Robbie Neilson sets Celtic and Rangers target as Hearts boss opens up on fickle football

By Calum Woodger

It wasn't long ago that Robbie Neilson was being treated as a pariah by a faction of the Hearts support.

Now the Jambos boss is dreaming of challenging the Old Firm for Scotland's top honours after scooping the Premiership Manager of the Month award for August.

Neilson hopes the Jam Tarts can one day push Celtic and Rangers for Scottish football's biggest prizes.

And the Tynecastle gaffer believes getting the time to build some consistency in his ranks can take them as close as they've been in a generation to doing just that.

"I think our aim has got to be European football," Neilson said, speaking to Open Goal.

"You want to be round about the Old Firm but it's very, very difficult to say you're going to beat the Old Firm.

"But that's got to be the objective, eventually, for the club.

"It might take a few seasons to get there but this season it's got to be top six and pushing for Europe.

"If we can do that, there's a base and we can see where we go."

The men from Gorgie have started the season well - unbeaten after five games and sitting joint-second with Edinburgh rivals Hibs, just a point behind champions Rangers in pole position.

It's a far cry from last term where Neilson faced deep unrest from the maroon masses as Hearts, in their eyes, unconvincingly secured the Championship title.

Neilson, formerly in charge of Dundee United, appears used to the fickle nature of football as he hopes to continue to build at Hearts with a successful team on the park.

He added: "It's part and parcel of the game nowadays.

"With social media, if you lose a game it's the end of the world.

"The funny thing about football now is you get two teams playing against each other and both sets of fans expect both teams to win.

"If they don't win, they expect change and the thing about football is change is probably the worst thing.

"It's about having that consistency to build a team and how you're going to play.

"Hopefully we can get that."


What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.