Hearts are prepared for Central Park

Hearts coach Robbie Neilson

Hearts coach Robbie Neilson

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Robbie Neilson insists Hearts will have no excuses should they falter at Cowdenbeath on Saturday because every one of his players has already experienced the humble surroundings at Central Park.

The Edinburgh club take their unbeaten league record to one of Scotland’s least salubrious venues on Saturday and head coach Neilson wants nothing less than three points.

He took 25 first-team and under-20 players to Central Park in August for a pre-season friendly to give players an insight into what to expect there.

He believes being mentally prepared for the environment is key for Hearts and stressed his players should be ready for the challenge.

“Cowdenbeath is a huge test for us,” Neilson told the Evening News. “We’ve already spoken about it and about focusing on it. This is the game everyone talks about, asking how are they going to handle Cowdenbeath on a Saturday in the middle of December. We need to make sure we handle it.

“We know what we’re going to get. We took the full squad up there pre-season. We walked into that dressing-room and got used to the environment a wee bit so we know what to expect.

“Hopefully, by doing that, there will be no surprises when we turn up there. The boys know what’s expected of them to get a result.”

Meanwhile, Hearts will not be making a move for Queen of the South defender Mark Durnan, who is out of contract in June.

Queens manager James Fowler admitted talk of Hearts’ interest had reached the Palmerston Park dressing-room. The Evening News has learned that Tynecastle officials have watched the player but will not pursue the matter further.