BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Hearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum has been left in no doubt about the importance of Sunday’s Edinburgh derby after a pep talk from Alim Ozturk.
Djoum, 26, admits he has never experienced a local rivalry as intense as the capital clash and, as he prepares to make his maiden appearance in the fixture, the Jambos skipper has been giving him the lay of the land.
Ozturk provided a marquee derby-day moment last season when he scored a remarkable 94th-minute equaliser for Hearts at Easter Road, rescuing a 1-1 draw with a stunning strike from 40 yards.
And the former Roda JC and Lech Poznan playmaker has heard plenty about it as he prepares to cross swords with the Hibees for the first time.
He smiled: “I’m really excited to experience this game. The players have spoken a lot about the matches last year and how special the game is.
“Alim [Ozturk] has been talking about his goal . . . this amazing goal! That shot got a 1-1 draw and he was telling me about the atmosphere and said it was really amazing.
“This match will really be my first proper local derby, with teams from the same city, and that is why I am so excited. Games I have played in before have not been like this.”
With a division separating Hearts and Hibs, Djoum is well aware that the Jambos are firm favourites to see off their city rivals this weekend.
And, with the backing of a sold-out Tynecastle, he believes the Jambos will rise to the challenge and go marching on to the Scottish Cup quarter-final.
He told Hearts TV: “When you look at cup competitions around the world you never know what can happen, a smaller team from a lower division can win.
“But, if we have good concentration, with the fans behind us, we cannot lose.
“We are ready for Hibs, we have good players with a lot of quality. We know that Hibs have won against other Premiership teams, but that does not matter to us. We have to focus on ourselves and know that we must win this game.”