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Perry Kitchen hopes to delay Celtic's title celebrations
Hearts midfielder Perry Kitchen is desperate to prevent Celtic celebrating a Ladbrokes Premiership title win at the end of their Tynecastle clash on Saturday.
A Hoops victory would take Ronny Deila's side 12 points clear of Aberdeen who play the first of their remaining four games later in the day at home to Motherwell.
However, the goal difference which currently stands at 36 in Celtic's favour would surely guarantee a fifth successive championship win for the Parkhead club.
USA international Kitchen has less than fond memories of the Eastern Conference Championship play-off games for DC United against Houston Dynamo in 2012, when Dynamo won the first game 3-1 before grabbing a 1-1 draw at the RFK Stadium to go through on a 4-2 aggregate and he does wants to experience anything similar this weekend.
The 23-year-old told Press Association Sport: "It is huge. I have been part of games where it is a home game and the other team is celebrating on your field.
"In 2012, in the Eastern Conference final, it was the second leg at our place and they beat us on aggregate and were celebrating.
"It is not a good feeling and we will try our best not to allow that to happen.
"That was the last game of the season too, we could have made it to a final which would have been huge, so yes, we don't want that to happen. There is a lot on the line."
Third-placed Hearts go in to the game eight points behind Aberdeen with four games remaining.
However, Kitchen is not giving up on a second place finish and believes playing at Tynecastle this weekend will help.
"It is mathematically still possible," he said.
"We have to believe. If we don't believe that then there is no point playing these last games so we have to have that mentality and try to maximise the points and make the most of every opportunity."
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has two key players back for the visit of Celtic.
Full-back Juwon Oshaniwa and centre-half Igor Rossi return to the squad after missing last week's defeat at Motherwell through suspension.
Ronny Deila hopes to be cheering Celtic on to 10 titles in a row after he leaves Parkhead at the end of the season.
The departing Norwegian could win his second and the Hoops' fifth successive Premiership crown against Hearts.
It is assumed that traditional rivals Rangers will provide a level of challenge that has been missing for the last four years when they return to the top flight next season but, asked if he expected to see what would be a record-breaking 10 straight titles going to Celtic Park, the Norwegian said: "I hope that will happen.
"I will always be a big Celtic supporter and I will follow everything that happens but it is easy to talk about the future, first we have to win this title and get over the line.
"We have been the best in the last four years and we can be this year as well.
"And when you are the best, the only thing you have to be is hungry."
Deila insists he is focusing only on the trip to Gorgie where he would "feel so happy" if the day was to end with a title win.
"The most important thing is to be champions," he said. "It is a big game and we are in a very good position."
Deila has doubts over defender Charlie Mulgrew (hamstring) and midfielder Stefan Johansen (heel). Centre-back Jozo Simunovic remains out with a knee injury.