BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Former Hearts winger Neil McCann believes his old club will be ready for revenge when they face Aberdeen this weekend.
The Tynecastle outfit will travel to Pittodrie in third spot and just four points behind their hosts with a game in hand.
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has consistently tried to focus his club on securing a top-six place, but recent recruits Blazej Augustyn and Juwon Oshaniwa are amongst those who have claimed they can, instead, challenge Celtic – who are now eight points ahead – for the title.
The Gorgie men have lost just once in their last 10 matches but suffered a sobering experience before that sequence when they were soundly beaten 3-1 by Aberdeen back in September.
On that occasion, the Dons were three goals ahead by half-time and McCann reckons that will have stung the Jambos – who enjoyed a free weekend because of the postponement of their clash with Inverness – as they go into an eagerly-awaited encounter.
He said: “It will be massive, because I think Hearts would obviously have been disappointed but also angry with themselves because they got absolutely despatched at Tynecastle when Niall McGinn was absolutely on fire.
“I’ve gone to Pittodrie myself as a Hearts player and had super results, and they’ll take a big following up there with them.
“Hearts have had the luxury of not playing because of their game being postponed, so it’s almost more time for preparation.
“It will have given guys who have been on the treatment table another couple of days to get back to full speed again.So, they’ll be in a good position, with lots of time to prepare.
“Aberdeen seem to have just found a little bit of traction again and if they are serious about a challenge to Celtic to win the Premiership then they have to beat Hearts.
“But they will be coming up against a side who are fully focused and I’m not just saying they’ll be looking for a little bit of revenge, they’ll have the desire to get second position themselves.”
However, legendary former Aberdeen keeper and coach Jim Leighton has backed the Dons to come out on top this weekend.
He added on Sky Sports: “I think Aberdeen are definitely back on track now and they’ll be looking forward to playing Hearts, which is a massive game for both teams.
“Aberdeen will very much be going into it with high hopes. If Aberdeen play the way they have been playing then they will win.”