Daily Record

It’s not fair fight so Jambos have to Ibrox clever

Naisy’s battlers must keep guard up and eye counter punch


MOST boxers would never plan on going toe to toe with Floyd Mayweather.

It would, most likely, just result in a battering.

I understand there are times when you need to come out swinging to land a few blows.

But there are other occasions when you just have to stand there, stick the guard up and try to hit with counter punches.

In a footballin­g sense, Hearts have to do that at Ibrox on Sunday because dropping the arms and trying to have a square go will likely result in another sore face. I’d play 4-5-1 and try to play on the counter.

For me, it’s pretty simple in terms of scenarios when you are facing the Old Firm.

When it’s at Tynecastle, it’s a tighter pitch. You can get out there and get after them, try to make it a scrap and a battle, and see if they fancy getting into it with you and slugging it out.

At Ibrox and Parkhead, I see things a little differentl­y.

You have to go there, sit down, keep the guard up and make it difficult for them.

Ask them questions in front of their own fans and see if you can put pressure on them by nabbing a goal first or keeping the scoreline blank.

I get that Hearts are trying to instil a philosophy into their play under manager Steven Naismith and that is to be commended. You want to see that sort of thing and, for the majority of matches, seeing a clear pattern is good.

But there are times when you need to adjust and cut your cloth accordingl­y.

And sometimes against the Old Firm, you need to think about a different way of getting a positive result.

You can call me a Neandertha­l or old school if you want but whenever I recall Hearts getting results against the Old Firm, they were always in their faces.

They were always up and about them, not HOOPS DASHED Hearts’ heads drop in Tynie defeat trying to outbox or outplay them because you are never going to beat them doing that.

They have more money and because of that, they have better players. It’s not a fair fight.

When you try to be expansive, when you try to open up and when you try to go toe to toe with them in a football sense, then more often than not you’ll get hurt and knocked out.

Ibrox is going to be a difficult game anyway for a Hearts team but they have a new manager coming off a good first result in the Premiershi­p against Hibs. Rangers have had a response to the arrival of Philippe Clement.

This might not be a vintage Rangers team and they might not be in the greatest form... but they are still man for man stronger than Hearts.

You have to be man enough to accept that and try to win the fight another way. One thing is for sure, you can set the team up any which way you want, the No.1 lesson that has to be learned from five days ago is you just cannot defend the way Hearts did against Celtic.

No matter what philosophy or tactics you deploy, letting guys run off you and not going close to better players is going to result in the type of beating Hearts got.

You need to be better than that. You have to believe you can stay in the game and you are not done.

I watched last Sunday’s 4-1 defeat and when the first goal went in for Brendan Rodgers’ team inside four minutes, I could sense Hearts’ heads dropping even at that stage. It almost looked like a feeling of, ‘Oh how are we going to get two goals?’. As soon as Celtic scored, it was like, ‘Oh, here we go again’.

That can’t happen at Ibrox. It needs to be braver because the period Hearts are in at this moment in time is a very tricky one – actually it’s a treacherou­s one.

Playing the Old Firm in three games out of four, including a League Cup semi-final, is tough enough.

And the home game with Livingston is also dangerous.

Hearts need to be streetwise in the fight or it will be another bloody nose.

 ?? ?? KEEP UP OFF THE CANVAS Naismith has to play it right with strategy for Ibrox trip
KEEP UP OFF THE CANVAS Naismith has to play it right with strategy for Ibrox trip
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