Hearts captain Alim Ozturk insists he will happily settle for an own goal if it means Robbie Neilson’s side emerge victorious in Sunday’s mouth-watering clash with city rivals Hibs.
The weekend’s eagerly-awaited William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round clash is set to be the only meeting between the fierce Edinburgh rivals this season, with Hibs not managing to follow their Tynecastle counterparts up from the Championship last summer.
Ozturk famously scored an incredible 40-yard strike in injury-time to rescue a point for ten-man Hearts in the October 2014 league clash between the sides at Easter Road.
However, the defender insists he would be more than willing to forgo personal adulation as long as the Gorgie outfit book their place in the quarter-finals.
Ozturk said: “That Hibs game was special. It was not one of our best games, we were 1-0 down in the derby and Callum Paterson had been sent off.
“In the last minute nobody expected a draw, it was something like the 92nd minute.
“I thought, ‘I’ll try it’. It’s not something that happens all the time but it happened against Hibs so it was a proud moment.
“It’s one of my best moments at Hearts. To score in the derby to make it 1-1 was so important for us.
“Some of the fans have been bringing that up again this week and they’re expecting the same again.
“This time I don’t care who scores, if it means winning the game through an own goal, I don’t care. Winning is the most important thing for me, a clean sheet would be good too.”
Despite Hibs still being in the Championship, Ozturk is refusing to recognise the Leith outfit as a second tier side.
Alan Stubbs’ outfit are pushing Rangers for the league title and have already beaten top-flight clubs Aberdeen, Dundee United and St Johnstone in cup competition this term.
Ozturk added: “We knew at the start of the season that if we were going to play Hibs then it would be in the cup. It’s happened now so that’s good.
“I think it will be an interesting game. They beat St Johnstone last week in the League Cup and we know it will be a tough one.
“A derby is always different. Even if one teams plays in the Premiership and the other team plays in the Championship, it doesn’t matter. The derby is always different.”
Foundation of Hearts
Ozturk, meanwhile, has praised the fans for their loyal backing after head coach Neilson and Craig Levein admitted that their support allowed the club to sign John Souttar, Don Cowie and Abiola Dauda on transfer deadline day.
The Foundation of Hearts, which will become the majority shareholders of the club in 2019, are backed by 8,000 fans making monthly donations, while Tynecastle is a sell-out every second weekend.
Ozturk added: “The backing from the fans is unbelievable. It’s been like that since I came to Hearts when they helped the club stay alive, and it’s amazing.
“When I arrived, it was explained to me that every single month the fans put their money into the club.
“Even for the games, every home match is a full house and last year it was exactly the same in the Championship for home and away games.
“I hope the fans keep giving us that backing and support us because that’s so important.
“If you want to push the other teams as well, you have to continue to get stronger and they can help us.
“Their support has laid the foundations for what we’ve done so far but we don’t want to stand still.
“Good players make other players better as well and it’s good for the team to bring in new players, and I hope the new signings do well.”