BY DARREN JOHNSTONE @CCP_Sport
Hearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum insists Robbie Neilson’s side are on the verge of achieving ‘great things’ after signing a new 18-month contract.
The Tynecastle club have played down their chances of mounting a challenge to Celtic’s Premiership dominance this season but the Belgian reckons they can become genuine title challengers within the next two seasons.
The dynamic playmaker has penned fresh terms just 24 hours after defender Igor Rossi inked a deal until summer 2017, while Neilson is also in talks about extending Osman Sow and Miguel Pallardo’s stay in Gorgie.
And with a group of exciting homegrown players that will only get better, Djoum believes Hearts will be able to challenge for major domestic honours in the near future.
He said: “I think I am part of something special because we have a good team with a lot of good young players like Jamie Walker and Sam Nicholson, and I think they’ll get better in time.
“Also, with the experienced players in the side I think we can achieve something.
“You just have to work hard but I see a lot of quality in this team and I think in two years time we can do great things.
“We have a great coach and he helps us a lot to work hard and play good football. I think we can do something in this league.
“We started the league with a lot of new players but we won a lot of games and the start was good.
“With more connection, we can play better and play better football.
“We’re going to get better and with that for sure we can challenge at the top of the Scottish league. We are not so far from them (Celtic) at the moment.”
Third place Hearts are already eight points adrift of leaders Celtic and although Djoum recognises that the Hoops are unquestionably the best side in Scotland, he is adamant that the Edinburgh club can bridge the gap in quality.
He added: “I think Celtic is the biggest team here, we have to be honest. But Celtic this year is not like Celtic before, they’re still big club with a lot of good players.
“At Hearts, we cannot just think about challenging Celtic, we have to work hard game after game and try to win a lot of games.
“In this way I think we can achieve something good but we shouldn’t put ourselves under pressure because that can be bad.
“We have lot of young players, we need to keep calm and work hard. We’ll see what will happen.”
Djoum admits the fans have helped him to settle in Edinburgh and is particularly thrilled that they have come up with their own song for him to the tune of ‘Boom! Shake the Room’.
He added: “One of the best things about here is the supporters and the feeling you get when you play at Tynecastle.
“That is one of the best things that have happened to me in my career.
“That has never happened to me before and the supporters are very nice.
“When you score goals the fans sing your name and I think I have a song already.
“That feeling is amazing and I have never had that before and that is why I was happy to sign a new contract with Hearts.”