BY ALAN TEMPLE – CAPITAL CITY PRESS
Callum Paterson took his chances with a fearsome Tiger Shark – before insisting Hearts can smell blood ahead of their return to the top flight.
The capital club have confirmed that hungry punters have snapped up over 13,000 season tickets for the upcoming Premiership campaign.
And Paterson reckons any visitors to Tynecastle next season will be getting thrown in at the deep end at the most intimidating venue in Scottish football.
Speaking after his dive at Deep Sea World in North Queensferry, the 20-year-old insisted the Jambos are ready to bare their teeth in front of bumper crowds in Gorgie.
He said: “Last year we had sell-out’s every game and it was a massive boost for the team. This summer the fans have shown that they still want to see us play football and entertain them. we want to repay them for that.
“It could be the most intimidating venue in Scotland. You go to Celtic Park on a Tuesday night, for example, and it only as 20,000 people in it. Obviously it is a massive stadium but when you see it as empty as it can be, it’s not great.
“When you play at Tynecastle, although it’s not a massive venue, it is always packed to the rafters with the fans backing us – players can be a bit scared to come and play us so it can be our fortress.”
Owner Ann Budge has already ordered Robbie Neilson to make waves in the Premiership next term, setting a minimum target of a top flight finish for the men in maroon.
But Paterson is not fazed by the ‘sink or swim’ ultimatum.
He continued: “Brad McKay went to St Johnstone and that’s great for him, he’ll be playing in European football. That’s something we don’t have this season – but hopefully next year.
“You have to be positive. Even if we had won the league by one point, rather than 21, we would be pushing for top six this season. But, with the way we won promotion last year, hopefully we can carry that on.
“The teams will be different, the grounds will be different, but we’ll go in with the same mind-set as last year.”
Paterson was unwilling to take the bait when asked about the prospect of his former captain Danny Wilson returning to Rangers – a potential move which has stunned many Jambos.
He added: “If he moves there, then the best of luck to him. He has been linked with Fenerbahce and teams all over the globe, but he could go there [Rangers] and do very well next season.
“It could be a personal reason or something behind closed doors, so it his own decision. I haven’t texted to him or spoken to him about it – I’m not going to text Danny and say: ‘So, I hear you’re going to Rangers!'”