Neilson will pick Hearts team after Rangers spying mission

Robbie Neilson will attend Ibrox along with his assistant, Stevie Crawford
Robbie Neilson will attend Ibrox along with his assistant, Stevie Crawford
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The Hearts management team of Robbie Neilson and Stevie Crawford will watch Rangers in action against Hibs tonight before making a final decision on their team for Ibrox.

Head coach Neilson will attend the Petrofac Training Cup first-round tie with his assistant to assess their opponents for Sunday’s SPFL Championship opener.

Both men have already studied footage of Rangers’ 2-0 friendly defeat by Derby County on Saturday, in which Bilel Mohsni was red-carded for headbutting goalscorer Chris Martin. The Tunisian has been banned for two games for that offence and will not face Hibs or Hearts this week.

Neilson wants to watch Rangers first-hand before Hearts travel to Ibrox at the weekend to begin their league campaign. Tonight also offers the chance to see Hibs before they visit Tynecastle on Sunday week, but for now Neilson is only concerned with Rangers.

“They played on Saturday and we’ve watched that, and they play tonight against Hibs. Me and Stevie will go and watch that game, then we’ll have a chat after it and decide what we’re going to do,” Neilson told the Evening News. “I’ll decide in the next few days what we’re going to do against Rangers. I’ve got a rough idea of who is going to play. The players are off today so we’ll decide on the team tomorrow and then that will be us working towards Sunday’s game from then on.”

One player guaranteed to start in Glasgow is Swedish striker Osman Sow. He scored in the weekend’s 4-0 friendly win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park to take his tally to four goals in four appearances for Hearts to date. Neilson wants him to replicate that form in the league.

“Sow’s goalscoring record so far has been great but, again, it’s pre-season,” continued the head coach. “When it matters, hopefully that’s when he’ll push on and start scoring goals in the league for us. Sow does take pressure off other players but their work rate also helps him. Their movement creates a lot of space. Sow can run over the top and make good movement but we have guys who can drop in to allow him to run in behind. They all complement each other.”

Meanwhile, Hearts are now selling a limited number of special edition away shirts both online and at their club store at Tynecastle Stadium.

The blue and white striped shirts are being sold without the Foundation of Hearts logo and supporters interested in buying one are advised to move fast.

The shirts are available from today for fans to purchase in person or by visiting www.heartsdirect.co.uk.