Arnaud Djoum trying to say grounded to face Partick Thistle

Arnaud Djoum in action for Hearts. Picture: SNS Group
Arnaud Djoum in action for Hearts. Picture: SNS Group
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Arnaud Djoum will go into today’s meeting with Partick Thistle still buzzing with his cup goal against Hibernian last Sunday.

The 26-year-old midfielder gave Hearts the lead in a thrilling William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round tie at Tynecastle with a 25-yard thunderbolt, although their Edinburgh neighbours fought back from two down to force a 2-2 draw.

Djoum admits he is still walking on air. “Even now when I think about it, I get that feeling,” said the Belgian. “It was so amazing, the highest feeling I ever had.

“It would have been better had we won, but I have a second chance to score again and I will do everything to get this feeling again.”

First of all, the third-placed Jambos will try to follow up their 3-0 win at Ross County on Wednesday night by defeating a team they have already beaten 3-0 and 4-0 this season.

Djoum, however, believes any drop in standards could prove costly.

He said: “You have to stay focused because in the two other games against them we were really concentrated and played good football.

“If we do that we will be okay, but if you think it will be easy it is a big mistake. You just have to continue to work hard, play with concentration and focus, and we will be okay.”

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson will read nothing into the two previous meetings with Partick Thistle.

“They are all difficult games,” he said. “In the first game at Tynecastle we rode our luck a bit in the first 30 minutes and we got a lucky goal when their goalkeeper fumbled it and the other game at Firhill was another tough game.

“We scored a couple of late goals, after we had to battle though.

“But we have players who can score goals and stop goals so it is a good combination to have.”

Neilson is confident none of his players’ minds will be straying towards the replay at Easter Road next week.

“It is just about the next game,” he said. “The players know it is a big game tomorrow. They know that, if they perform well, they have a chance of getting a game in the derby. That keeps them ready, but I never feel that they look too far ahead.”

Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald has challenged his players to improve their poor record against Hearts this season, having conceded seven goals without reply. That is roughly a third of the total they have shipped in the Premiership.

Reversing their fortunes will not be easy as Hearts are unbeaten in nine games, but Archibald wants to see more from his side.

“We need to do a lot better than we have done on previous occasions. We have put in two of our poorest performances against Hearts,” he said. “Albeit Hearts are strong and are a good squad, we haven’t hit the levels we expect.

“I watched Hearts on Wednesday and they were very strong in all departments and that was with suspensions and injuries. They are a well-oiled machine and Robbie has got them playing very well, but we need to get more from our lads against them.”

Thistle’s most recent defeat by the Gorgie side, a 4-0 home loss, was their only setback in a ten-game stretch leading up to New Year’s Day.

“For 35 minutes we were very good, and then Hearts caught us with a sucker punch and we went to bits, which was disappointing because we have been really strong defensively,” Archibald added.

“So we need to get both things going at the same time, good defensively because Tynecastle is a tough place to go, but also look to hurt Hearts.”