BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson insists his side can improve without the need to delve into the January transfer market.
The Tynecastle outfit saw their League Cup campaign come to an end on Wednesday in a narrow 2-1 quarter-final loss to Celtic.
Despite that defeat, Neilson insists there are still plenty of positives to take from the tie, including the performances youngsters Callum Paterson, Jordan McGhee, Sam Nicholson, Jamie Walker and Billy King, who have an average age of just under 21.
Hearts will bid to put that set-back behind them at Partick Thistle tomorrow when they attempt to close the two point gap on second placed Aberdeen.
And Neilson, whose side are in their first campaign back in the top-flight following their Championship title triumph, insists he is delighted with the progress they are making.
The former Hearts captain said: “There’s money there if we need it, Ann (Budge) has been fantastic and we have the backing of the fans and the Foundation of Hearts.
“If we need to bring someone in, then we will.
“But at the moment we don’t, we’ve got a good squad and we’re sitting third in the league.
“We’re way ahead of the expectations of the club and plans so we’re not going to go gung-ho and spend money left, right and centre.
“We must make sure we keep developing slowly, but surely and if that means not buying anybody in the January transfer window, then so be it.
“We’ll have a look about and see what’s available and if it’s somebody that’s going to add value then possibly.
“But at the moment it’s a great squad I’ve got and I’ve got real belief they can keep pushing on in the league.”
Neilson is particularly encouraged by the fact that he is working with young players that have room for improvement.
He added: “There are huge positives to take from the game, we’re still a really young team and people forget that.
“There’s Callum Paterson, Jordan McGhee, Sam Nicholson, Jamie Walker and Billy King. Even Osman Sow is a young guy.
“We have a lot of young players coming through here and a game like Wednesday is great experience for them, they’ll only get stronger and better.
“We’ve come along way and we’re still building. Wednesday was disappointing but it shows how far we’ve come in the space of a year.
“Celtic are back here on Boxing Day and our aim is to keep building in the league and hopefully we can improve until then, keep going and hopefully get a result.”