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Hearts boss Robbie Neilson expects ‘different ball game’ against Celtic in cup

Hearts of Midlothian v Celtic – cinch Premiership – Tynecastle Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson expects their cup tie at Celtic Park to be a “different ball game” to their recent league victory at Tynecastle.

Hearts piled on the misery for Ange Postecoglou with a late 2-1 win on the opening weekend of the cinch Premiership season after the Greek-born Australian opened his reign with a Champions League exit at the hands of Midtjylland.

The tide has turned somewhat since then for the new Hoops boss.

Postecoglou has added England goalkeeper Joe Hart to his team, while defender Carl Starfelt has had more time to settle in following his shaky start at Tynecastle, and Kyogo Furuhashi has netted four goals since coming off the bench in Gorgie, hours after meeting his new team-mates.

But Neilson believes the biggest change in dynamics ahead of Hearts’ second meeting with Celtic in 15 days will be the venue.

“Whenever you go from a home game to an away game, and especially at Celtic Park, it’s a totally different atmosphere,” Neilson said.

“The pitch is big, it’s open, they will have 50-60,000 behind them. So we know it’s going to be a different game.

“The actual team hasn’t changed a lot. You are probably looking at Tom Rogic coming in, Kyogo has come in as well. Other than that it’s much the same as the team we played, but a different venue.

“You lose a game the mindset is different, you win a game, it changes quickly.

“Celtic have had a couple of good results recently, as we have, so we know it’s a different ball game when we go to Celtic Park.”