Hearts manager Robbie Neilson admits a crucial run of games means his players have no option but to bounce back immediately from their loss in Dundee.
The Gorgie side were defeated for the second time in the Championship on Saturday in a 3-1 set-back at their title rivals, but remain five points clear at the summit.
Hearts are due to take on the winners of Camelon Juniors and Brora Rangers away in the Scottish Cup this weekend, with the first round tie between the minnows now scheduled for Wednesday night following two postponements.
A clash with second place Dunfermline, a tricky trip to Alloa and a double header with Raith Rovers then follow and Neilson is expecting a reaction from his players.
He said: “We’re five points clear at the top of the league with ten games in, if we continue that form we’ll win the league.
“The league is about how you recover from losing, it’s the most important thing.
“Any team that goes through a league campaign will lose games, it’s part and parcel about football.
“It’s how you recover and make sure you get a win the following week.
“We’ve hopefully got out Scottish Cup game this weekend, if the Camelon one goes ahead, then we look forward to a good run of fixtures coming up for us.
“We’re missing a few key players, which would have made a difference at Dundee.
“Once we get them back and hopefully get a couple of new faces as well we’ll be looking good going into a really difficult period for us: the Scottish Cup, Dunfermline, Raith Rovers twice and Alloa and hopefully another Scottish Cup game – so it’s a tough period coming up for us.”
Neilson, meanwhile, has confirmed that goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal is free to find another club this month.
The Czech shot-stopper has not made any of this season’s Championship match day squads after falling behind Craig Gordon and Ross Stewart in the pecking order.
However, the 35-year-old did make three appearances for St Mirren in September as part of an emergency loan deal after the Buddies were left with no keepers due to a Covid-19 crisis.
Zdenek, who is out of contract this summer, joined in summer 2018 from Fastav Zlin in his homeland.
Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News said: “Bobby’s contract is up in the summer so we’ve had a chat with him.
“If he finds somewhere that he wants to go on loan to play, then it’s something we would look at.
“Given the age Bobby is at, and with him coming to the end of his contract, he needs to play to make sure he gets another contract somewhere.
“Bobby is still third-choice at the moment, plus we’ve got young Harry Stone on loan at Spartans.
“Harry comes back this month and we’ll have a wee look at him before we decide whether to loan him out again.
“Harry has been doing very well and we see him as a real long-term prospect for us.”