Football - Warren confident of matching Hearts

Inverness defender Gary Warren has vowed to fight fire with fire when Hearts visit the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium on Saturday.

PA Sport
Football - Warren confident of matching Hearts
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Gary Warren, right, has been impressed with the spirit shown by Hearts

Warren has been impressed with the spirit and verve shown by Gary Locke's side in taking seven points off their 15-point penalty for going into administration.

But Scottish Premiership leaders Inverness are the only team in the league who have collected more points than Hearts this season and Warren wants his team-mates to impose themselves on their visitors.

The English centre-back said: "Looking at the reports and video clips, you know they are going to be a young, energetic side. But so are we.

"The way we play is full of energy and enthusiasm."

Hearts will be without the suspended Kevin McHattie and Danny Wilson after their red cards during and after last weekend's victory over Aberdeen.

Three days later, the Jambos had 120 minutes of action in the League Cup before beating Raith Rovers on penalties. Given Locke's small and youthful squad, there is little scope for freshening his team up.

Warren said: "It's another long journey for them. They have had a midweek game so it's important we start the game brightly like we have in the last few weeks. We have to take the game to them."

Inverness have targeted remaining top of the table throughout the upcoming international break following their flying start to the season.

They had not conceded a goal before Celtic clawed back a two-goal deficit at Parkhead last week.

Warren said: "It's important to keep our run going and build on what we have done. It's important to kick on and get three points and that would take us to 13 points from 15, which for any team in any league is an unbelievable start."

Meanwhile, Locke claims Hearts still have "a huge mountain to climb" despite their positive start to the season.

The Tynecastle side started the campaign minus 15 points and with a registration embargo after lapsing into administration with many tipping them for relegation.

However, after four Scottish Premiership games they have reduced their negative points tally by seven while also beating Raith Rovers on penalties in the second round of the League Cup on Tuesday night.

The Gorgie boss, though, mindful of the fact that skipper Danny Wilson and left-back Kevin McHattie are suspended for the trip, brought a sense of perspective into his club's encouraging start.

"Our only target was to get to zero points as quickly as we could," said Locke.

"At the start of the season I think everybody, quite rightly, would probably have said Hearts are going to get relegated.

"We have had a reasonable start but that's all it is. It is only four games in.

"We said that to the players after the other night (League Cup).

"It was a great battling performance but we haven't achieved anything.

"The main thing was to get a win early for the supporters, who have been fantastic.

"We have managed to pick up a few points but just because we have had a reasonable start, we still have a huge mountain to climb.

"I think that is the most important thing, we don't get too carried away.

"But we have given ourselves a little chance and hopefully the boys can keep putting in the performances they are putting in at the moment.

Locke is hoping keeper Jamie MacDonald will shrug off an ankle injury picked up against Raith.

He said: "Jamie is not looking too bad. He went over on his ankle and got a wee shock but it has settled down well and I am hoping to have him available at the weekend.

"We are down to the bare bones. It is the same squad of players minus two so it will be really difficult.

"I can't afford to lose anyone from the squad, it is small enough as it is."

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