Hearts title tilt way off, says head coach Robbie Neilson

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Sport
Hearts captain Alim Ozturk
Hearts held on for a 2-1 win over Ross County last week
Scottish Premiership: Hearts v Partick Thistle
Date: Saturday, 22 August Venue: Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Coverage: Updates on BBC Radio Scotland & BBC Sport website

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson believes his side are "a long way off" challenging Celtic for the Premiership title.

He was responding to suggestions by former Tynecastle team-mate Steven Pressleyexternal-link that they could go all the way in the race for top spot.

The Edinburgh side have won all of their matches so far this season.

But Neilson said: "If you drive a car that's worth £10,000 and someone else drives a car that's worth £200,000, who do you expect is going to win?"

Neilson's men are at home to winless Partick Thistle on Saturday with the Scottish Championship winners seeking to preserve a five-match winning run in all competitions and an unbeaten streak stretching back to April.

"I think everyone wants someone to challenge Celtic - Aberdeen did it last year and I think they'll do the same again this year," Neilson said. "It's good for Scottish football that we're talking about it.

Hearts' Premiership wins so far
Hearts 4-3 St Johnstone (2 Aug)Dundee 1-2 Hearts (8 Aug)
Hearts 2-0 Motherwell (12 Aug)Ross County 1-2 Hearts (15 Aug)

"I still think both teams are some way off challenging over the long term, but we're moving in the right direction.

"The money coming in that Celtic have got is night and day compared to what we've got. We have to find different ways to try and compete, and we're doing that, by doing different things, looking at different players.

"It's always going to be difficult, and I don't see it changing at all just because of the stature of the club. It's very difficult to compete on the same financial footing."

Hearts are expecting another sell-out crowd for the visit of Partick Thistle on Saturday.

"We're only four games into the season so we need to be realistic about where we are but it's good to have won four games," added Neilson.

"It's another difficult one on Saturday, we need to keep doing what we're doing, keep working hard, the players are content where we are.

"I'm not saying winning the league can't be done, but it's very difficult. It's going to take a lot of things going our way and things going against Celtic and Aberdeen."