ROBBIE NEILSON today warned that no-one at Hearts should set unrealistic targets with the new season just one week away.
The Edinburgh club aim to finish in the top six as they return to the Scottish Premiership, but Neilson is keen to temper excitment somewhat.
Hearts face Everton at Tynecastle on Sunday in their final pre-season friendly, which should see established faces like Alim Ozturk, Morgaro Gomis and Prince Buaben feature. Competitive action starts on Thursday against Arbroath in the League Cup before St Johnstone visit Gorgie to start the league campaign.
Neilson is aware that people have high expectations of his team this season.
“We’re not getting carried away with ourselves,” said the head coach. “We’re a team that’s been promoted and everyone thinks we’re going to do this and that. A lot of our players are inexperienced playing at the top level. We’re playing against teams who have been in the top flight a long time.
“St Johnstone, for example, are an established Premiership team; a team that’s qualified for the Europa League for the last few seasons; a team that’s won the Scottish Cup.
“They have good players who have been playing together for a long time. Make no mistake, these are hard games. It will be really difficult for us to pick anything up from that game and we need to make sure we remember that.
“On Sunday, we will give more game time to guys who are coming back but we won’t be pushing them too hard because the following week is the main thing. We want everyone ready to go when the competitive action starts.”