Alim Öztürk admitted he’d ‘never been so cold’ in his life in the aftermath of Saturday’s thumping 5-1 victory in the shadow of Dumbarton Rock.
The inclement weather could have been an equaliser for the hosts as they looked to end the Jambos’ unbeaten run, but a combination of stout defending and forceful attacking saw the Jambos ride the Dumbarton storm, and hit the Sons with a sucker punch as Sam Nicholson and Jamie Walker sent the away side in 2-0 up at the break.
After the game, the Turkish stopper admitted he hadn’t played in conditions quite like those before, and praised his side for their professionalism in the face of it.
“That was easily the worst weather I’ve ever played in,” said Alim. “The first half was so difficult, you didn’t know where to look or where the ball was going to be half the time.
“It made it difficult to play our normal style, the wind was terrible but we managed to score twice before half-time. It was good to go in ahead because at 0-0 it can be tricky, and anything can happen.”
In conditions that wouldn’t have been out of place in Narnia, there was a fairytale debut for Öztürk’s fellow-Dutch football graduate, Género Zeefuik, as the net finder notched a brace to kick-start his Jam Tarts career.
“I try to follow Dutch football from here on the internet and on TV, because you’re always interested in where you came from," added Alim. "I know Género is a good player, he’s really strong, a real powerful guy, and he’s absolutely capable of scoring more goals for us, I think he’ll be a good player for the team.”
Finally, the Hearts No. 5 revealed his excitement at the prospect of going toe-to-toe with old foes Rangers, as the top two in the league face off in a rematch of the season’s opening fixture, a game which sent the Jambos on the start of an unbeaten run that’s still going to this day.
“We’re going there full of confidence, with the knowledge we have the 13-point lead," said the centre-half.
"We have the confidence in our ability and we’re hopeful of a good score. I wouldn’t say we are a better team than the opening day, we’re the same team but with more belief in ourselves, and we’re going there to win, so let’s see what happens.”