London Hearts Supporters Club

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7 of 007 Mark de Vries 4 ;Andy Webster 72 L SPL A

Neilson admits Hearts are close


HEARTS star Robbie Neilson today conceded he and his team-mates are "almost home and dry" in their bid to claim third place in the SPL and insisted they are determined to take the final step when they entertain Dunfermline this weekend.

Neilson, who hopes to sign a new deal with the club this week, was a key performer at Tannadice on Saturday as the Jambos beat Dundee United 2-0 thanks to goals from Mark de Vries and Andy Webster, a result which keeps Craig Levein’s team on course to finish ‘best of the rest’ for a second successive season.

Dunfermline’s surprise 2-1 victory over Celtic 24 hours later may have delayed celebrations for a while so superior is the Tynecastle men’s goal difference that a point this weekend would be enough to pip the Pars to third spot.

And Neilson believes that if he and his team-mates can reproduce the kind of performance that consigned United to their first home defeat in 11 matches, they can finally kill off the Fifers’ challenge.

"Winning against Dundee United was a massive result for us," he said. "I thought we thoroughly deserved the win and that’s us almost home and dry now for third place. We have a massive goal difference and we want to beat them next week at home just to finally seal it. If we play the way we did at the weekend I’m confident that we will do that."

And the former Rangers youngster admitted that it was nice to finally get back to winning ways at the weekend after a series of drawn matches. "I don’t think Dundee United have lost at home since something like November which shows you just how good a result it was.

"Also we have been drawing a few matches recently so we all wanted to get a win.

"We have been defending pretty well but not scoring quite as many goals as we should so it was good to sort that out.

"We took our chances and if we can do that this weekend we all know that third place will be tied up once and for all. We are all confident that we are going to get there - we just have to secure it now."

Such a scenario would cap a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Neilson, having been offered a new deal at Tynecastle by boss Craig Levein just a season after he had looked to be on his way out of Gorgie.

The 23-year-old was loaned out to Queen of the South last season after falling out of Levein’s plans but after a successful spell with the Doonhammers he returned to Gorgie and established himself in the starting XI. And Neilson admits he is delighted with how this season has gone for him.

He added: "Alan [Maybury] has moved over to the left of the defence and the gaffer has given me a chance on the right.

"I feel I’ve done quite well and I’ve obviously been offered a new deal so I must have been doing something right.

"Hopefully that will get sorted out soon, maybe this week at some point, as I would love to stay here.

"To help the club finish third again and get a new deal would cap a great season for me so we just need to go out and make it happen."

Taken from the Scotsman

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