PAUL Hartley believes Hearts are capable of knocking Rangers out of the William Hill Scottish Cup on Saturday - but fears his former club could go down this season.

Daniel Stendel's team came from behind to defeat Steven Gerrard's side 2-1 in the Ladbrokes Premiership at Tynecastle last month and Hartley reckons they can pull off an upset again.

However, the former Gorgie midfielder predicted the capital club, in bottom spot in the top flight with 11 games remaining, could still end the 2019/20 campaign getting relegated.


“They look as if there is a lack of confidence running through the team," he said. "They had a wee bit of an upturn after the new manager came in, in terms of some of their performances when they were playing a pressing game.

“After the league win over Rangers, you thought they would kick on but they have actually gone backwards in terms of performances.

“It’s a real worry. I know it’s a one-off cup game this weekend and they will have a chance, but I think their league situation is alarming. They are in a real dogfight. You would normally expect them to come out of it, but it doesn’t look like that just now.


“People keep saying they are too big a club to go down but if you keep losing games, there is too big a possibility you will go down.

“There is going to be change in ownership at the club over the next few months, with the Foundation of Hearts taking over, and I just wonder where that leaves the club going forward."


Hartley added: “It’s going to be difficult for Rangers to claw back Celtic’s lead in the league now, so Saturday’s cup tie is obviously an important game for Rangers.

“It’s a difficult venue for Rangers and if Hearts play like they did in the last league game against them there, then they will definitely have a chance.

“Hearts will fancy their chances. Deep down, the Hearts players and supporters will expect a good performance."