Hearts hoping for top-three finish

28 April 2011 03:30

Hearts could finally wrap up third place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League this weekend and help manager Jim Jefferies finalise his summer plans.

Victory over Jefferies' former club Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday and a defeat for fourth-placed Dundee United at Celtic on Sunday would see Hearts take an unassailable 10-point lead with three games remaining, allowing the manager to step up his recruitment drive and pre-season preparations.

Hearts have stuttered towards tying up their place as best of the rest behind title-chasing Celtic and Rangers in recent weeks, seeing a substantial lead of 15 points dwindle away. After one win and five draws in the last eight games, Jefferies said: "It would be ideal if we could get it tied up."

He added: "We're in a great position and we know that win has been elusive for the last few weeks, but we've been picking up points. The most important thing for us is to go to Kilmarnock and get a result.

"Even though they've beaten us twice at home and had a great season, we managed to get a result against them down there. We'll keep our fingers crossed we can do it again."

With the prospect of European football in mid-July and the SPL season opening on July 23, Jefferies is keen to be able to work towards the next campaign by securing third place as soon as possible. He added: "There's a lot riding on it.

"If it is confirmed then we can move to try to get everything settled - what we're going to do, what we're not going to do, we can take forward chats we've had with targets. Right now it's best to leave that and just focus on getting there first."

Jefferies may make a further trip to Lithuania to speak to majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov in order to confirm targets.

He added: "It might take a visit there, but that would be the one where we would make all the decisions. We're doing all the spadework at the moment and I've kept him in touch.

"When we actually sit down and find out what we can do will be, hopefully, once we've clinched third place."

Source: PA