Hearts midfielder Peter Haring insists the Tynecastle side do not fear Celtic after the teams were paired together in the Betfred Cup semi-finals.
The reward for edging past Motherwell in Wednesday’s gripping 4-2 last-eight victory is a tie against the holders but Austrian playmaker Haring is adamant that Craig Levein’s high-flying side can end the double treble winner’s incredible stranglehold on domestic honours.
Hearts have already beaten the Hoops in the Premiership this season following a 1-0 success in August and Haring, who scored the second goal against the Steelmen, insists the league leaders are relishing next month’s tie with Brendan Rodgers’ side.
“Of course, if we play them in Glasgow, at Hampden, it will be different but to know that we have already beaten them and we can beat them should make us feel comfortable and feel good about it.
“We don’t get to decide who we play against and have to take it as it comes. There was a pretty good atmosphere in the dressing room when we saw that we will play against Celtic. We have already beaten them this season so why not again?
“It will be a very tough match but we can beat them.”
Such are the standards Hearts have set in winning ten of their first 12 games this season, the fans booed at full-time following last weekend’s goal-less draw with Livingston.
But former Rapid Vienna player Haring insists the barnstorming victory over Motherwell has lifted the gloom.
He said: “I think in the first couple of minutes you could feel that there was still a lot of negative energy from the last game.
“After the first five games in the league the expectations were a lot higher than before the season and I think much more was made of the result against Livingston.
“We knew that we played badly and under-performed on Saturday but we played really well against Motherwell, especially after we scored.”
Haring put Hearts into the lead in the second half after Steven MacLean cancelled out Well forward Curtis Main’s penalty.
Ryan Bowman brought the visitors level with a stunning half-volley before Olly Lee and Steven Naismith struck in the closing stages to send Hearts into their first domestic cup semi-final in nearly five years.
And four-goal Haring is determined to make the most of his first foray deep into cup competition.
He said: “When I first came here and had talks with the gaffer and Austin MacPhee, they told me that the standards at Hearts are high and that we want to win titles – and I am happy that everything has gone so well, so far.
“This will be my first run to a semi-final and would be my first time at Hampden so I am really looking forward to it.
“Now we are in the semi final and of course we want to go to the final.”
Slice of fortune
Haring, meanwhile, admits he expected team-mate John Souttar to slice his volley right into his path for the goal.
He added: “I know that he never hits the target and he always hits it left so I hoped that the ball would come there.
“It was a little bit of anticipation and knowledge of my team-mates.”