Harry Milne insists that the pressure will all be on Hearts in the capital this afternoon as Partick Thistle make the journey along the M8 for their Viaplay Cup last-16 clash at Tynecastle.

The cup tie comes at a good time for Thistle, who have had an inauspicious start to the new cinch Championship season. Squandered leads in back-to-back matches have seen the Jags yield a solitary point from their opening two games, and Milne welcomes the change in pace.

Hearts’ Europa Conference League win over Rosenborg on Thursday night could lead some to think that Frankie McAvoy’s side may be a little rusty this afternoon but Milne is not among them. The left-back knows that he and his team-mates face an uphill struggle in Gorgie, but it is one he is relishing nonetheless.

“The edge still lies with them,” Milne said. “They’re arguably the third or fourth best team in the country. But yeah, you’d be lying if you said it didn’t help that they’re playing on Thursday night.

“For us it’s a cup game and a chance to put our league form behind us because it’s been a disappointing start for us. We know we have to play a lot better than we have done in the last couple of weeks.

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“The cup gives the fans and the players an extra day out and it moves the focus away from the league. It gives the team a fresh impetus to try and put on a performance and for the fans it’s a great day out.

“I’ve got folk that are going to the game who are buzzing, going out to Edinburgh for the whole day. It should be a good occasion.”

Milne and his team-mates will be roared on by a 1,300-strong sold-out away section in Tynecastle this afternoon but he could find himself the target of abuse from one or two punters in particular in the home end. It won’t be the first time the 26-year-old has found himself on the receiving end of some stick in this competition.

“Last year was quite special for me,” Milne recalled. “Being able to play at Pittodrie [in the quarter-finals] was good for me, obviously coming from Aberdeen. It was the first time I’d managed to play there.

The Herald:

“I got a bit of abuse from a couple of my mates, I spotted them in the crowd at Pittodrie giving this and that!

“It will be nice [against Hearts]. But I think I will still get a little bit of abuse because most of [my partner’s] family are coming and they’re from Edinburgh. A lot of them are from Edinburgh so they will be staying through the night before, going to the Fringe, they might be a bit rowdy!”

The Jags may be blowing a little hot and cold so far this term but on a personal level, Milne has every reason to be pleased with his displays of late. The defender, who arrived from Cove Rangers last summer, picked up a hamstring injury in March that ruled him out for last season’s run-in and an enforced spell on the sidelines.

Milne was one of the best players in the division last term – he was voted by his peers into the Championship team of the season – and had it not been for the injury, the left-back might well have been plying his trade in the Premiership this year. Instead, he signed a one-year extension at the Wyre Stadium At Firhill and he insists there is nowhere better for his development at this stage of his career.

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“It’s tough to say what would have happened if we’d gone up but I think I’d have been here regardless,” Milne said. “If I’d had an amazing last four months of the season, I don’t know what might have happened but I’m delighted to be here.

“I managed to get better and better last year and I’m aiming to do the same again this year. It’s the ideal environment for me.

“This year I’ve become a bit more of a senior figure. The squad has a bit of a younger look to it. I’m enjoying the responsibility of being one of the more experienced guys, I wouldn’t say older, and I was delighted to sign on again.”