PAULO SERGIO today challenged Hearts to show the correct attitude and character throughout their five post-split league fixtures, insisting they can beat Rangers at Tynecastle tomorrow and aid their European quest.
With St Johnstone and Dundee United due to meet at McDiarmid Park whilst Hearts are entertaining Rangers, the Edinburgh club may have an opportunity to climb to fourth in the Scottish Premier League after beating Celtic to secure their place in the Scottish Cup final last weekend.
Sergio believes victory tomorrow is well within his team’s capabilities, however he cautioned his players against relaxing ahead of the cup final.
“I know that they (Rangers) will come here to try to win this game. They have a strong team and we’re going to try to do the same. We respect Rangers, we know their capacities, but we know that on a good day we can beat them. We believe we can do it.
“It doesn’t matter about the opponents, it’s a matter of attitude and character that we should always have. After we beat Celtic we are not on holidays, we have a lot of important things to do. The name of our opponents doesn’t matter.”
Hearts should have a full squad to choose from, save for Adrian Mrowiec and Mehdi Taouil. “Things are getting better. I hope to have everybody fit,” Sergio told the Hearts website. “Adrian and Mehdi are returning step by step but I will not have those two. I believe I’m going to have all the others.”
Sergio also expressed disappointment that Neil Lennon’s post-match antics at Hampden Park – the Celtic manager was enraged that Hearts were awarded a late penalty and his team were not – had detracted somewhat from Hearts’ achievement. “We have important things to be focused on. I’m reading what is in the press and I saw the comments after the game. It’s a pity. I don’t think we got the credit we deserved with people just talking about Celtic’s problems and comments. I don’t want to make more comments about that.
“The only thing I can say is that, at the penalty, I saw two handballs – an elbow and a handball. If that is not a penalty then I don’t know. I saw the ball on the hips of Webster and that’s what I saw. During the game I didn’t have a great view.
“What I don’t understand is nobody speaks about their goal being offside. It’s like it wasn’t fair, but we have important things to do and we should be focused on the next game and forget the cup game.”