Hearts cannot afford to take the Betfred Cup lightly or else risk losing their early season momentum, according to Robbie Neilson.
The Tynecastle men have won all seven of their matches since returning to action in October.
Ahead of facing East Fife in their final Betfred Cup group stage tie on Tuesday evening, the Hearts manager said they must not lose their hard-fought-for wining mentality.
Neilson said: “It is part and parcel of playing at Hearts. Whether it is in the Betfred, the Championship or the Premiership – it is about winning.
“No matter who you play, whether it is home or away, you need to get into that mentality.
“We want to win the group but we also want to win it convincingly so we get into that top four bracket which will seed us along with the four teams coming in from European football.
“We want to go as far as we can in this competition.”
The match at Bayview Stadium could see Christophe Berra return to action after an Achilles injury cut short his pre-season.
The 35-year-old looked to be on his way out of Hearts in January as then-manager Daniel Stendel stripped him of the captaincy then loaned him out to Dundee.
But Berra, who is in his final year of his contract, has been told he will be a big part of the plans under Neilson.
Asked if the experience of the past year would fuel him for the campaign ahead, Berra said: “You have your own self pride, I have always set myself high standards, demanded a lot of myself and been my own biggest critic.
“So I just want to run back out at Tynecastle and play well. I train well, play well and the rest will take care of itself.
“I went to Dundee and showed [I still have a lot to offer].
“I went there, played well, we got five clean sheets out of five and it was a confidence boost.
“No matter what club I’ve been at I have never expected just to turn up and be in the starting eleven – you have got to go and prove yourself.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country