January key to Hearts title hopes, says Neilson

Robbie Neilson wants full points in January
Robbie Neilson wants full points in January
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ROBBIE NEILSON believes the rest of January could make or break Hearts’ season, with four vital league games to come before the month is out

Dumbarton, Rangers, Falkirk and Alloa lie in wait and Neilson knows his team could move out of sight at the top of the Scottish Championship with four victories.

Hearts currently sit 13 points clear of Rangers after starting 2015 with a 1-1 draw at home to Hibs. Winning the league and securing automatic promotion back to the Premiership is the priority and Neilson identified this month’s games as potentially crucial to that aim.

First up is Dumbarton away this Saturday before the trip to Ibrox the following Friday. Then it’s Falkirk at Tynecastle and a visit to Alloa to end the month. “We want three points at Dumbarton and also going to Ibrox. We want to win every game. This is a big month for us,” said the Hearts head coach.

“There are five games this month and two of them are against our main rivals. One of them is now out of the way. If we can get through this and pick up as many points as we can, we’ll be looking in a good position for the rest of the season.”

The pursuit of a striker continues as Hearts try to strengthen their forward line during the January transfer window. Neilson is taking nothing for granted despite holding talks about several possible targets.

“You make contact, you talk to different agents, you get opinions,” he said. “I’ll only be sure I’ve got a striker when he’s up at Riccarton with his training gear on and he’s signed. It takes time to get the right one. I’d like to get one in but I’d like to make sure it’s the right one.”

Meanwhile, Hearts have managed to secure extra tickets for their top-of-the-table clash with Rangers at Ibrox on Friday week.

The Tynecastle club were originally given 950 briefs for the January 16 showdown, but after requesting more, Rangers agreed to more than double their allocation to 2000. The initial batch of tickets went on sale this morning to supporters with 135 or more loyalty points.

Arrangements for the sale of the extra 1050 tickets will be announced in due course.

Hearts won 2-1 on their last visit to Ibrox in August.