Hearts plan to attack Celtic and split them and Rangers
Aside from being ex-Hearts players, what do Kestutis Ivaskevicius, Andrew Driver and Michael Pospisil have in common?
By the time the latest league meeting between the two sides gets underway on Thursday night it will be more than 14 years and seven months since three points were taken back to Gorgie. 5,332 days.
Hearts’ record in the east end of Glasgow is nothing short of abysmal, aside from two League Cup wins during that time. In the last 23 league visits, three points have been garnered. There have been 20 defeats.
It is a record Robbie Neilson will want to put right, not by sneaking a 1-0 win but having a go, with the 3-2 loss in the Premier Sports Cup earlier in the campaign a helpful lesson.
"There are ways you can go there and play,” Neilson said. “Some teams will go and have a go; some will sit in and hope for the best.
"We want to be a team that has a go. I always have the belief that you need to go to these places to try and win it, or you can sit there and get beat, because they will always get their good players into good areas.
"Some of the games recently where teams have done well against Celtic they've gone after them a bit.
"They’ve got good players and just about every one of them is an international player, so you have to go there with confidence but also with that respect to them.
"They are a good team and we have to set up properly, but we believe we have good players in our team as well.”
He added: “The cup game, we didn't get any pressure on them in the first half. We changed it at half-time just to get into the game.
"Obviously we'll learn from that and what's needed to play against that system.”
Second up ‘for grabs’
Neilson believes splitting Celtic and Rangers is a possibility with this game key in proving they can do just that with three points lifting them above their opponents into second.
“At this moment in time it is up for grabs but there are still a lot of games to go and we have to keep ourselves round about it,” he said.
"This is a chance to stay in the fight.”
With Beni Baningime ruled out, Peter Haring is the prime candidate to replace him in midfield.
The Austrian is one of a number of players who have had to bide their time for minutes on the pitch.
“With the three games in a week, given the squad we've got, we were looking at freshening up a couple of areas here and there," Neilson said.
“There's been good players in the team who've been doing well, so the guys who aren't playing just need to work hard and wait for their moment. When it comes you need to be ready, which is the same at every club. The players who haven't been playing have been fine.
"When the team is winning it's quite easy. There's nothing to moan about. It's when the team starts losing that it becomes a problem.”
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