Neil Alexander insists title favourites Hearts will not be getting ahead of themselves because they know their stunning start to the season could grind to a halt at any point.
The Tynecastle side are nine points clear of Rangers at the top of the Championship and 14 points ahead of city rivals Hibs, whom they visit tomorrow.
However, goalkeeper Alexander believes it is unrealistic to expect his side to remain unbeaten throughout the campaign, and believes that their title credentials can only be judged properly once they show they have the mettle to respond positively to any setbacks or sticky periods.
“Time will tell [whether Hearts can win the league],” said Alexander. “We are a young squad, and the manager has made some great signings to help the young boys come on.
“It’s a big statement to say we’ll go through the season unbeaten – I don’t think that’ll happen – but all we can do is influence one game at a time. We look to win every game and it’ll be exactly the same against Hibs.
“The title race is far from over yet. There’s a long, long way to go. I expect Rangers and Hibs and maybe a couple of others to mount a challenge.
“There’s probably going to be a point in the season where we go through a bad spell, maybe have two or three defeats on the bounce. That gives teams a chance to close the gap, but we’ve got to respond to that and hopefully it doesn’t happen.”
Alexander is respectful of Hibs’ recent five-game unbeaten run, and anticipates a competitive encounter between two Capital sides who appear to be heading in the right direction.
“We’ve got a very young, confident squad at the minute and we’re doing really well, but we’re not getting carried away,” he said. “The Hibs game is just another game with another three points up for grabs – we’re not trying to fill the boys’ heads with anything more than that.
“Hibs are in a vein of good form and so are we, so it should be a cracking game. We’ve been doing well and we’re top of the league – deservedly so – but that can change very, very quickly. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing, keep playing the way we’re playing, and hopefully we’ll get the rub of the green and get a good result.”
• Hearts have appointed Edinburgh businessman Kevin Windram as a new non-executive director.
A corporate finance partner at accountancy firm Mazars, Windram advised owner Ann Budge and the Foundation of Hearts during their recent takeover of the club.
He joins Budge, deputy chairman Robert Wilson, operations director Eric Hogg, director of football Craig Levein and Foundation of Hearts chairman Ian Murray on the board at Tynecastle.