John McGlynn wants Hearts to stay red hot against Aberdeen
HEARTS manager John Mc-Glynn has challenged his players to replicate their Europa League performance against Liverpool on a regular basis as the Scottish Cup winners prepare to revert to domestic action at Aberdeen tomorrow.
The Tynecastle outfit made a mockery of the financial gulf between the two sides during Thursday’s first leg play-off in Gorgie after matching the five-time European champions for long spells before being undone by a cruel Andy Webster own goal in the 77th minute.
McGlynn estimates that Liverpool had £87 million of talent on display, a figure that dwarfs the £30,000 Hearts paid to Stenhousemuir for David Templeton in 2007. Anfield manager Brendan Rodgers left out a host of star names but still had the luxury of calling on £20m pair Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing.
Fabio Borini (£10.5m), Charlie Adam (£7m) and Pepe Reina and Daniel Agger (each £6m) also played but that did not stop Hearts giving their revered opponents a run for their money. McGlynn said: “It shows what you can do even though there was £87m worth of talent in black jerseys, what you can achieve by just being organised, getting the team to work hard, sticking to the game plan and having talent on the pitch that can go and cause a problem for them. Nobody can tell me that Liverpool weren’t nervous on occasions when the likes of Arvydas Novikovas has that shot and Pepe Reina kind of spills it.
“There were a few opportunities that had them rocking at times. We played so well and matched them in nearly every department. There is a sense of pride in the players’ performance, the discipline and shape of the team. We carried a threat which was important and we gave the fans something to shout about.
“We got a lot of plaudits so I’m quite happy with that but on a consistent basis in the SPL, we need to perform at that standard. That’s what we’re still striving to achieve. Our priority is Aberdeen and picking up points in the SPL.”
Hearts’ adept display was built on the foundation of an entire team playing a part in a pulsating tie that left Liverpool relieved to hear the final whistle.
David Templeton, Ryan McGowan, Callum Paterson and Mehdi Taouil were all stand- outs in a side where there were no failures. But with the match beamed live across the country, McGlynn fears their memorable display could have piqued the interest of potential suitors.
McGlynn, who admits Danny Grainger and Marius Zaliukas are doubts for the trip to Pittodrie with knee and dead leg injuries respectively, added: “Until the transfer window closes anything is possible. We have had no offers for any of our players but that can change. They did very well against Liverpool, whether that will encourage people to come and buy them, I don’t know. There is no doubt about it that that was a showcase for everyone. I’m not suggesting that we want to sell players but I’m saying it was a platform to show the whole world what they could do. From my point of view, I don’t want to sell players.
“It’s no secret we’re trying to bring in a striker and hopefully that will materialise.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen manager Craig Brown admits his team’s positive start to the season has given him hope they can join the chasing pack in an SPL expected to be dominated by Celtic. The Pittodrie club have beaten St Johnstone and Morton, in the Scottish Communities League Cup, in the past seven days.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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