Former Hearts title hopeful believes current team can sustain challenge

Hearts can sustain a challenge to the Old Firm in the cinch Premiership title race, according to former Tynecastle favourite David Weir.

David Weir going up against Celtic and Henrik Larsson during the 1997/98 Scottish Premier Division season. Picture: SNS
David Weir going up against Celtic and Henrik Larsson during the 1997/98 Scottish Premier Division season. Picture: SNS

The 1998 cup-winning centre-back reckons both Celtic and Rangers will slip up with the distraction of European football and the improvement in the competitiveness of the top flight this campaign.

Hearts remain in second place in the Premiership table, just a win from the summit, despite dropping two late points with a disappointing 1-1 draw with Dundee at the weekend.

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Weir told Football Pass: "It's very early in the season, and neither Rangers or Celtic are firing on all cylinders, so there is definitely an opportunity there.

"I think the European games are a little bit of a distraction for both Rangers and Celtic as well.

"Dundee United have started well, Hibs have started well, so the league is competitive. I think this league is a strong league, and there are real grounds for teams to make a serious challenge and have an affect on the top level of the league, and Hearts are capable of that.

"If they can stay in and about it until January, then improve and push again, they can definitely make an impression and challenge at that end."

Weir has experience himself of a title challenge from his three years in Gorgie after playing a key role in Jim Jefferies’ 1997/98 team that fought it out at the top end of the table with the Glasgow giants before suffering a dip in form as the season drew to a close.

The 51-year-old fears Robbie Neilson’s men could suffer a similar fate due to one particularly important disadvantage.

He added: "I've been in it with Hearts, when we were getting down to the last five or six games with Rangers or Celtic, and on that occasion and occasions before, Rangers and Celtic's resources have just proved to be that bit stronger.

"In our case we got a couple of injuries and probably didn't quite have the capacity in the squad to deal with that, whereas Rangers and Celtic do.

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"Rangers have real depth in their squad, I think that's obvious to see, and I think Celtic are building that as well, whereas Hearts probably don't quite have that yet."

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