Robbie: All focus on the derby30 December 2022
The capital’s clubs are set to lock horns in a cinch Premiership clash at Tynecastle for the second time this season. A Martin Boyle equaliser cancelled out Lawrence Shankland’s opening strike when the two sides last met in a 1-1 draw at Easter Road earlier in the campaign.
With a number of days to rest and recharge as the world prepares to usher in a new year, the manager says all attention now turns to Monday’s contest in Gorgie with a number of days to knuckle down and prepare for the game.
“Yeah, we’re absolutely desperate to get to it,” he told Hearts TV.
“We’ve got a good build up to this one. It’s four days to recover from St. Johnstone, get ready and start building the team up. The boys were in on Thursday for some early morning training. They’ll then have a day off and then back in for two days of solid preparation.
“It’s going to be a massive game, and it’s one that we’re really looking forward to.”
Hearts claimed a 3-2 win over St. Johnstone in Perth in their previous match, ending a 12-year winless hoodoo at McDiarmid Park. The manager opted to hand the captain’s armband to Lawrence Shankland in Perth following Craig Gordon’s season-ending injury at Tannadice.
It’s an arrangement that the boss will continue for the rest of the campaign, as our number nine prepares to lead his teammates out to a packed Tynecastle in Monday’s derby.
“I’ve had a chat with Craig and some of the senior players within the group,” he revealed. “Craig remains the club captain but he’s going to be out for an extended period, so we need an on-field presence.
“We made the decision that it’ll be Lawrence. He’s our main striker and a key player, but I think this will really help his development. We saw in Perth what leadership qualities he’ll bring, I’m really pleased with him.”
Finally, the manager was able to offer an injury update ahead of the derby. Hearts could be able to welcome back both Stephen Kingsley and Stephen Humphrys into the fold, whilst the club awaits the outcome of a scan on Craig Halkett’s injury.
“Potentially on Kingsley,” he said. “He's got his concussion protocol so we will see how that goes. Halkett was getting scanned on Wednesday so we will see the result of that. We should have Stephen Humphrys available as he is training with us.”