Sibbick insists Hearts will sharpen up defence for trip to Rangers

The defender says work has been done since the 4-1 loss to Celtic.

Toby Sibbick insists Hearts will sharpen up their defence for trip to Rangers SNS Group

Toby Sibbick is confident Hearts will be much stronger defensively against Rangers on Sunday after working hard to tighten things up following last weekend’s demoralising 4-1 defeat by Celtic.

The Jambos had conceded only five goals in their opening eight league matches before shipping four in a meek performance at home to the champions on Sunday.

Steven Naismith and his coaching staff have been drilling the team intensely on various aspects of their defence in training over the past week in an effort to ensure they are ready for what promises to be a testing trip to Ibrox.

“I think there was maybe a bit of naivety from all of us on the pitch on Sunday,” said defender Sibbick. “We’ve done a lot of defensive work this week in terms of structure and shape and when to press and when not to press, so I think that can help us going forward into Sunday.

“Hopefully we can show a better defensive structure and get a good result.

“The main thing for us is that we don’t always have to win the ball. Sometimes we just have to frustrate teams and eventually they will try something, and end up giving you the ball back and then it’s our turn to build an attack.

“It’s been a good week of training and we just need to take it into Sunday.”

Rangers won heavily against Hibernian in new manager Philippe Clement’s first game in charge last weekend before drawing 0-0 away to Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday.

Sibbick knows Hearts – who are fourth in the league after an inconsistent start – face a difficult task in Glasgow, but he feels they will have a good chance of pulling off a campaign-igniting result if they can turn the home support against their team.

“Sometimes when we play at home, if things are not going to plan we can feel our fans getting on our backs and sometimes it can take a toll as a player,” he said.

“But we’re going to be playing away so at times we need to frustrate them and when we get the ball we need to play and show them that we’re there to win the game.

“If we can get three points there, it could be the start of our season. We’ll obviously go out there with a game-plan to frustrate them and attack them at the same time. We don’t want to sit in and defend, we want to go there with the intent to win the game.

“We need to get that result from Sunday out of our system. This Sunday is a new game for us and it’s an opportunity for us to get three points.”

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