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3 of 018 Lee Miller 39 L SPL H

Burchill knows he'll get no gain without pain


MARK BURCHILL will pop the pills as he bids to ensure Hearts don’t suffer any Tennent’s Scottish Cup hangover in tonight’s derby showdown with Hibs.

The striker played through the pain barrier in Sunday’s semi-final defeat from Celtic and has vowed to do the same again at Tynecastle this evening as the Jambos look to keep the pressure on in the race for Europe.

The former Celt played the 90 minutes at Hampden Park despite still suffering from the effects of the "dead leg" sustained in his side’s shock win at Parkhead the previous weekend.

With Hearts desperate for victory over their arch rivals, the 24-year-old has vowed to do what’s necessary to see him line-up alongside Lee Miller in a partnership which is starting to pay real dividends.

"I wasn’t 100 per cent fit as my thigh was still bothering me and big Lee got injured early in the match so that didn’t help our cause.

Robbie also had to go off at half-time and while a few of us may have been patched up, that’s not an excuse.

"It was 11 against 11 and we’re hugely disappointed to be out of the cup.

"If need be I’ll play through the pain again as this is a huge match for us. I got a dead leg in the game at Parkhead and didn’t train at all before playing in the semi-final on Sunday.

"It’s just got to be done. I’ll take more painkillers, get strapped up and get on with things and hopefully we can get the result we’re looking for."

Burchill will join an elite band of players to have featured in the Edinburgh, Old Firm and Tayside derbies - the front man made his debut for Dundee against United at Tannadice in February 2003 - when he runs out against the Hibees at Tynecastle this evening.

He never tires of such games and is hoping that tonight’s Euro crunch provides the Gorgie outfit with the ideal opportunity to blow away their Hampden blues.

While his boss John Robertson admitted it’s a match his side can’t afford to lose in their pursuit of third place in the SPL, Burchill insisted it’s a "must win" game as the Jambos try to slash their visitors advantage to just two points.

"We were all disappointed that we weren’t able to beat Celtic again after doing it at Parkhead," he said.

"They were always going to come out firing and their early goal absolutely killed us. Having said that, we did well to come back after they got their second at the start of the second half.

"Today’s game is now massive for us in terms of European qualification. Without a shadow of doubt it’s the biggest game of the season for us. This is make or break time and it’s a must-win match."

He added: "Anything can happen in derby matches but all we want is the three points tonight.

"When I broke into the Celtic team Rangers had the upper hand in the Old Firm clashes but towards the end of my Celtic career that had changed.

"I have played in the Dundee derby as well and these are the biggest games when you are at certain clubs. I really enjoy them and hopefully there are many more for me at Hearts.

"That’s all in the future. I have only made four starts for Hearts and I’m looking for more starts and more goals," Burchill went on.

"For now the focus is on winning tonight’s game. Both teams are now out of the cup and going for third place. It’s shaping up for a great end to the season and a good result tonight will hopefully set us up for the run-in."

The atmosphere at Tynecastle will be electric this evening as the Capital rivals go head to head for third time this season, Hearts having taking four points from the previous two meetings.

Having scored in the 2-0 win over Celtic ten days ago, Burchill knows that a repeat of that kind of form will make life difficult for Tony Mowbray’s players who themselves are looking for a timely pick-me-up having been stunned by Dundee United in their cup semi-final on Saturday.

"The fans are normally great to us at Tynecastle and having home advantage is important in any derby," he said.

"The mood is good as we’re all still remembering how we played in the victory over Celtic. We are a very good team, hard to handle, and hopefully we can go out and do the business tonight.

"When we get the ball down and play the way we want there is no doubt that we are a decent side.

"It will be tough, though. Hibs are a very good team with some excellent young players. They are fit and energetic and we will have to try to combat that.

"Hopefully our skill will come through in the end."

With Lithuanian star David Cesnauskis underlining his class with a magnificent strike after stepping of the bench at half time at Hampden on Sunday, Robertson has a couple of important selection decisions to make.

"David is just one of a number of good players in our squad," said Burchill. "He came on at half-time against Celtic and brought us back into the game.

"He’s obviously pushing for a starting place again and it’s a difficult decision for the gaffer. But strong competition for places is what every team needs."

Taken from the Scotsman

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