Hearts V Celtic at Tynecastle Stadium : Match Preview

01 April 2017
Hearts V Celtic - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Ian Cathro says Hearts need to show more steel

Hearts head coach Ian Cathro admits his side need to be mentally stronger to turn around their form.

Cathro's side have lost four of their last five games ahead of the visit of Celtic, who will clinch the Ladbrokes Premiership title if they win at Tynecastle on Sunday.

They have fallen from second to fifth in the table since Robbie Neilson left and Cathro feels they need to react better to adversity.

"We've probably had a couple of false starts," said Cathro, who has won five out of 17 games in charge.

"What's important for us is the strength of the team, and all of us, in games where we lose the first goal perhaps or there is a little negative period in the game.

"We need to deal with that better and not allow those things to affect us as much as they perhaps have.

"That's something which we are all aware of which needs to go away. It needs to go away. And it's a simple thing, it's our individual attitude, it's our collective attitude. That can be addressed quite quickly. I would consider it has been addressed and that me move forward."

Defender Aaron Hughes is still not ready for a comeback. The Northern Ireland international has sat out four games with a calf injury and Cathro revealed he was "still managing a complicated muscle situation".

Long-term injury victims John Souttar (Achilles) and Callum Paterson (knee) remain on the sidelines while striker Dylan Bikey has rejoined Stirling on loan until the end of the season after making two appearances for Hearts since his January move.

Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers revealed that he urged Stuart Armstrong to simply maintain his Celtic form during his Scotland debut against Slovenia last weekend.

The 25-year-old midfielder was rewarded for an outstanding season with the Hoops when national team boss Gordon Strachan pitched him in for the crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park.

A 1-0 victory kept qualifying hopes alive and Armstrong returned to Celtic Park, along with Scotland team-mates Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Scott Brown, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths, to prepare for the trip to Tynecastle on Sunday where victory will clinch the club's sixth successive Ladbrokes Premiership title.

"I was delighted for Stuart," said the Parkhead boss.

"I sent him a message before the game telling him not to think any more or less and not to prepare any more or less than what you always do. Don't over-think it. Just go and play your game and go and work well.

"I said a few months back, he's got all the ingredients for the top level with his technique and his physicality. He's become mentally stronger and coping with the pressures of playing at a big club and obviously ultimately international level as well.

"Tactically he's playing in different systems, he's becoming more flexible and his knowledge of the game (is better) and that allows you to perform at a higher level.

"So I thought he was outstanding. There were areas of his game he could have been better in but overall he's delighted with how the week went."

Rodgers' first league game as Celtic boss after taking over from Ronny Deila was in a 2-1 win at Tynecastle last August.

Asked what a title win would mean to him in his first season in the job, he said: "It will be a huge honour for me in relation to taking the club in my first year here to the title.

"We are coming off the back of five titles before that. Neil Lennon and Ronny Deila did fantastic and of course we wanted to continue with that.

"I said when I came in that my job was to win it in the best way we possibly could.

"You can win something and it is not the same feeling but if you win and foster the spirit that you have here, this club can make it really special.

"For me, to share that with the players and the coaching staff and everyone at the club, to make everyone a champion, of course, will be really special."

Midfielder Tom Rogic continues to make a good recovery from his ankle injury but will not make the game.

Rodgers is pleased with the progress made by the Australia midfielder who has been out since December but will monitor him over the next week or so.

Source: PAR