First Team

Fans are all we need, reckons Robbie

24th January 2022

Robbie Neilson says running out in front of a packed Tynecastle is the only motivation his team needs ahead of the visit of Celtic. 

Victory for the Jam Tarts on Wednesday night would see the gap cut between Hearts and the second placed Hoops to just six points.

Asked by the media whether the circumstances surrounding this game, including the manner of Hearts' defeat last time out in the east end of Glasgow, would motivate the Jambos - the manager stressed that the prospect of game day at Tynecastle was more than enough.

"That doesn't even enter our thinking, to be honest with you," he said.

"We’re running out in front of thousands of Hearts fans. Gorgie will be bouncing and I expect the players to be at it right from the start.

“Celtic are a very good team but we’re in a position now that we have a home game against them and a chance to cut the gap. We talk to the players all the time about looking up the table instead of what’s behind us. I think if we can aim for the two teams at the top of the league, we won’t need to worry about the rest."

Our opening day triumph over the Glasgow outfit in Gorgie is a pleasant memory for all Jambos, but the manager was keen to underline that Celtic will arrive in the capital a vastly different side to the one that was sent back down the M8 defeated at the end of July. 

“It was a huge boost to our confidence but Celtic have changed quite a bit since then. A lot of new recruits have come in since, so it’ll be a very different team that rolls up to Tynecastle on Wednesday night.

“I said before we came back from the break that we had eight games in 26 days, and this will be a defining moment in our season because we’re up against other teams competing for the top slots.

"Celtic have got a massive squad, they play the same system pretty consistently. They’ll swap players into those positions and we need to ready for that."

The manager also provided an fitness update ahead of the match.

“All fine. Only one that’s having a wee bit of a problem at the minute is Taylor Moore. He’s got a bit of a thigh problem, although we hope he’ll be back for the Motherwell game.

“Beni’s trained the last few days and will be available. We took our time bringing Liam Boyce in and he’s hopefully going to be back for the rest of the season."