Hearts defender John Souttar is adamant that a potent mix of one Scottish football’s most volatile fixtures staged in what is regarded as the country’s most atmospheric stadium will shock the team’s newcomers today.

Among manager Craig Levein’s 13 summer signings, the likes of Zdenek Zlamal, Ben Garuccio, Olly Lee, Uche Ikpeazu, Peter Haring and Steven MacLean are set to get their first taste of a clash against Celtic at Tynecastle.

Traditionally a grudge match, the pitch row between Levein and Bhoys counterpart Brendan Rodgers at the end of last season will only add to the tension.

Hearts have already played at home to Cowdenbeath and Inverness in the Betfred Cup this term, however, Souttar insists nothing can prepare his team-mates for the thunderous wall of noise that will greet them in today’s televised lunch-time kick-off.

“I think they will be in a for a wee shock at the weekend,” said Souttar, who missed last December's 4-0 thrashing of Celtic at Tynecastle in a game that ended the Hoops' record-breaking 69-game unbeaten domestic run.

“Once the game starts it can often pass you by but you have just got to enjoy it. It is why you become a footballer, to play at Tynecastle, on a Saturday against Celtic, there is nothing better so you’ve got to enjoy it.

“The guys who have come in are all good players so the crowd shouldn’t be an issue for them.

“I think just to play at Tynecastle, in front of a full house, I think that’s what the new players are looking forward to.

“When you sign for Hearts you hear all about the Tynecastle atmosphere and that is what you look forward to and that is what the guys will be thinking.

“They will be thinking that they have done the hard work of going to Hamilton, and then played the early cup games where there wasn’t much of a crowd, so they will be looking forward to playing on front of a full Tynecastle.”

Souttar recalls how he was blown away by the noise inside Tynecastle for the December 2016 2-0 victory over Rangers, despite having been at the club for eight months.

The 21-year-old added: “The biggest atmosphere was probably the Rangers game, at night, just before Robbie Neilson left.

“I remember I came in at half-time thinking the game has just flown by.

“It was the first time I thought ‘wow’. The noise of the fans just dragged us through that game.

“That is the impact this crowd can have and the atmosphere at Tynecastle can help drag us through games.

“Once they get behind the team and we are all together, it is difficult for any team to stop us.

“You saw that in that 4-0 game, once the first goal went in the place was absolutely bouncing.”

Following the disappointment of last season’s sixth place finish, former Dundee United player Souttar, meanwhile, believes Levein’s summer squad overhaul has ensured Hearts will be a force to be reckoned with this term.

He added: “The squad is a lot more experienced than it was last year and there are a lot more bodies.

“We are in a better position, the whole team is. This is the first time in a long time that there has been so much optimism going into the season.

“It has been a tough couple of years for everyone at the club but we are feeling positive now and hopefully that is us over that hill now.

“That’s down to the gaffer as well. He has made us harder to beat since he came in and I do think we have a strong mentality and we will need that this season.

“It will be tested but so far it has been good.”