearts fans maybe aren’t too happy with some of what they are viewing at times but it’s a results business. If you can qualify for Europe or win the Scottish Cup, you would be more than happy with that outcome at the end of the season.
There is a big squad to cope with those challenges. There are international players like Steven Naismith and Christophe Berra, which is a massive help. The balance now is trying to focus on two fronts as it would be nice to achieve either a European place or a cup win – both if that’s possible.
The large squad really comes into play now. We have a lot of players who know what it’s about in the first team. We might not need them all between now and the summer but it’s an opportunity to chop and change a bit for freshness.