Hearts 2-0 Hamilton: Side above pre-season expectations - Neilson

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland at Tynecastle

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson says hard work will be the key to sustaining a challenge at the top of the Scottish Premiership after they beat Hamilton 2-0 at Tynecastle.

A fourth successive league win took them to within three points of leaders Celtic.

"We'd like to try to sustain it for as long as possible but there's going to come a dip," Neilson told BBC Scotland.

"We're not going to go through the season winning every game."

Interviews - Robbie Neilson & Martin Canning

First-half goals from Prince Buaben and Arnaud Djoum gave Hearts a commanding lead they rarely looked in danger of losing.

Though delighted with the continuing improvement his team is making, Neilson will not be drawn into making rash predictions.

"To be where we are is fantastic, but we have to continue to work hard and try to stay as high up the league as we can," he said.

"The players are confident that every game they go in to they can win, but we have to prove it and at the moment we're doing it.

"I've got a good squad. The aim is to get top six. If we get that it's another progression from getting promoted, being stable in the top flight, and if we get higher than that it'll be a fantastic season.

"We're ahead of where we want to be as a club. The plans were to get out the Championship at the second time of asking. To get out at the first time of asking was great. To be where we are just now is great."

Arnaud Djoum
Arnaud Djoum went close with a second-half header as Hearts pushed for a third goal

Hamilton player-manager Martin Canning was frustrated not only with his side's result but also Carlton Morris being denied a second-half penalty.

Morris hit the deck inside the box, but was booked by referee Bobby Madden for simulation.

"I've watched it back and it looks like it could be a penalty," said Canning.

"Over the course of the season, hopefully these things even themselves out.

"I think when things aren't quite going for you, that's the kind of thing that goes against you.

"If we'd got a goal second half, the way the game was going, I probably would have fancied us to get something from the game."

Canning's side have now gone five games without a win, but he is not disheartened by what he is seeing from his players.

"Two of them were draws, down to 10 men and coming back from a goal down so they're good points in the end," Canning pointed out.

"We ran Celtic close as well but took nothing from that and today's similar.

"Performance-wise, I'm relatively pleased. I think as long as the performance level stays high I think we'll start getting results."