Hearts legend Paul Ritchie has sent a warning to his old side ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Inverness.
He has told the Tynecastle side to expect a tough game, similar to how the cup winning Hearts side he played in, in 1998 were run close by Championship side Falkirk in the semi-final that season.
“Falkirk gave as good as they got in 98 and made it a really good game for the neutral,” Ritchie told the Edinburgh Evening News.
“We got the result in the end but it was a difficult 90 minutes. It’s going to be a tough battle, and they’re going to have to win the battle before they get the opportunity play.”
The game has all the hallmarks of a cup upset. Hearts go into the game in poor form. They lost 2-1 at home to bitter rivals Hibs in their last league game.
They are facing a side in Inverness who are managed by a former Tynecastle icon in John Robertson. And, perhaps most importantly, there are doubts over two of Hearts’ most important players, Uche Ikpeazu and Peter Haring.
If those players fail to make the game, it could be a real struggle for Craig Levein’s side. Ritchie is correct to point out that Hearts must win the ‘battle’. If they do, it will go a long way towards the Tynecastle side reaching the cup final.