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Holt: we will ignore the naysayers when we take on Celtic at Tynecastle

Hearts midfielder Jason Holt says the bottom-of-the-table side will ignore the naysayers when they take on the champions at Tynecastle.

The hosts have lost every meeting with Celtic this season and were on the receiving end of a 7-0 humiliation the last time the two teams met in Edinburgh.

Despite their lowly position, Hearts are on a four-game unbeaten streak in the Scottish Premiership and will look to use their recent good form to fuel the belief they can take something from the match.

"You can't go into this game listening to other people saying that you've got no chance," said Holt. "You need to go into these games with confidence.

"Saturday is the same as every other game, but we need to pick up some points. We'll keep battling to the very end.

"I think with Rangers not being there, coming to Tynecastle is one of Celtic's biggest games of the season. So if they raise their game, we need to raise our game and we need to match them over every area of the park."

Should Holt feature on Saturday it will be his first appearance since November 9, when he was a member of the victorious Hearts team that upset Aberdeen 3-1 at Pittodrie. He broke his metatarsal in training the following week and has been rehabilitating ever since.

"I'm just glad to be back," said Holt. "I've had two weeks of full training under my belt and I played for the under-20s, so it's going really well. I've had no setbacks yet so fingers crossed. I feel I'm ready for a start.

"There's been a lot happening since I went out. Looking on, it's frustrating at times, though the boys have been great recently. Obviously the semi-final was a massive disappointment, but we can't dwell on that, we need to look forward."

Hearts supporters will be hoping that Holt's return is a good omen in their quest to end Celtic's clean sheet record, with the league leaders going into the match off the back of 12 consecutive shut-outs in the Scottish Premiership.

The only goal that Hearts have scored this season against the Parkhead side came via the boot of their returning midfielder in September.

"I just hit it from the edge of the box and thankfully it went in," Holt added. "Unfortunately, we lost that day but I think we played reasonably well. If we can keep our recent form going then hopefully we can get something out of the game."

Meanwhile, Charlie Mulgrew will return for Celtic after missing two matches with a calf knock.

But Emilio Izaguirre is struggling after limping off with a knock against St Johnstone on Sunday and James Forrest remains out although manager Neil Lennon expects the winger to return soon.

Long-term absentees Mikael Lustig (hip), Beram Kayal (foot) and Steven Mouyokolo (Achilles) remain out.

Provisional squad: Forster, Matthews, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Izaguirre, Brown, Mulgrew, Boerrigter, Griffiths, Commons, Pukki, Balde, Biton, Samaras, Stokes, Johansen, Fisher, Henderson, O'Connell, Zaluska.

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