Arnaud Djoum expressed his joy and pride with his team’s improvement as Hearts put in a powerful display to knock Aberdeen out of the William Hill Scottish Cup on Saturday.
Callum Paterson netted the only goal of the game after three minutes, as the Jambos put in a season’s best performance to outplay last season’s SPFL Premiership runners-up.
Having been beaten by the Dons on two occasions already this term, there was never any danger of that becoming three in a row once Hearts went in front.
An outstanding showing in defence put paid to the Dandies’ attacking threat, with Neil Alexander barely having a save to make in the entire match, while Hearts threatened to run riot at times in the first half.
“The game was very good,” said Djoum, in his post-match press conference. “You can see we played very well today, and we are especially happy with our first half performance.
“It was important for us to prove that we can beat Aberdeen and that we can compete with them as well, particularly after the last two games. We should have won the match by more than one goal.”
With the absence of both Rangers and Hibs from the top flight, the clash between these two famous sides has taken on another level of significance in the footballing calendar - a fact not lost on the former Lech Poznan star.
Much had been made pre-match of the Jambos’ supposed ‘physicality’ coming up against one of the most physically intimidating teams in the league. After the match, Djoum was left in no doubt that Hearts had outmatched their opponents for skill and strength.
The Jambos now head into the next round of the Scottish Cup as they await Monday night’s draw, with the potential for a clash with SPFL Championship leaders Rangers, or even an Edinburgh derby against Lothian Thistle Hutchinson Vale a possibility,
“I haven’t been here long but already, I can feel the rivalry and competition between the two sides,” the Belgian midfielder stated. “The fans were incredibly loud for this game, so I was happy to show our power and our ability.
“We want to show them we are a good strong team who can play good football too,” he continued. “We deserved to win, and we were better than them, absolutely. I believe in this team, and we are capable of going further.
“It would be a dream for me to win a cup. We all need to believe we can play every game like we did today. We have the players to do that, and if we believe in ourselves, we can make this a good season."