Hearts secured a hugely significant come from behind win against Aberdeen at Tynecastle on Saturday that has given them renewed hope in the bid to grab a Europa League spot at the end of the season.
But Hearts have no time to rest on their laurels if they want to turn European hopes into reality. That result has to be the kick-start of a run of good results for the remainder of the season.
If Saturday’s game against a Dons side who are a direct rival for a a top three finish, was viewed as a big game, the run coming up must be considered gargantuan in comparison!
With a trip to Ibrox to face a Rangers side licking their wounds following another Old Firm defeat, followed by the Edinburgh derby on Saturday, then rounded off with a Scottish Cup semi-final a week later, it is a daunting, but exciting, week for Hearts.
Of course, anything can happen — and usually does — in the derby, but with Rangers looking slightly wobbly in second, and Hearts having leapfrogged Hibs on Saturday, these are two games they will ideally looking to win.
Even if they can secure four points from the two, it could turn out to be a pivotal week for the Edinburgh side.
With Uche Ikpeazu finding his form, Craig Levein will be hoping the head injury that saw him forced off on Saturday is not serious and that he can be in the lineup on Wednesday.
Levein, rightly heaped praise on the attitude and performance his side after Saturday’s game, but he singled out Ikpeazu, who he said thoroughly deserved his goal and who he described as a “handful” that Aberdeen “couldn’t cope with”.
“Uche was a real handful. Aberdeen couldn’t cope with him and he deserved his goal,” said the former Scotland boss.
“He probably deserved to score more than one, actually. He is a big, honest lad. There are no other sides to him. He just tries his hardest in every match and I love that. Everything is out there.
“I do get really frustrated when I watch the treatment he gets from defenders. I think everybody thinks that because he’s a big lad he doesn’t need any protection. If he got some protection, he would score more goals.”
It is a massive couple of weeks for Hearts, which include a bunch of must-not-lose games.
But with Steven Gerrard’s side still getting over the Celtic defeat, and without their major goal threat, Alfredo Morelos, who was once again sent off, it may actually be a good time to go to Ibrox.
If Hearts perform like they did in the second half on Saturday, and they can frustrate the Ibrox crowd, and get Ikpeazu on the ball in and around the box, then Hearts can take advantage of a shaky Rangers and snatch a win.
What are your thoughts of your club’s chances of securing a Europa League spot? How many points will they get from the next two league games? Let us know your thoughts below…
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