CALLUM PATERSON insists Hearts will do everything to win the League Cup this season despite people dismissing the competition.
An extra-time win over Forfar on Tuesday night took Robbie Neilson’s side into today’s third-round draw and Paterson stressed that the tournament means everything at Tynecastle.
Not since 1962 have Hearts lifted the League Cup, which has been somewhat devalued in recent years. Winners no longer qualify for European football and the competition is again without a sponsor. However, Paterson said Hearts are chasing silverware and that the League Cup is high on their priority list.
“Cups are massive. Everyone goes on about ‘it’s a diddy cup’ or ‘it’s a cup that doesn’t matter’. That’s not the case,” said Paterson. “Every cup matters and every game matters. You want to win every game you play. It doesn’t matter if it’s the cup, or if you’re relegated and you’re losing. You just want to win every game. Cups are always important for everyone.
“I wasn’t entirely involved with the first team in 2012 [when Hearts won the Scottish Cup] but it brought the club up another level in terms of everything – training, facilities and the way people respected the club overall. It’s good to win cups and it’s always good to go on a cup run.”
The 20-year-old is confident the Tynecastle squad can compete on all fronts this season as they sit top of the Premiership.
“We changed seven of our starting eleven and we still went and ground out a result against a strong Forfar side. No disrespect to Forfar at all, there are bigger teams we can play in the Premiership and we know we can throw anybody on and they can do a job for us. Last season we scored a lot of goals and we were winning games by quite a big margin. Even this year, we’re scoring a lot of goals. Forfar are a good side. They were pushing for promotion last year and were unlucky to lose in the play-off final. We weren’t going there to take it as an easy game. They made it extremely difficult for us but we managed to show what we can do and win the game.”
Paterson’s introduction in an unusual central midfield role helped turn the tie in Hearts’ favour as they secured a 2-1 win. He won possession in the build-up to the first goal, scored by Kevin McHattie, and then supplied a shot from which Gavin Reilly got the second. Paterson added: “The manager said ‘how do you feel about playing centre defensive mid?’. I said, ‘put me anywhere and I’ll play for you’. Thankfully, I went on and did a job for the team and helped us get the winning goal. You always want to get on, but I had faith in the boys and what they were doing. They played well up until Forfar’s goal and then there was a bit of a down spell but we got there in the end so we’re thankful for that.
“Young Callumn Morrison came on at the weekend and on Tuesday night and did well. He’s come into the squad and the gaffer has shown some belief in him. He’s proved to everybody he can play here. Hopefully, he gets himself a couple of games under his belt this season and pushes on from there.”