Hearts star Stephen Kingsley has insisted results against Rangers and Celtic this season have shown the Jambos can “compete at the top level” as the defender set his sights on continuing the Tynecastle side’s impressive unbeaten start to the season.

A win over Celtic on the opening day of the season at Tynecastle coupled with Saturday’s draw at Ibrox against Rangers has Hearts sitting just a single point behind the champions after nine games.

Heart of Midlothian v Alloa Athletic - Scottish Championship

Kingsley has been delighted with Hearts’ start to the season (Photo by Euan Cherry/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Kingsley admits that has helped grow the Jambos’ confidence after promotion to the top-flight last season, with the defender hoping to keep it going as long as possible.

“We had a great result against Celtic the first day, so we knew we could compete at the top level,” Kingsley said.

“The cup game against Celtic we changed formation a little bit but that was an eye-opener. We saw we still had a bit to go, even though we held our own at times.

“But on Saturday I felt we were a different team and we’ve taken another few steps forward in terms of our composure, our willingness to play and our belief we can get something from these games. Our record shows that – we’re still unbeaten after nine games.

“We’re never out of it. Even though Rangers had a few chances, we had chances ourselves and we got the goal in the end. That shows you the character we have and the confidence.

“That unbeaten run breeds confidence, these late goals breed confidence. We’ve got a great bunch of characters in that changing room. We never know when we are beaten.

“We know we can create chances with our style of play, we can enforce that on teams. We did that here at times, so hopefully we can carry that on.

“We knew coming into the season that, with the team we had and the players we brought in, we had a really strong squad, not just a starting XI. Now we’ve been able to show that with the run we’ve been on.

“We’ll just keep banging them off as they come and see where we are at the end of the season.”

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