There was over 16,600 inside Tynecastle Park, to see Heart of Midlothian keep up the pressure on - Champions elect – Celtic with a business-like disposal of Hamilton Academical 2-0. It marked Hearts fourth straight win and took the Edinburgh club to within three points of the league leaders Celtic (for 24 hours at least).

 

The Glasgow club later coasted to an easy 4-1 win against Ross County in Dingwall and stretched their lead once more to six points.

 

But, are Hearts now the only credible challengers in a Scottish Premier League of also rans? Aside from Aberdeen, who seem to lack the bottle to seriously challenge Celtic's supremacy, Hearts are the only side in the league who look like they could keep things interesting into 2016.

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A scenario Jambos manager Robbie Neilson, quickly played down. The Hearts boss said that his side were merely aiming to sustain present form for as long as possible, but would inevitably hit a difficult patch at some point.

 

Giving nothing away, and not being tempted into any predictions, a coy Neilson insisted the side would just have to keep working hard.

 

The manager also revealed that Hearts, runaway winners of last season's Championship did not expect to get out of that league at the first time of asking. The plan was to take two seasons to recapture their Premier League berth, so they are, in fact, ahead of schedule.

 

This season, their first back in the top flight, Hearts have proved to be a revelation winning nine and drawing two of their opening 14 matches. In addition the club have kept seven clean sheets in the league this season an impressive 50 per cent ratio.

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The win against Hamilton secured second place for the Edinburgh as Aberdeen, who have looked incredibly vulnerable over the last six weeks, got back to winning ways with a 2-0 home win against basement outfit Dundee United.

 

As we enter the holiday period and into the new year clubs often falter as they are hit by injuries and most Scottish Premier League sides don't have the size of squad to compensate. And, while we can understand Neilson's reticence, if Hearts can push Celtic and keep the game alive north of the border, they could just be unlikely heroes.

 

 

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