Hearts boss Robbie Neilson relishes early Edinburgh derby
Robbie Neilson quickly turned his attention to next Sunday’s Edinburgh derby after Hearts kicked off their cinch Premiership campaign with a 2-1 home win over Ross County.
The Jambos claimed the points on Saturday courtesy of second-half goals from attackers Alan Forrest and Barrie McKay.
And their manager is delighted to have a showdown with Hibernian at Easter Road to look forward to on the second weekend of the season.
“It’s set up nicely for next week with both teams winning (on the opening day) and I’m looking forward to it,” said Neilson. “I like the derbies coming early. It gives us a chance to go down there and hopefully get three points and that would give us a massive lift.
“We spoke in the dressing room after (the Ross County game) for 10 seconds on today and then the rest of it was on next week and making sure we’re ready for it.”
Neilson expects Nathaniel Atkinson to be available for Easter Road after he went off in the first half of the County game, but Stephen Kingsley, who missed out on Saturday, faces a race to be fit.
“Atkinson will be fine,” said the manager. “He was not feeling well during the week, there were a couple of days when he was ill. We put him in and after 15, 20 minutes he had no energy left. He’ll be fine hopefully for next week.
“Kingsley, we’ll see. He got a wee nick on his hamstring on Tuesday, and it was too early just now. But I’m hopeful for next week because he has been outstanding in pre-season. He is a key player for us and we need him.”
County boss Malky Mackay saw enough from his team at Tynecastle to believe they can cope with the loss of influential trio Blair Spittal, Regan Charles-Cook and Joseph Hungbo over the summer and enjoy another fruitful season.
“I had seven debutants and I’m delighted for them that they got a taste of what the Premiership is about and they look as if they can adapt to it,” he said.
“The aim for Ross County is to stay in the league because we’ve got one of the smallest budgets in the league and we’ve had a huge turnaround of players again this summer.
“I concentrate on performances because if you do that, eventually results click. If we keep putting in performances like that, where we went toe-to-toe with a top team like Hearts, we’ll see where we go.”
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