STEPHEN ELLIOTT has warned the Old Firm that Hearts are better-placed to sustain a challenge for a top-two finish than they were last season.
The Jambos threatened to give Rangers and Celtic a run for their money as they put together a run of 11 SPL wins from 13 between October and January, but, in the end, they fell away and limped over the line in the race for third.
This time round, however, Irish striker Elliott believes the experience of last season, allied to an improved strength-in-depth throughout the squad, gives Hearts a better chance of capitalising on perceived Old Firm vulnerability. Hearts have drawn away to Rangers and won 2-0 at home to Celtic already this season, with the struggling Parkhead team only a point ahead of Paulo Sergio’s resurgent outfit.
As the Gorgie side bid to make it three wins on the spin at home to Rangers on Sunday, Elliott talked up his team’s chances.
He said: “Who knows if a team outwith the Old Firm can actually win the league? But if we beat Rangers on Sunday we will close the gap on them to eight points and it will do wonders for our confidence.
“If we were able to get into a challenging position again this year, I think we’d be able to cope better because of last season’s experience. Last season ended disappointingly but we’ve got to take things on to another level this season. We slipped up towards the end of last season, which possibly came from the fact we were so far ahead of the rest.
“But we’ve got a good enough squad to do better than we did last year. There’s probably more depth to the team than last season.”