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Robbie Neilson not worried about Hearts squad depth as he turns focus to Hibs

Heart of Midlothian v Rangers – cinch Premiership – Tynecastle Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson will turn his attention to back-to-back Edinburgh derbies in the coming weeks after avoiding a potential banana skin at seventh-placed Ross County.

The Staggies are the fourth highest scorers in the Premiership and have a strong home record, but the third-placed Jambos left Dingwall with a point thanks to Barrie McKay’s equaliser.

It was notable that several injuries meant Neilson only had six players on his substitutes bench – including 16-year-old Macaulay Tait and 18-year-old Mackenzie Kirk – but the Hearts boss is not worried about squad depth ahead of the clashes with local rivals Hibernian.

“We spoke before the game about focusing on today,” Neilson said after the full-time whistle in Dingwall.

“When you play for Hearts, you can’t think about games too far down the line, you have to put in a performance – and to the players’ credit they did.

“Now it’s all eyes on the first derby, and we’ll try to get the players as fit as we can.

“(Injuries are) just part and parcel of the game. Ross County are one of the better teams in the league, and we still dominated a lot of the game and created chances with the injuries we’ve got.

“We don’t have a big squad, but we’ve got a strong squad. The two boys that came on today would probably start for most teams in the division, so I have no concerns.”

Ross County boss Malky Mackay, meanwhile, was pleased to extend his side’s strong home record.

The only time the Staggies have lost at the Global Energy Stadium over their last 11 matches was against Celtic, who needed a stoppage-time winner to seal the victory.

Mackay feels the ground is becoming more of a fortress with each passing game, and credits the club’s supporters with creating a strong atmosphere.

“That’s one defeat in 11 now at home,” Mackay said.

“It is great when Hearts bring 2,000 supporters. It just makes the stadium a good place to play.

“We have a young group of fans that are becoming more and more passionate about this club after two years without football at the stadium.

“They are a young set of fans coming for the first time, so I’m delighted for them and for our owner having given me the trust to actually come here and build a team here at the stadium that are hard to beat.”

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