HEARTS skipper Danny Wilson is bracing himself for a battle to get out of the Scottish Championship next season and not just because Edinburgh rivals Hibernian and Rangers have joined them in the second tier.
The Gorgie club were unsurprisingly relegated out of the Scottish Premiership after having a 15-point penalty and a signing ban imposed for entering administration last summer, on the day the 22-year-old defender returned from holiday.
Hearts exited administration this week and new head coach Robbie Neilson made his first signing when he recruited former Dundee United midfielder Morgaro Gomis as he begins gearing up for taking on the likes of Hibs and Rangers.
However, Wilson, speaking at Tynecastle on the day Hearts’ season-ticket sale began, was delighted to hear the club had come out of administration - “it is the polar opposite of last summer” - but insists there will be more than three teams able to reach the top flight next season.
“It was going to be hard enough but when you add those two teams it makes it extra difficult,” he said.
“But we are all in the same league, we are all on a level playing field and it is going to be the team that shows the most consistency throughout the season that will go up.
“The play-offs are going to make it more interesting, there are two teams who can potentially go up and we will do everything we can to make sure we get there but it is not going to be easy.
“It is not just going to be between the three of us. There will be other teams like Falkirk and Queen of the South, teams that are used to playing at that level and who will know what it is all about.
“You would like to hope that we would at least be in the mix but we are playing Hibs a few times next year and in derbies anything can happen so there are no ‘givens’ in terms of accumulating points.
“A lot will come down to who adds the best players over the summer and who can gel the quickest.”
The former Rangers and Liverpool stopper, capped five times for Scotland, is relaxed about the post-season managerial changes at Tynecastle.
Manager Gary Locke and his assistant Billy Brown exited the club with former Hearts and Scotland boss Craig Levein appointed as director of football, with ex-Jambos defender Neilson promoted to head coach.
Wilson said: “He (Levein) gave me my international debut and I will always be thankful for that but it is a different situation, it is a club.
“I have spoken to him very briefly but I am sure I will speak to him in the coming weeks.
“I haven’t worked with Robbie yet but knowing his work with the youth teams, he seems to be a modern-day manager or head coach as they are called now.
“With the limited conversations I have had, they are working on bringing players in and pushing the team forward. That’s all you want from your management.”
Wilson shrugged off interest from Dundee United who reportedly had a bid of £100,000 rejected by the Gorgie club.
He said: “I don’t really know what to make of it. It is not something that I am really concerned with.
“I have spoken to the club and the club have rejected the offer and that is fine with me. I am not really fussed with that. I can’t stop teams making a bid for me, all I can do is remain professional at Hearts.”