Uche Ikpeazu issues stark Hearts-Rangers warning and speaks on Peter Haring situation
Uche Ikpeazu has warned his colleagues that every single Hearts player must be ready to perform at the peak of their powers on Sunday if the Tynecastle side are to stand any chance of toppling league leaders Rangers.
The Ibrox team head to Gorgie in buoyant mood after winning seven of their opening eight Premiership fixtures while scoring 26 goals in the process. By contrast, Hearts sit just two points off the bottom after winning only one of their eight league games so far.
Ikpeazu admits this weekend’s match represents a formidable test for his off-form side, but the striker is adamant it is one they can overcome if everyone in maroon is able to operate at their best.
“It’s going to be tough but we all have to stand up and be counted because we really need to get some points on the board,” Ikpeazu told the Evening News. “Rangers are top of the league, which speaks for itself, so we’ve got to be at the top of our game. We can’t be carrying any passengers.
“This will be tougher than the other home games we’ve had because Rangers are a better team but I do think we’ve got the ability to do well against any opposition, which we’ve proven at times this season. We need everybody to be at the top of their game though. That’s the only way we can beat them because they’re not top of the league by luck.”
Hearts’ cause will be aided by the likelihood that both Ikpeazu and Peter Haring will return to the side. The Englishman missed the defeat by Kilmarnock with a minor hamstring niggle, while the Austrian midfielder has been sidelined since the Scottish Cup final in May due to pelvic issues.
Ikpeazu is delighted to see Haring back in contention. “He’s a top player - he’s very good,” he said the striker. “He’s done well for us and he’s been a big miss. We’ve missed a lot of players through injury. Getting any of them back any time soon will be a big help. It’s been very frustrating that we’ve never really had a chance to get our strongest team on the pitch. It’s part of football but people sometimes don’t realise that when you’re missing half of you’re starting lineup, it’s difficult. It’s hard to replace your best players so it hasn’t been great.”