Toby Sibbick is confident Wednesday’s chastening defeat by Rangers will not disrupt Hearts’ momentum.
The Jambos were unbeaten in 10 matches before losing 3-0 at home to the Ibrox men in midweek.
Defender Sibbick expects a positive response at home to Dundee United on Saturday as his team bid to pull away from their rivals in the battle for third place in the cinch Premiership.
“It’s still pretty positive,” said the Englishman when asked about the mood in the Hearts dressing room. “We didn’t get the result or performance we wanted on Wednesday but we were on a great run – 10 games unbeaten – so we’re just looking to start another run and increase the gap from third to fourth.
“We know we’ve got the quality to really be aggressive and get on the front foot, we’ve done it plenty of times this season, but unfortunately on Wednesday we just couldn’t get going.
“I just felt we couldn’t get near them for whatever reason. We just weren’t up to the standards we’ve set in the last few weeks but sometimes that happens.
“It’s about how we bounce back. That game’s done now, it’s in the past, we’re looking to the future and picking up more points. We’re very determined to go on another long run.”
Sibbick expects a competitive game against a Dundee United side who are joint bottom of the table.
“We’ll both have different goals,” he said. “They’ll want a win to break away from the bottom four and we need a win to get away from fourth place.
“I think you’ll see both teams really trying to get the three points so it should be an entertaining game. They gave us a tough game just before Christmas. They’re a physical team.
“I’ve played against (United striker) Steven Fletcher a few times down south in the Championship. He’s obviously a very experienced striker who has played at a good level. He’s a good aerial threat so it will be a tough match.”
Sibbick scored his first goal for Hearts a fortnight ago when he surged from his own half to net against Hibernian in the Scottish Cup and the centre-back also got forward at every opportunity when he was moved to right-back in the second half of Wednesday’s game against Rangers.
“When I first joined Barnsley and at Wimbledon I was more of a right-back, right-wing-back, so I do know when to get forward,” he said of his recent enthusiasm to join attacks.
“I’ll go forward if the time’s right, it’s something I like doing and something the gaffer wants his outside centre-backs to do. It’s definitely something to add to my game.
“I enjoyed playing right-back on Wednesday, I found it quite comfortable because I’m used to that position. I hadn’t played there for a long time but if I’m needed to play there I’m willing to fill in.”