Hearts V Kilmarnock at Tynecastle Stadium : Match Preview
Hearts V Kilmarnock - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Hearts out to prove point
Hearts midfielder Scott Robinson says the Jambos can prove they are too good to be demoted from the Scottish Premiership by finishing within 15 points of their relegation rivals.
The Tynecastle outfit are destined for the Championship next term after failing to overturn the 15-point punishment they were handed for entering administration.
But they now trail Sunday's opponents Kilmarnock in second bottom by just 14.
And Robinson insists that if the Gorgie men can maintain - or even cut - that gap, it will satisfy their own minds at least that they are not second-tier standard.
The 22-year-old said: "If we finish within 15 points then we can fairly say that without the deduction we were good enough to stay in the division.
"That is a point we really want to prove.
"If we can win every game between now and the end of the season that would give us a real high that we can carry on into next season."
Gorgie boss Gary Locke admitted earlier this season that he feared the toil put on his youngsters by a gruelling top-flight season would stunt their development.
But last weekend's 2-1 derby win over city rivals Hibernian - their fourth from five Edinburgh clashes this season - was their fifth match without defeat and Robinson claims that shows the Gorgie squad are now thriving.
"You have got to look at the recent results and say that is the case," he said. "Everyone seems to be coping fine and are on a high right now.
"We're getting better and better right now and the likes of Billy King, Jamie Walker and Dale Carrick have been brilliant recently. They are buzzing.
"Everyone just wants to get out there and express themselves."
Kilmarnock manager Allan Johnston has called for bravery and character from his players as they prepare for one of the biggest weeks in the club's recent history.
Killie have three games in seven days to try to force themselves off second-bottom spot and avoid a relegation play-off.
Killie are only a point behind three teams but some rivals could begin to pull away before their contest in Gorgie.
Johnston said: "They are difficult games, nobody wants to make a mistake that will cost you the games, that's why we have got to be brave and take responsibility and get on the ball. We have players who can cause Hearts a lot of problems.
"You need big characters and big players, and I feel we have got that in the dressing room. Now we have to make sure we get big performances and really good results between now and the end of the season."
Hearts have taken 13 points from five games, showing no sign of being demoralised by their relegation.
"You can see they're playing without any fear," Johnston said. "The confidence is there for everyone to see. So it's going to be a really difficult game but we're going into it with a positive mood and looking to finish seventh. There are only two points in it.
"A win would be massive and we're more than capable of doing it. We have to show the quality we have got."
Killie got some good news this week when the Scottish Professional Football League dismissed allegations from a former employee that a club official had forged a player's signature on a contract.
When asked if the news came as a relief, Johnston said: "I suppose it is because we can't have any distractions for the players. We know how big a week it is, but we are going into it in a positive frame of mind.
"It wasn't playing on my mind. I couldn't see where it was coming from and we have got to focus on the football.
"We explained to the players we didn't feel there was anything to worry about and that the club hadn't done anything wrong, and we have to concentrate on the football and make sure we get results on the park."
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