KIERAN TIERNEY has challenged Hearts to prove they can cope with the strain of being the Premiership pacesetters.
Craig Levein’s table-toppers play Rangers at Ibrox this weekend with the Celtic defender wondering if the Edinburgh outfit can hold their nerve in Glasgow.
The Scotland international said: “That could be interesting because usually the pressure is on us to lead from the front. However, they are sitting on top of the league and they haven’t lost to anyone yet, so the pressure will eventually build on them.
“At Celtic, we’re used to dealing with that pressure all the time. Hearts have had a great start and proved that they’re really hard to beat – we already know that because, when we lost to them at Tynecastle, it was a really tough game.
“It’s good for the division that so many teams are challenging at this early stage, but, for us, we want to climb up the table.
“People talk about a title challenge and, especially when there’s so much chatter about us, we just want to work hard and go out there and do what we’ve always done.
“We’re not looking to prove anybody wrong; it’s more about proving ourselves right and get back to where in the two previous seasons – or as close as we possibly can.”
Tierney also admitted he was delighted for Scott Sinclair to get back on the scoresheet in the 1-0 win over Aberdeen at Parkhead on Saturday.
He said: “You’d need to speak to him about how he feels, but he’s been working hard and doing extra sessions practising his shooting, crossing and dribbling.
“He’s been in the gym, as well. His attitude is 100 per cent right, so it’s just about being given a chance and then taking it, which he did at the weekend.
“I don’t know how many goals he’s scored since he’s been here – probably not too far off 40 – and that shows you that, even though he’s a winger, he’s also a goalscorer.
“Scott’s a natural finisher and it’s great to have someone like that in the box.”