Neilson’s side welcome arch-rivals Hibs to Tynecastle this Sunday in a battle of the two teams at the summit of the table. Each club maintains an unbeaten record following a terrific start to the 2021/22 campaign which has saw them win three and draw one of their opening four matches.
Talk of the Edinburgh clubs, or any side outside Glasgow, beating out both Celtic and Rangers over the course of a 38-game season is always looked upon as fanciful, with the last non-Old Firm title winner being Aberdeen under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson back in 1985.
But the Hearts head coach insists that should be the ambition for any team going into a Scottish football season.
He told Sky Sports: “It’s an objective for us all. I’d like to think that other teams like Aberdeen and Hibs, or even Dundee United and some of the teams are the same.
“We want to go and challenge at the top end of the league. We know it’s very difficult to sustain a challenge but we feel we’ve got a really good squad here that’s got a lot of cover in different areas to give ourselves the best chance of ending up at the top end.
“I always expect Hearts to be in the top six challenging for European places. We want to build on last season and have this club back regularly in European football, and I want that to start this season.”