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Csaba Laszlo <-auth None auth-> Craig Thomson
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1 of 027 Marius Zaliukas 18 ;Andrew Driver 58 L SPL A

Karipidis urges crestfallen Hearts side to cup shocker

CHRISTOS KARIPIDIS insisted today that Hearts must completely erase their Co-Operative Insurance Cup misery from their minds if they are to have any chance of bouncing back with victory over Hamilton this weekend.

The Jambos head for New Douglas Park on SPL business tomorrow, having had just two days to digest their shock cup exit on Wednesday night.

Their 4-3 defeat on penalties at the hands of Kenny Black's First Division Airdrie came less than 24 hours after city rivals Hibs were also knocked out of the same competition and was equally unexpected.

Missed spot kicks from Lee Wallace and David Obua sealed the Tynecastle side's fate and sparked wild celebrations among the Diamonds players, who had more than held their own over the course of the 120 minutes of football which had been played.

The cup was one of Hearts' main hopes of silverware this season but with that avenue now gone, Karipidis acknowledged the importance of focusing fully on the league campaign and improving on last season's eighth-place finish in the table.

And, although he conceded that it would be difficult to lift the spirit in the Hearts camp after such a result, Karipidis is pleased to be back playing so soon after the defeat and stressed that the Tynecastle squad is packed with plenty larger-than-life personalities to raise morale.

Karipidis said: "We have got to be hard and look only ahead. I know that it is difficult, but we have got to forget about this game, we must put it behind us and try to look ahead because now we have another game coming up very quickly and we have to try to play a very good game and take all three points.

"Everyone is disappointed but we have to pick ourselves up. Yes, it is difficult to forget what happened against Airdrie, but at the end of the day, this is my job, it is the job of the other players and it is up to us to do what we can to get a victory against Hamilton.

"We are footballers and we have to have confidence and big personalities to make sure that we keep moving forward and that the team keeps moving forward.

"If we keep going over and over the cup game and talking about what went wrong, why we did not score, how we missed the penalties then that does not help us to forget and move on.

"It is a good thing that we play Hamilton so soon. We must play well against them to put Airdrie out of our minds and we must score more easily.

"In every game we have played so far we have had a lot of chances but we have not been able to score from many of them and we have had a few problems in defence as well.

"The players feel very bad but there is nothing that we can do to change the outcome of Wednesday's game now and it is very important that we are fully focused on the task ahead of us at Hamilton.

"After we have played that game then we have a two-week break because of the international games and we will have time to discuss the situation and how we played and see what we can do to change the things that went wrong against Airdrie."

Despite his disappointment at losing out to the First Division side, Karipidis insisted that there is no need for the players or supporters to hit the panic button.

The Tynecastle side are still creating chances but are passing up more than they are taking and that is the first issue that the Greek believes has to be addressed.

Karipidis is certain that he and his team-mates will learn lessons from their cup defeat and revealed that they are continually working in training to improve their accuracy in front of goal, adding: "There is no need to panic. I know that it was a very bad result for us, we are out of the cup and everyone is very disappointed with the result.

"I was very disappointed but sometimes this is football, this is life and these things can happen. Okay, I don't think that we played very well but in extra-time we had chances to score, maybe five or six. If you don't score then you cannot go through.

"Their goalkeeper had some very good saves but we cannot talk about that, we must make sure that we learn from these games.

"We have to concentrate, focus fully when we are up against the opposition goalkeeper and have a clear mind, think about only one thing and that is scoring a goal.

"But we work on this many times in training, believe me, we work every day very hard on these types of situations.

"It will come for us though, I am sure of that. And it is not only bad things, it is good that we are able to create so many chances, the fact that we are making opportunities for ourselves means that we are not far away, but I think that every team needs a little bit of luck in front of goal and that is something that we have not had so far this season.

"I hope that over the next few games that will change and that we will be able to go out and score a few goals."

There were more than a few raised eyebrows at Tynecastle when Karipidis was first to step up to take a spot-kick for the Jambos, closely followed by defender Lee Wallace and Eggert Jonsson.

However, Karipidis, who hit a textbook penalty to beat Stephen Robertson in the Airdrie goal, insisted that the lack of attacking players lining up to have a go from 12 yards was not the reason for Hearts' exit from the competition.

"In football, everyone can take penalties," he insisted. "No matter what position you are playing in – as long as you have the confidence you can take a penalty.

"When the manager asked if I could take a penalty I said 'of course'. I was confident and I believe in myself so I was happy to take one.

"Okay, some people scored and some people did not but that can happen to anyone, look at John Terry in the Champions League final. He is one of the best players in the world yet the same thing happened to him.

"This is football, even big players lose penalties, but you have to move on."

Billy Reid's Hamilton have beaten Dundee United and Inverness Caley in the league already this season and won through to the next round of the cup on Tuesday night with a convincing 3-1 victory over Clyde and will undoubtedly provide a stiff test for Laszlo's men.

Karipidis acknowledges the threat Accies carry but is confident that the Jambos can rack up their third win of the SPL campaign. "They have had a very good start to the season, maybe it has taken some people by surprise but we know that they are a good side and we have a lot of respect for them," he said.

"They seem to have a lot of confidence as well but, at the end of the day, if we can go there and play well, score a goal, then I am confident that we can go there and win the game."

Taken from the Scotsman

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