PERRY Kitchen insists Hearts must improve on their recent win over Rangers to take anything at Ibrox today.
The club captain expects a rally from Mark Warburton’s side and stressed that Hearts must perform even better than they did in last week’s 2-0 victory at Tynecastle.
Ian Cathro makes his managerial debut today having replaced Robbie Neilson has head coach of Hearts. He can expect a baptism of fire, with Kitchen predicting Rangers will be on a revenge mission.
“Rangers are a top side and it’s going to be a tough challenge. We expect a better Rangers side than we saw at Tynecastle,” stated the American.
“For us to match that, we’re going to have be even better than we were that night. It’s a big game with a lot on the line. We’ll be ready for it.
“I don’t think Rangers were unsettled against us. They’re top players, they knew it was a big game. We found a way to get the result. We’ll expect them to be better this time.
“Not just because they’re at home. I think that, any time you lose a game, you always look to find a way to improve on that. They’ll be thinking like that.
“We were decent when we beat them at Tynecastle. But we expect them to be better. We have to be able to mimic that – and even surpass it, if possible.”
Cathro is determined to maintain Hearts’ momentum during the early days of his tenure. He explained that now is not the time to make sweeping changes at Riccarton.
“Improvements or changes will come through time,” he said. “I want the team to reach the stage of being able to control games for longer than what we’ve been doing so far.
“We can sometimes do that with the ball, or with being energetic and attacking a lot, or by controlling play a bit more and picking our moment, then attacking quickly.
“Scottish football has some unique bits to it, so that needs to be respected too. There’s the opponent to take into account, the pitch, the size and quality of it and even whether it’s real or not.
“We all need to be comfortable and the biggest thing for me is that everybody thinks and feels the same way about the game. We all have to trust each other.
“Today is a good game to start with, Ibrox is a good place, although I’m equally excited to get to Tynecastle. I won’t take the eye off this one but I’m equally excited to get to Tynecastle.”