Lee McCulloch insists Hearts have Rangers and Celtic in sights and want to 'go above and beyond' splitting Old Firm

Lee McCulloch insists splitting the Old Firm isn’t the only focus for Hearts – toppling them BOTH is.

The Tynecastle assistant says nothing is out the question as the club strives to get back to the very top in the coming years.

Robbie Neilson has overseen an unbeaten start to the Premiership season after their promotion from the second tier, including an opening day victory over Celtic.

And in the build-up to last week’s table-topping Edinburgh derby the Jambos boss admitted the Hoops and Rangers were the long-term target.

Now his number two, former Ibrox midfielder McCulloch, insists getting in between the Glasgow giants is just the first objective in a project to return the club to the very top.

McCulloch said: “One hundred per cent that’s what this club is all about – trying to split the Old Firm and then can we go above and beyond that?

“It’s high expectations but it’s a massive club and we need to cope with those expectations.

“As a staff and dressing room we have done that so far. It’s that message – can we get better together and week by week?

“Time will tell how quickly we can do that. It’s been a good start but that’s all it’s been.

“I have known since I started following football how successful a club Hearts are, how hard it is to go to Tynecastle and get a result.

“I think we have brought that back. Before we came in the club had won four league games the previous season so it speaks volumes for the management and change of mentality in that time.

“We are heading in the right direction but there’s no complacency.”

Key to the Jambos’ hopes is evergreen skipper Craig Gordon who proved once again his importance in goal with a series of stunning saves in last week’s derby stalemate.

© PA

McCulloch reckons the 38-year-old is every bit as good now as when they starred together for Scotland 15 years ago.

And he said: “He’s still at his peak.

“I think his full career, his levels have been through the roof.

“His consistency doesn’t get spoken about enough, he’s certainly got a few more years in him.

“He’ll speak his opinion and he’s a true leader in how he acts on and off the pitch.

“It’s just brilliant to have him in the dressing room. He’s the father figure.

“What a phenomenal career he’s had, but I think there’s still a good bit of success left in him.

“He’s a phenomenon, I think it can only be good for the club, but good for him too, he’s definitely got 2-3-4 years left in him.”

Hearts face a trip to Ross County on Saturday before Livingston visit Tynecastle seven days later.

And McCulloch said: “Ross County a good team and have a good manager with a proven record.

“There has to be no complacency from the players and we have to go out and try to do our utmost to get three points and keep the good start we’ve had to the season going, and keeping the momentum going.”

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