London Hearts Supporters Club

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Csaba Laszlo <-auth Stuart Miller auth-> Stuart Dougal
Mikoliunas Saulius [K Lafferty 37] ;[K Boyd pen 91]
2 of 023 ----- L SPL A

Stewart aims to add to pain


Hearts travel to Ibrox tomorrow in an unusual position: for once the "club in crisis" headlines refer to their opponents.

The Edinburgh club have been in turmoil for what seems an age and Michael Stewart knows exactly what Rangers are going through as they prepare for tomorrow's Clydesdale Bank Premier League match. Far from being sympathetic, however, he hopes to deepen the woe.

Stewart knows more than most the effect a rebellious crowd can have on the team after last season's nightmare campaign. While Rangers fans are furious after their club's failure to qualify for the Champions League was followed by the sale of Carlos Cuellar, morale in the Hearts camp seems, for once, relatively high after an opening-day win under new manager Csaba Laszlo.

Speaking at Tynecastle yesterday, where he was unveiled as the first ambassador of the Heart of Midlothian Education and Community Trust, Stewart said: "Regardless of what industry you are in, if you are in an office where there is a bad atmosphere, you are never able to fulfil as much work as you would possibly want.

"You may well think you are working as hard as you can, and you may well be, but as soon as you get that good atmosphere again, you are able to go beyond what you perceived to be your limits before. That's where the difference comes in.

"Individual players are different but, without doubt, it has different variations in terms of the negative impact it has on players. For some players it will be quite minimal and for others it will be quite substantial.

"But we have got to be concentrating on ourselves rather than worrying about what Rangers are doing or what is happening in the stands. We may well go there and the support are fully behind the team, so there is no point on us gambling that things are going to happen."

Hearts head along the M8 aiming to register their first win at Ibrox in four years. The club's fans hope their team can compete for a European place again, but Stewart insists no-one is getting carried away.

"The manager has made such a big impact, but there are so many pitfalls throughout the season that you can't foresee, so it would be wrong to make wild sweeping predictions," he said.

"The fact is, it's a positive atmosphere around the place now and that can only be good for the club as a whole. It's amazing when a club is doing well, it filters right through."

Hearts' defence will have to keep their former team-mate Andrius Velicka, who scored in Rangers' 1-0 win at Falkirk, at bay if they are to get a result.

Stewart added: "He is one of those players like Kris Boyd: the ball seems to fall at his feet in the box.

"When it continually happens you can't turn around and say he is a lucky git: it's obviously a knack he has. He is a fantastic finisher."

Taken from the Herald

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