Hearts devise plan of attack to end a 14-year Celtic run
Hearts head to Celtic Park this evening aiming to assert themselves and end a 14-year wait for a league win in Glasgow’s east end.
Striker Liam Boyce explained that the Edinburgh club should not be daunted travelling to Parkhead because they have players capable of mounting a challenge in the cinch Premiership.
Hearts sit third in the table, two points behind second-placed Celtic and nine adrift of leaders Rangers. They are enjoying a promising campaign as a newly-promoted team but have not beaten Celtic away in the league since April 2007.
An opening-weekend Premiership win against Ange Postecoglou’s side set the tone for Hearts’ impressive start. They lost 3-2 at Celtic Park in the Premier Sports Cup two weeks later.
Boyce explained that Hearts’ intention is to attack and impose themselves during tonight’s game in the hope of earning a victory which would propel them above their hosts.
“We've had a great start to the season. I think two bad performances thrown in amongst it all but we know we are in a good place,” said the Northern Irishman. “The way we've been playing, we believe in what we're doing no matter what the situation is.
“Even Saturday [against St Mirren] in the first-half it was a tougher game. We had a couple of chances and we kept doing what we're good at it eventually paid off, we got our goal. We will go into this game the same, playing the way we want to and force ourselves on the game.
“We beat Celtic first game of the season and it was a big win. When it came to that cup game, in the first half they dominated us and we couldn't really get out. We changed formation in the second half and that gave us belief in what we were doing.
“We've got players in the squad who should be challenging Celtic and anyone else in the league. That second half was good for our confidence. In the first half we still tried to do what we do but they were better than us and kept us penned in.
“Then we started to believe in ourselves a bit more, were a bit braver in our possession and getting close to people. From our formation we were able to get closer to people, the second half was good to see that worked.”
A 1-1 draw against Rangers at Ibrox in October suggests Hearts are capable of hurting the Glasgow duopoly. “We know it’s going to be a difficult game. When you play against the top teams in the league it turns into transitions,” added Boyce.
“We know everyone can handle the ball so we just need to concentrate the whole time. When we get the ball we need to be ready to hurt teams.
“We know if we get into the right positions and be brave we can hurt any team. As a player, it’s just more enjoyable when you’re in a position to play one-twos and not sitting back, worrying about the other team. You need to go and impose yourself on the other team.”