BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Robbie Neilson insists Hearts will seek to pile more misery onto Celtic with a victory in Sunday’s clash at Tynecastle.
The Gorgie side go into the match 10 points behind the league leaders but with confidence after earning a battling draw at McDiarmid Park at the weekend, despite Juanma’s 28th-minute red card.
The Spaniard will miss Sunday’s eagerly-awaited encounter after landing a two-match ban, and has been ordered to improve his discipline, following Hearts’ decision not to appeal his dismissal for a head-butt on St Johnstone midfielder David Wotherspoon.
The Jambos are seeking a first win in five matches but have drawn three of their last four outings and managed a goalless draw at Parkhead in their last meeting with Celtic.
The champions, meanwhile, are reeling from Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Motherwell and now have only a one-point advantage over Aberdeen at the summit of the Premiership.
And Neilson believes his side have the blend required to give Ronny Deila’s side further problems this weekend.
The head coach said: “Playing for so long with 10 men and getting a draw will do our confidence good for the Celtic game.
“We know we can defend, we know we can create chances and we know we can pass the ball.
“We’ll go to Tynecastle, with a full house next week, and it’s a great game to come into.
“We got a good point on Saturday and hopefully we can get three next week.
“We’ve got pace and power, we’ve got good football players, so we’ll always create something.
“That’s why I know that when we sit it, if we defend well, we’ll create something and then it’s just a case of trying to take (our chances).”
Meanwhile, Neilson is confident striker Osman Sow will be fit to lead the line against Celtic, despite struggling with a hamstring problem.
The Swedish marksman, who has scored eight times in 21 appearances this season, was expected to play for only an hour against St Johnstone but lasted until the 75th minute before being replaced.
Neilson believes the 25-year-old, who is currently in negotiations over a new deal, will respond to further treatment ahead of Sunday’s encounter.
He added: “Osman will be fine. He’s been tight in his hamstring and we were hoping to get 60 minutes out of him on Saturday.
“We got more than that, although he probably had to do a bit more work than we expected because he was playing up front on his own.
“But he’ll be fine for next week.”