HEARTS head coach Robbie Neilson admits his players must now deal with the pressure of being chased after reaching second place in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Saturday’s 4-0 win at Partick Thistle propelled the Tynecastle club above Aberdeen in the league and Neilson knows they will be hunted by other teams viewing them as a scalp.
Being second entering November is beyond Hearts’ pre-season expectations, which Neilson himself acknowledged. The club aimed for a top-six finish after winning promotion from the Championship. They will strive to keep in touch with leaders Celtic in their first season back in the top flight, although management are keen to prevent anyone getting carried away.
Hearts are six points behind Celtic and just one ahead of third-placed Aberdeen. Neilson said they will continue to look up rather than down, although he knows the chasing pack are breathing down their necks. He admitted his players must adapt and cope with that kind of pressure.
“It is more than we expected to be second right now,” he told the Evening News.
“Our aim was top six so to be sitting second is great, but there’s still a long way to go. We are only 13 games into the season. We’ll just try to continue as well as we can and hopefully sustain it. Sustaining this position in the league will be difficult. Aberdeen are just behind us and Celtic are ahead of us. We’ve just got to aim above us all the time.
“You’re always getting chased at Hearts.
“People want to beat you. Teams come to Tynecastle and they want to win, it doesn’t matter where you are in the league. Teams go to Tynecastle and they raise their game against you in front of a big crowd. Some of our players will be used to that. The ones who aren’t will soon get used to it.”