Celtic will provide a big task for Hearts despite a transitional period at Parkhead, according to winger Gary Mackay-Steven.

The 30-year-old spent two years at Celtic between 2015-17 before spells at Aberdeen and New York City. Mackay-Steven is returning to the Scottish Premiership with Hearts after their Championship title win last season, an opening match with his former club providing a tricky start.

09/03/19 LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP .CELTIC v ABERDEEN .CELTIC PARK - GLASGOW .Aberdeen's Gary Mackay-Steven, who is injured, arrives at the game

Mackay-Steven faces his former club tomorrow. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Celtic are adjusting to life under new manager Ange Postecoglou after a calamitous 2020/21 season, but Mackay-Steven says Hearts must be on their guard: “A lot has been said about Celtic. But it’s still Celtic, a massive team with great players.

“We know it’s going to be tough. I still know a lot of the boys through there and we can’t underestimate them at all. It’s a tough game to start with. But we will focus on ourselves. We want to come out with a good performance and good result.”

 

No longer a youngster, Mackay-Steven is enjoying a senior role in the Hearts dressing room. The expectation of victory at every turn is something he embraces: “It’s going to be great. I am at a massive club and the expectation is to win all the time.

“I know we are in a different league now – it’s a step up – but the expectation no matter the opponent is three points. We will take each game as it comes. It’s a massive cliché but it’s true!  I am at a different stage in my career now and I’ve been around a lot of clubs and teams. There’s lots of senior boys in the changing room. Lots of leaders.”

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