Toby Sibbick spoke to the press ahead of Heart of Midlothian's trip to Ibrox on Sunday as Steven Naismith's side look to bounce back from last weekend's 4-1 defeat at home to Celtic.

Here's everything the versatile defender had to say:

What’s the preparation been like this week?

We analysed the Celtic game and although the scoreline was a bad reflection of the game, there are some parts where we need to believe in ourselves to play more. We watched some clips and that’s what we want to do against Rangers. We want to go there with intent to play.

Can you take heart from the last 30 minutes or so against Celtic when the team caused one or two problems?

Yeah. It was just unfortunate that we didn’t start like that from the first minute. Now we move forward to the Rangers game. It’s a different game for us and we want to play how we know we can play.

The manager wants the team to be braver on the ball, how easy is it to do that in practice?

We want to be controlled on the ball first of all. But if the opportunity is there to play it forward then we have to do it. That’s what we have been working on in training – trying to shift the ball quickly and then go forward and hurt them. We have been watching their clips and looking at areas where we can hurt them. Hopefully we can put that into practice on Sunday.

These things can work in training but then they are harder to replicate during a match?

Of course. That’s when there is a bit of pressure and we know that. But I feel that when we move the ball quickly, and we did it a few times against Celtic, we can get in behind them and cause them some problems. On Sunday we just need to go there and start how we mean to go on, control the ball and try to hurt them.

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Is it easy to believe in yourself when going to a venue like Ibrox?

I think it’s a different pressure when we go there because Rangers are expected to win. Maybe it puts more pressure on them and less pressure on us, so we can go there and play. We know that they are still a very good team but we need to go there and believe in ourselves because we are a good team as well.

Do you prefer the pressure being on the opposition?

I don’t necessarily think it bothers us as a team but I think if we go there with trust and belief in each other’s ability then we can cause any team a problem.

How has the season been so far for you on a personal level?

I think it’s been a mixture – some good games, some not-so-good games. But now I just have to find that consistency and keep playing well.

Didn’t you make your debut against Rangers?

That was a long time ago now! Boycie scored the winner. That was a big result for us at the time, especially because it was my first game, and it gave me confidence going forward. I think if we can put in a performance on Sunday and get a result then it can fully kick-start our season.

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Can you take confidence from the 2-2 draw at Ibrox last season?

I think so. We played them in the Scottish Cup final and we narrowly lost in extra time. But whenever we play them we do give them a game. We just need to keep 11 men on the pitch and keep our heads. There will be times when they dominate the game but we just need to stick with each other and dig through it. They have got a new manager so it is quite tough to see how they will set up and play. Ultimately on Sunday it will be 11v11 on the pitch and it will be down to the players to get the result.

The next week could set up the rest of the season.

Exactly. The players and the management staff take it one game at a time. No one is looking past this weekend. We know that Sunday is a massive game for us and it is another chance to get three points.

Does the squad have the right mentality to handle the crowd at Ibrox?

Yeah. Especially now that they have a new manager, the fans will be right behind the team more than they have been. But I think us players need to drown that noise out, focus on what’s happening on the pitch and not to get too tied up with what the crowd wants. We can’t allow the crowd to put pressure on us.

Can you handle the pressure?

Yeah. The atmosphere is always really good so you can take that in but as soon as you’ve taken it in, you just have to block it out and focus on the task ahead – and that’s winning the game.

Is it important to try and frustrate the crowd and get them to turn on their own team?

I think so. A lot of teams try to do that against us, try to frustrate us and get our fans turned against us. We just have to go there, be good on the ball and try to cause them some problems.

You had a loan spell in Belgium earlier in your career, did you face Phillipe Clement?

I didn’t. I didn’t necessarily play out there. It was a difficult spell for me. I was more or less on the bench or not in the squad, so that was tough. As a player you want to play but it doesn’t always go the way you want it to.

Was that down to selection issues?

There were selection issues but it was the Covid season as well. I couldn’t really go back and see my family, and they couldn’t come and see me. I was living in another country by myself. But it was alright once I got to grips with it. That’s in the past and I am just looking forward now.

On another note - are you eligible to play for Uganda?

It’s come up a couple of times with the previous manager and the new one, but it is a long process because my mum has got to prove that she was born in Uganda and get all the documents sent. She would have to send her passport off and stuff like that. There have been some talks, not so much in the last few months, but it is a long process to show that you qualify for that nationality.

Is that something you are interested in?

It’s a conversation that we have had. Uganda have qualified for AFCON before, so it would be good to play on the international stage. At the moment it has gone a bit dry. We have been talking to them about it for ages. My mum has to go back to Uganda to get everything sorted and then it gets sent on from there. So I think we will have to wait and see.

Have you been to Uganda before?

I have been a couple of times. The last time I went I was about 10 years old so I haven’t been for a while. I definitely want to go back but it is tough because my mum works, so it’s hard to go back with her.

READ MORE: Responding to Celtic loss and what to expect from Rangers - Steven Naismith Q&A

Is the process still live?

It has sort of died down because my mum has to go back and she will have to get her birth certificate and things like that sent off. She has got a UK passport now so she will have to get a Ugandan passport while she’s there, wait for it, and then send it off. Then we can prove that she was born in Uganda and that I am as well.

Presumably your mum would be proud to see you play for Uganda?

Yeah. There are conversations that we have had and she says if I want to go for it, she will fully support me and it’s the same with my dad as well. If it does happen then it would be really good.

Are you familiar with former Hearts winger David Obua? He played for Uganda too.

I’ve heard of him. It would be great to play for your country and it would be good experience to play against good African teams too. We just have to wait and see.

What’s the next step?

When I’ve been speaking to them, they know that I’ve got Ugandan in me. They’ve asked if my mum has a Ugandan passport, which she hasn’t. They can’t call me up until that’s sorted.

How long would your mum have to stay in Uganda?

I’m not too sure how long it would have to be. My sister went a couple of years ago during Covid and she had to get a passport as well, but I think it only took a couple of weeks and then she could come back. I think my mum would have to go for about a month or so to get it all sorted.

Has the manager been in touch?

Yeah. There have been a few managers, it changes quite a lot! Before it was Johnathan McKinstry, and then before that there was a Serbian guy. We’ve had conversations and his contacts have been in touch as well. It’s been quite demanding but we just have to wait and see.

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