Aug 28 2009 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser Friday
KENNY Deuchar is determined to preserve an unbeaten personal record at McDiarmid Park by putting Hearts to the sword in Sunday’s head to head.
It’s the first time the teams have clashed for seven years and the striker is eager to open his SPL account after bagging four goals in two Co-operative Insurance Cup ties against lower league opposition.
The target man fell victim to tactical changes and wasn’t stripped at Celtic Park. But he enhanced his case for a rapid recall with two goals in the 6-0 thrashing of Arbroath in midweek.
He observed: “I've been lucky enough to play in three of our four games so far this season so I can't complain too much at missing out on Saturday.
“Of course, going to Parkhead and Ibrox are the fixtures you want to be involved in and it's disappointing when you miss out. But these things happen in football
“The manager has to make decisions and I'm fine with that. Hopefully, I've done enough against Arbroath to be in his thoughts now for Sunday.”
The powerful striker, who memorably faced the capital club in a Scottish Cup final while Gretna were “Living the Dream,” revealed he has no intention of giving-up a coveted track record.
Deuchar said: “I don't care where I'm scoring as long as I am scoring and the team is doing well. But it would be nice to get a goal at McDiarmid Park, where I have a really good record. I don't want to put a curse on it but I've never lost there either playing for St Johnstone when I was on loan or against them for Gretna. That must amount to around nine games.”
The Perth side have notched 15 goals in four games but seven goals against in the SPL stats has to be addressed.
Deuchar admitted: “Probably the most important thing in the SPL is how you defend. If you can keep the back door shut there's always the chance you'll nick a goal.
“We are dangerous going forward and if we can stop conceding then we'll win our share of games.”
Hearts have enduring a torrid start to the campaign and the Perth trip has been put back 24 hours because of their Europa Cup commitments. Last night they were involved in a face-saving exercise against Dinamo Zagreb.
Deuchar admits they have been a Jekyll and Hyde side. He said: “I've played against Hearts for Gretna and Hamilton. And you don't know what to expect from them.
“I played them last year with Accies and they were terrible. But catch them on another day and they are brilliant and capable of competing with the Old Firm. We just have to prepare as if they are going to be top drawer.
“But hopefully the European game will have taken something out of them.
“Their agenda is maybe different to our own in that they are going for the top six. So perhaps there's more pressure on them. But with just one point from the first two games we want to take full advantage of being at home on Sunday.”
Manager Derek McInnes, who took in the Hearts game last night, admitted a string of players seized the opportunity at Arbroath to make a case for inclusion on Sunday. But he noted there wasn’t room for them all.
He said: “We showed a lot of quality and some of our goals were excellent against Arbroath. Players pressing for a start showed the right attitude.
“And it bodes well that our forward thinking players are all getting goals.
“Savo plays so well on the shoulders of defenders, Kenny led the line with a real physical presence, Fil produced a goal from the top drawer and Sammy again looked sharp. But there were various impressive performances.”
Murray Davidson and Jody Morris missed out in midweek but will train today.
McInnes said: “Hearts haven’t reached the heights of last season yet but there are mitigating circumstances. But the focus has to be on ourselves.
“This is another exciting game for the players and the fans, bearing in mind where we were this time last year.”
* SUNDAY’S home game starts at 3pm. Hearts fans will be in the stands behind the goals.
* KEVIN Rutkiewicz lured Sky Sports cameras to his gig at King Tut’s last weekend. And news that he’s on the comeback trail will be sweet music to Perth fans. The skipper plans to use the international break to step-up his bid for a first team return.
* SAINTS are away to Forfar in the Forfarshire Cup on September 8 with a 7.30pm kick-off.
* THE draw for the third round of the Co-operative Insurance Cup will take place on Tuesday. Saints aren’t among the seeded clubs.