Hearts manager Robbie Neilson admits he would love to emulate his team’s start to the 2014/15 campaign when they won the Championship with a record points tally.
As it stands, Neilson is preparing his side for the second tier although a Scottish FA arbitration panel could still reverse the controversial decision to relegate the Gorgie outfit from the top-flight.
Six years ago in the 40 year-old’s first stint in the dugout, Hearts made a stunning start to life in the Championship as they went on to claim the title with seven games remaining, sealing an immediate return to the top-fight with a 91 point-haul.
After laying an immediate marker with victory at Rangers on the opening day of the campaign, Hearts went on to win 17 of their first 20 league games before eventually being beaten for the first time 3-2 at home to Falkirk in January 2015.
And after guiding Dundee United to the Championship title last term, Neilson is again eyeing more domination in the division.
He joked: “The aim this time is to go 21 unbeaten!
“It’s easier said than done. For me the main aim is just to win the first game and take it from there.
“In football you can look too far ahead. For it’s about having a good pre-season and then make sure you win the first game and build form there.
“If you look at the schedule the start of the Championship season, it’s going to be quite intense with four games in ten days.
“So we have to be ready for that.
“It’s been a strange time. I had a long time off then a week’s training at Dundee United.
“I’ve come out again, waiting for it to start so I’m keen to get the players in training as soon as we can because we need to be ready for that first game.”
Former Celtic and Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon recently became Neilson’s first signing as the 37 year-old returned for his second stint at the club.
The former MK Dons boss is also interested in recruiting Sam Nicholson after the former Hearts winger left MLS side Colorado Rapids for family reasons.
However, Neilson insists he will not solely restrict himself to players who have experience of the Scottish game.
He added: “We will look everywhere. I have a knowledge of League One down in England, a lot of contacts, which is one of the benefits of having gone there.
“I speak to a lot of people and we will tap into that.”