Hearts look to seal European spot

Wed, 09 May 12:36:12 2012

Hearts are aiming to dampen Celtic's Clydesdale Bank Premier League-winning title party on Sunday by claiming the point required to secure Europa League football next term.

Celtic will be presented with the SPL trophy in their final fixture of the season, when Hearts are looking to wrap up fifth place ahead of St Johnstone before turning their attentions to their own quest for silverware.

First-team coach Gary Locke told Hearts TV: "They've had a fantastic season. We know how difficult it's going to be.

"We've got to go through there and try to be well organised. The boys and the management staff all know what's at stake. If we get a point then we'll finish in fifth place and qualify for Europe. That's what we're looking for.

"Hopefully if we can get a result at Celtic Park that will get us into Europe. That was certainly our aim at the start of the season."

With the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Hibernian following six days later, Hearts boss Paulo Sergio has already hinted at making changes at Parkhead after taking a two-point lead over Saints with victory at Tynecastle last Sunday.

Hearts have a superior goal difference and could therefore finish fifth with a draw at Celtic, even if Saints beat Rangers.

David Templeton, Medhi Taouil and Arvydas Novikovas were among those on the substitutes' bench against Saints who will be targeting game time at Parkhead in an effort to break into the side for the first all-Edinburgh Scottish Cup final since 1896 on May 19.

"A lot of these guys are pushing to get a starting place in the team," Locke added. "There are guys that are desperate to play and the more people we've got like that the easier the job is."

Darren Barr, who has converted from defence to midfield this term, went off against the Perth side and may not be risked at Celtic. Locke added: "He's all right. He thinks it's a dead leg, but he's worked with the physios in the last couple of days and he might have a chance for the weekend, if not, we'll look to get him fit for next week."


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