St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas has praised Paulo Sergio for his performance at Hearts as the duo prepare to meet in a William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round replay at McDiarmid Park on Tuesday night.
Rather than wade into the mind games Kenny Shiels indulged in prior to Kilmarnock's 1-1 draw with Hearts on Saturday, Lomas instead paid tribute to the job Portuguese boss Sergio has done despite well-documented off-field problems.
"It's not my style," said Lomas, of the verbal sparring which left a sour taste at Rugby Park, with Sergio declining to shake Shiels' hand following the Killie boss' comments on the turmoil at Tynecastle. "I've got a lot of time and respect for Paulo Sergio and his players."
He added: "It has been a troubled season in terms of what's going on off the field. It has galvanised them to an extent.
"Paulo and his players can take a lot of credit for that. It's not easy when you've got troubles like that off the field."
Hearts' off-field worries could rear their ugly head again this week, with the threat of liquidation hanging over them over an unpaid tax bill and the players' wages due on Thursday.
Last month was the first time in four months the Hearts players were paid on schedule, thus avoiding unlimited sanctions from the Scottish Premier League.
Advancing in the Scottish Cup could soften Hearts' predicament, but Lomas is keen to go one better than at Tynecastle when his side, despite the sending-off of defender Dave Mackay, took the lead only to be held to a 1-1 draw.
A quarter-final place at against either St Mirren or Ross County, who meet in Dingwall on Tuesday night, awaits the winner.
Lomas said: "It's always a priority to win games and get as far in the cup as we can, but we know it's not going to be easy. We can only look after ourselves and it's on the night, it's a one-off, so hopefully we can get it done."