Joseph Hungbo insists Ross County’s determination to beat Hearts will be the same whether they are in front of 20,000 or 500 fans.
Tynecastle, one of the most atmospheric footballing arenas in Scotland, is usually one where visiting teams relish the challenge – or fold under pressure.
However, just 500 home supporters will be allowed in on Boxing Day due to the new Scottish Government rules because of rising Covid cases.
Goal is the same – earn three points
County arrive in the capital on a high after their 2-1 win at struggling St Johnstone in midweek shot them out of the bottom two spots and into 10th position.
On-loan Watford ace Hungbo, whose inch-perfect pass set up Charles Regan-Cook for the opener against Saints, explained how the ghostly Gorgie atmosphere won’t spook them.
The 21-year-old winger said: “Nothing changes for us. The momentum and focus stays the same.
“Hearts are a great team, but they have 11 players as we do, so we aim to go there and put on a performance and carry on that momentum.
“That’s so important in football, along with confidence. When you have that in a team, nothing can stop you. Hopefully that shows on Sunday.
“We all know fans do make a difference in terms of how a game is played, but we still have a job to do. Whether it’s 20,000 or 500 fans, we’re still playing against 11 men.”
Worthy winners against St Johnstone
Midfielder Ross Callachan, who missed a penalty in Perth, hit the decisive goal in the triumph over St Johnstone, which opened up a four-point advantage over the basement side, and also left Dundee two points behind the Staggies.
Hungbo felt the victory was just reward for the squad after weeks of improving displays, with only Rangers and Celtic beating them over nine fixtures.
He added: “It was a deserved win. The boys have been working tremendously hard over the past few weeks. This is what we need to be doing.
“In the last nine games, we have only lost twice and that was against the Old Firm, so we’ve have picked up good form. We just need to carry that on into Boxing Day.”
Warm welcome in north for Hungbo
Hungbo, whose switch from Watford to Dingwall is for the full season, explained despite the distance, he’s progressing on and off the pitch.
He said: “It has been a challenging move for me. I hadn’t stepped around this part of the country before and it’s been a move which has proved what I am, not just as a player, but as a person as well.
“It has worked out to be positive and what I wanted it to be, but there is always more to come.
“The most important thing is that I contribute and help the team find their form. It has been a great move.
“All the boys have kept me going and the manager and staff and everyone around the club has helped me. It’s been perfect.”
Hungbo hit the headlines when his stunning free-kick in the 5-0 rout against Dundee won him the SPFL goal of the month for October and he’s carried consistently high performances on.
With the top-flight’s winter break moved forward, after Boxing Day, County will next be in action on January 18 when they host Motherwell in the Premiership.