ZANDER Clark has attributed Hearts disappointing display against Rangers to their failure to silence the Ibrox crowd and insisted the Tynecastle club are capable of putting the 5-0 reverse firmly behind them in the Edinburgh derby on Wednesday night.

Clark and his team mates went into the cinch Premiership fixture in Govan on Saturday on the back of an eight game winning and 12 match unbeaten run and were widely expected to give Philippe Clement’s side a difficult afternoon.

But Mohamed Diomande broke the deadlock in the second minute and the home supporters in the 50,354-strong attendance, on a huge high after watching their heroes move to the top of table for the first time in two years six days earlier, created an intimidating atmosphere for the visitors thereafter.

Scotland goalkeeper Clark, who denied James Tavernier, Ridvan Yilmaz, Cyriel Dessers and Fabio Silva with excellent saves during the course of the 90 minutes, admitted that falling behind so early on had scuppered Hearts’ game plan and reduced their hopes of getting a result.

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“It’s a tough one to take,” he said. “We knew it would be a fast start from Rangers, being top of the league, but to lose a goal so early gives them an extra lift. We were backs against the wall from that point on. The manner of the goals we conceded are disappointing. It’s not been like us.

“Listen, we knew the crowd would be right behind them after going top of the league last week and with them playing the day before Celtic. We knew they would be right at it and we needed to try and silence them.

“Conceding so early on gives them an added lift and it’s a difficult one to try and get a foothold in the game. They were relentless and we did not stand up to it in terms of a defensive collective as a team and in terms of getting pressure on them.

The Herald: “But that’s the level that we as a club need to strive to get to. We need to be able to turn in those performances week in, week out and I think we are almost there. 

“As a collective we know how disappointing that was from us, but in the previous weeks we have shown we can compete with anyone in the league. We did it the last time we were at Ibrox and at Parkhead, where we played well.

“It is a bump in the road. We need to make sure we pick ourselves up and get back to what we have been doing. We need to make sure we are bang at it on Wednesday.”

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Clark, who donned the captain’s armband after Lawrence Shankland was substituted in the second half, is optimistic that Hearts can give their supporters reason to cheer in their league match against Hibernian in Gorgie in midweek.

“It’s a big game,” he said. “We are at home and we need to make sure we are back to what we have been in previous weeks and just be right at it. 

“We have a chance quickly to get back to doing what we’ve been doing and we have to take it. We need to make sure we get ourselves on the training pitch and make sure this is just a small bump in the road.

“It’s a chance to get back to winning ways. We were on a great run up until Saturday and as a collective we have to make sure this doesn’t derail us.”