Hearts: Neil Alexander sets his sights on challenging Celtic

Neil Alexander (second left) helped announce the SPFL fixtures at Edinburgh Castle
Neil Alexander (second left) helped announce the SPFL fixtures at Edinburgh Castle

Hearts goalkeeper Neil Alexander wants his side to set the bar high and challenge Celtic next season.

Alexander feels the Tynecastle men can draw on their experience of winning the Championship last season ahead of Rangers and Hibernian.

"I'm sure they'll add to their squad and be even stronger this season, but it's everyone else's' job to compete against Celtic," said Alexander.

"If you finish above Celtic you'll win the league."

Robbie Neilson's side won the second tier at the first time of asking after being relegated in part due to a 15-point deduction for falling into administration.

A consistent run of results saw them finish 21 points ahead of their Edinburgh rivals Hibs and a further three points ahead of pre-season favourites Rangers.

However, in the top flight the Scottish Premiership was a tighter affair, with Aberdeen taking the title race into the last few games before eventually succumbing to champions Celtic.

"We can try and outdo them and try and win the league and it's a fantastic battle and opportunity for everyone else," he said.

"We had a fantastic winning mentality in the dressing room last year. We were coming in from drawing games disappointed, or winning games and not playing well and the boys were down. We've got that winning habit.

"We've got a fantastic group of boys who love to win and have high expectations of their own ability and if we can progress that this season and keep it going then hopefully it's going to be a good season."

Alexander also believes former Hearts captain Danny Wilson is too good to return to the Championship after being linked to Rangers, who missed out on promotion after losing 6-1 on aggregate to Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership play-off final.

He said: "Danny showed last year he was a level above the standard (of the Championship). He played to such a consistent level and was one of our main players.

"He was club captain as well and took that role and responsibility on his shoulders well. I'm sure whatever club he goes to, they will be lucky to have him.

"All this talk of Celtic and Rangers being interested in him, we expected that because we know how good he is. I'd like to think he will have a few more choices so I'm not sure where Danny will end up."