While all newcomers to Hearts are quickly apprised of the history of the club, it also doesn’t seem to take them long to realise what matters now.
A summer arrival, Peter Haring has quickly sussed the importance of certain rivalries and understands the part they play in keeping supporters on side and bolstering club ambitions.
As they welcome Aberdeen to Tynecastle for the third head-to-head of the season, there is an acknowledgement that a display similar to those served up in recent weeks would be even more unpalatable against a team that has long pitted wits against the Gorgie club in a battle to be accepted as the best of the rest.
Historically, Hearts hold the bragging rights from their clashes with the Pittodrie side, with a total of 119 victories in all competitions, compared to their rivals’ 104 but there has been little between them this term.
The two previous meetings resulted in a home win apiece, both lost in the League Cup to winners Celtic – Hearts in the semis, Aberdeen bettered in the final – and both have made it into the last four in the Scottish Cup.
But more pertinent to today’s game is the fact that, despite respective fluctuations in form, only five points separate them in the Premiership standings, with Hearts looking to reduce that gap by securing all three points.
“They are two big clubs and we both want to be in Europe next season,” said Haring. “Both clubs want to be the third power in Scotland after Celtic and Rangers.
“So, yeah, we all know it is a big game and we are looking forward to it and wanting to beat them.
“I think they had a slow start to the season and they were doing much better recently. They were pretty much the opposite of us. We started pretty well but then we lost points later on.
“We have played them twice so we know what to expect and I am really confident that we can win the game.”
It would be a boost to club morale if they could lift their level of performance to that required to do that, after a terrible loss to Hamilton in their last outing.
“There are a lot of big games waiting for us and I am really looking forward to them,” said the Austrian midfielder, who is “pretty confident” that an agreement can be reached fairly soon to extend his stay in the capital.
Thrilled with the way he has progressed, he accepts that injuries have disrupted the plans for this term but believes they can still finish with a flourish.
“It is always hard to say what has been missing [in recent matches]. It is never just one thing, it is always a few things. But we have been working hard on all of it and I think in the next few games every player just has to be focused on doing his job and helping the team by doing that properly.
“We have to do better than we did in the last couple of weeks but I am pretty confident because I know we can do better and we have performed quite well in the bigger games, especially earlier in the season.
“So, I am really looking forward to Saturday. It is the first of the big games and it is really, really important to us.”
Niall McGinn is looking to continue his momentum for Aberdeen after netting his first home international goal for Northern Ireland.
The wide player struck in the 2-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Estonia last week after scoring in his previous two matches for Aberdeen.
“To get my first goal at Windsor Park was very special,” he said. “It is something that has always been at the back of my mind.
“I have played a lot of football for Northern Ireland and I have scored some important goals for Northern Ireland, but they have all been away from home.
“It meant a lot to me. It was a place where I always wanted to score, in front of my own fans.
“So it was a great feeling and great the fact it helped us to an important win.
“Scoring against Rangers and then Livingston, I was feeling good and had a spring in my step. So the last couple of weeks have been very good and I want to keep that form going, keep chipping in with goals here and there.”