Hearts should target title next season - Arnaud Djoum

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Hearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum
Arnaud Djoum was previously with Polish champions Lech Poznan

Hearts should set their sights on a tilt at the Premiership title next season, midfielder Arnaud Djoum says.

The Edinburgh side, who won the Championship by 21 points last year, currently lie third in the top flight.

"We have to challenge for the title, I think so," said Djoum, who arrived from Polish side Lech Poznan in September.

"In our first year, we are currently third and have a chance for second, so you just have to continue like that. We have good potential at this club."

Hearts require a draw against Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Tuesday to ensure they will finish no worse off than third in their first season back in Scotland's top tier.

Head coach Robbie Neilson believes such an outcome would be "a great achievement", given he had simply targeted a top-six finish.

Asked if his squad's likely qualification for European competition had surprised him, Neilson told BBC Scotland: "A little bit.

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson congratulates striker Juanma
Robbie Neilson's side beat Aberdeen on Friday after two goals from Juanma

"When you get promoted, you never really know where you are going to be. We had a great season last season, but that was the Championship.

"We have gone up a level and are playing against very good teams every week.

"The consistency has to get looked at, the ability of the players and whether they can play at that level and I think they have performed at a level higher than I expected."

Hearts beat second-top Aberdeen 2-1 on Friday and still have a chance of overhauling the Dons, whose lead would be reduced to six points - with five games left - should Neilson's side win at Caledonian Stadium on Tuesday.

"Our objectives at the start of the year were to try to get into the top six and try to compete with the likes of Dundee and Ross County and St Johnstone and teams like that," he added.

"To be able to get that at this stage of the season before the split to hopefully guarantee European football would be great and it gives us a platform for the last five games to get second place."

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