Hearts head coach Ian Cathro has shrugged off claims by rivals Hibs that all the pressure is on his team in Sunday’s Scottish Cup derby showdown at Tynecastle.
Cathro said: “We all enjoy big matches and relish that.
“Our actual day-to-day will be pretty normal. We understand that the games means more to people and is more memorable and we respect that and like it.”
He added: “We enjoy the fact it adds pressure and some more spotlight. It makes every single touch feel that little bit more important.”
Cathro was responding to comments by Hibernian striker Grant Holt, who sought to turn up the heat up on the home side for the fifth round tie, which will see Hibs visit their rivals as the defending champions.
After Hibs could only manage a draw against Ayr on Saturday, while Hearts were following up a midweek thrashing of Rangers with a victory over Motherwell, Holt said: “We are the Championship team and they are supposedly better than us and in a bigger league – that’s what I keep hearing. So we will see how they like the pressure and we will see what happens on Sunday.”
But, rather than being irked by Holt, Cathro responded: “There can be a lot of reasons for that type of comment to be made and each person will have their own reason for portraying that.
“Is the pressure on us? That would be good, I’m happy to have it all and I think my players would be happy with that, too.
“I have said all along that I want these challenges and I want to bring players here that feel the same way. I think we are getting there – we have a squad that wants pressure, it enjoys the need to win.”
Hearts are likely to field several players making capital derby debuts against a team which battled back from 2-0 down to ultimately oust Hearts en route to winning last year’s competition.
But Cathro claimed his side would not be cowed by the derby atmosphere or expectation levels. He said: “That was one of the important aspects when we looked at who we were bringing in. We looked at the character and profile of these guys. We want to all grow and the club has a strong ambition. These guys who are joining us are coming with a certain level of life and football experience already. So they are ready. They are all ready.”