ROBBIE NEILSON has warned Hearts to stay calm under pressure at Ibrox and stressed that Rangers will go for their throats once tomorrow’s league opener kicks off.
The Tynecastle head coach is confident in his players’ composure but is preparing them to deal with a barrage of attacks early in the game.
The majority of the Hearts squad will be experiencing Ibrox for the first time and Neilson is eager for them to stay focused on his instructions. He expects Rangers to put his team under pressure from the first whistle in the hope of securing an early goal.
Younger members of the squad, such as Alim Ozturk, Sam Nicholson and Billy King, will have important roles to play. Neilson has given all his players information on what to expect and has told them to remain calm no matter what happens. “There’s a lot of things we’ve spoken to the players about, like the flow of the game,” he explained today. “Certain incidents in games can change the flow of it but there’s also the timing of these things. You know when you go there that Rangers will go at it for the first 15 or 20 minutes.
“It’s important we’re calm and collected and start to get a foothold in the game. Decisions are important for the way things go but we have to keep a level head. That’s the main thing. We don’t the players to get carried away with things and I don’t think they will because they have all experienced big games before. They are calm and collected guys.”
Danny Wilson will captain Hearts and Neilson is also content to let him and other more experienced players decide who should be the club’s vice-captain this season.
“I’ll speak to Danny about it and we’ll have a chat,” said Neilson. “It will more than likely be up to the group to decide who they think is the best person, rather than me making the decision for them. They know the ones they respect.
“Danny and I will have an input and then it will be up to the players who they want as vice-captain. There’s a group of four of them who look after the dressing-room. They’re the ones I speak to so they will make the decision.”